How to: Record unencypted HD cable with Beyond TV & HDHomeRun

26Mar07

I’ve noticed some people are having a hard time getting this to work, so I decided to write a more complete, detailed guide. Original instructions and support can be found in the Snapstream forums.

Standard Disclaimer: I do not work for and am not professionally associated with Snapstream or SiliconDust, and do not assume any personal liability as a result of this guide.

To view larger screenshots: Click the thumbnail, then click “View all sizes” under “Photo Information” to the right of the photo.

  1. Connect the HDHomeRun to your network by plugging in an ethernet cable from the HDHomeRun to your home router/switch.
  2. Ensure the A/C adapter is plugged in, and the HDHomeRun is powered on.
  3. Download the HDHomeRun software.
  4. Install the HDHomeRun software and firmware by double-clicking the installer file you just downloaded.
  5. The setup wizard may prompt you to install .NET and VLC if they are not already installed. Be sure to allow this.
    install VLC
  6. Confirm the following from the HDHomeRun Setup window: Device Scan (complete), Windows BDA (installed), HDHomeRun Firmware (installed, the screenshot says “no change” since I already had the firmware installed), HDHomeRun BDA Driver (installed, again I already had it installed).
    HDHR Setup
    • If the channel scan did not run, then open a command prompt (Start > Run > type “cmd” in the Open box), and run the following to get to your HDHomeRun folder:
      cd "C:\Program Files\Silicondust\HDHomeRun"
      Run the following command to start a channel scan:
      hdhomerun_config FFFFFFFF scan /tuner0 channels.txt
    • If the firmware was not installed, then you can manually install it:
      1. Download the firmware if you haven’t already.
      2. Launch the “hdhomerun_config_gui.exe” from wherever you installed the HDHomeRun software. Default is “C:\Program Files\Silicondust\HDHomeRun”.
      3. Go to the “Upgrade” tab
      4. Click the “…” button and select the firmware file you downloaded.
        Upgrade Firmware
  7. Test to ensure the HDHomeRun is working properly. Launch the “hdhomerun_config_gui.exe” from wherever you installed the HDHomeRun software. Default is “C:\Program Files\Silicondust\HDHomeRun”.
  8. Select “qam” from the channel droplist.
  9. Click the “->>” scan button to find available channels
  10. Once a channel has been found select something from the “Program” droplist.
  11. Click “Launch VLC” to view the selected program. You should see the program playing in VLC.
    HDHR Config
  12. Complete the scan to ensure you can find and view all your unencrypted channels. The station callsign is typically populated in the “Program” droplist to make things easier. However, the callsign for my local NBC station (KNTV) was not displayed, so I had to manually scan for it. Be sure to write down the “Channel” and “Program” numbers for each station you have to manually find.
  13. Now that the HDHomeRun is installed and working you need to create your .remap file. To make this easy download the QAM Mapping Utility.
  14. Unzip the downloaded file and copy the “HDHRQamMapper.exe” to your HDHomeRun software install folder (default: C:\Program Files\Silicondust\HDHomeRun).
    HDHR Folder
  15. Run the QAM Mapping Utility from the HDHomeRun folder by double clicking the “HDHRQamMapper.exe”.
  16. Click the “Import” button, and select the “channels.txt” file (created from the HDHomeRun channel scan). It should be in the HDHomeRun software folder.
    import channel scan file
  17. The values (Virtual Channel, Physical Channel, Description) for your unencrypted digital channels should be pre-populated. These values can be manually changed if you wish. If you had to manually scan for missing channels be sure to add a Virtual Number, Physical Number, and Description for each. Refer to the “Channel” and “Program” numbers you wrote down in step 12. If you have no idea what these numbers are, then read on:
    1. First, you need to understand what these numbers represent. The “Virtual Channel” is broken down into major and minor numbers. (Ex: In Virtual Channel “5-1″ the major number is “5″ and the minor number is “1″). The major and minor numbers must be in the range of 1-99. The Physical Channel number must be in the range of 2-69. You cannot have two or more channels that use the same major channel number. If you have several channels that use the same major channel number, then change their Virtual Channels (Ex: 9-1, 9-2, 9-3 virtual channels should be changed to something like 9-1, 10-1. 11-1).
      QAM Mapping Utility
    2. Second, I recommend you re-number your Virtual and Physical channels to how you want them to appear in the program guide. Keep in mind that these channels will be bound to your HDHomeRun tuners only. If you also have ATSC (over-the-air) tuner(s) in your Beyond TV setup, then you may have duplicate channel numbers in the guide, which could cause confusion. For example, I have ATSC tuners, and FOX is listed as channel 1021 in the program guide. I also have FOX (callsign KTVU) on my HDHomeRun tuners. It has a default Virtual Channel number of 2-1 in the QAM Mapping Utility, which will translate to 1021 in the program guide. I don’t want 2 channels with 1021 in my guide, so I simply change the Virtual Channel number in the QAM Mapping Utility for FOX (KTVU) to 72-1, so it will appear as channel 1721 in my program guide.
      QAM Mapping Utility w/ custom channel numbers
    3. If you don’t mind having duplicate channel numbers (1 for your ATSC tuners, and 1 for your HDHomeRun tuners), then feel free to leave the Virtual Channel numbers alone. You can change the callsigns for your QAM channel lineup in Beyond TV to help distinguish them in the program guide. More on that later.
  18. Once you’re satisfied with the numbering in the QAM Mapping Utility, then click the “Save” button.
  19. There should now be a “hdhomerun_bda.remap” file in your “C:\” drive. Open it with a text utility like Notepad to verify the contents match the QAM Mapping Utility if you wish.
    HDHR QAM .remap file
  20. If you do not already have Beyond TV 4.6.1 RC1 installed, then you can download it from the Snapstream beta site. If you are not a beta tester, then you can easily sign-up for access.
  21. Install Beyond TV 4.6.1 RC1 on a PC that meets the system requirements.
  22. Once Beyond TV is installed you need to create a new custom channel lineup.
    Snapstrem.net custom lineup wizard
  23. Click the “Import Lineup” button.
  24. Select a lineup that contains all the digital channels you receive with your HDHomeRun. I selected my local digital antenna lineup.
    Snapstream.net custom lineup channel import
  25. Check off all the channels that you receive with your HDHomeRun, and click the “Import” button.
  26. Enter the Physical, Major, and Minor channel numbers that correspond to each channel in the lineup. You can find this in the QAM Mapping Utility. For example, in the QAM Mapping Utility my local FOX station (KNTV) has a Virtual Number of “72-1″ and a Physical Number of “2″. In the Snapstream.net custom lineup tool I set the Physical Number to “2″, Major Number to “72″ and Minor Number to “1″. Again, this will translate to channel “1721″ in the Beyond TV program guide.
  27. I also append “QAM” to each of the channel’s callsigns (Ex: KNTVDTQAM), which will appear in the Beyond TV program guide. It helps to further distinguish them.
  28. Give your custom lineup a name, and ensure the “Lineup Type” is set to “Digital”, then click the “Save and Exit” button.
    Snapstream.net custom lineup wizard w/ imported channels
  29. Your new lineup will appear in the “Lineup Settings” section of the “Settings” page in Snapstream.net. The “Preview” link will not display any of your channels. This is normal.
  30. If you already had Beyond TV installed prior to using the HDHomeRun, then go into Beyond TV and force a guide update (Settings > Snapstream.net Settings > Download Snapstrem.net Program Guide Data). If you’re new to Beyond TV, then don’t worry a guide update will occur after you complete this setup. If not, then you can always force an update later.
    Beyond TV Snapstream.net settings

    Beyond TV Guide Data Download
  31. Once the guide update is complete shutdown Beyond TV, if not already, then run the Beyond TV setup wizard (Start > All Programs > SnapStream Media > Beyond TV > Beyond TV Setup Wizard).
  32. Keep clicking “Next” and select “Add a New Source” from the “Video Source” page, and click “Next”.
    source settings
  33. Select “Antenna (Digital)”, then click “Next”.
    Beyond TV setup video source selection
  34. Select one of your HDHomeRun tuners from the “Capture Device” page, then click “Next”.
    Beyond TV setup tuner selection
  35. The custom lineup you created will probably not have a name, so select the black value from the droplist, and click “Next”.
  36. Abort the channel scan, select all the channels, then click “Next”. (the screenshot shows extra channels that I don’t use)
    Beyond TV setup QAM channel selection
  37. Verify you can tune all your channels, then click “Next”.
    Beyond TV setup channel test
  38. “Add a new source” again, and run through the same steps to setup your second HDHomeRun tuner.
  39. Select “Done”, click “Next” until you complete the wizard, and start Beyond TV.
  40. Go into the program guide, verify all your QAM channels are there, and enjoy watching HD via cable in Beyond TV! (Yes, I know the screenshot is of “The View”, but that’s all that was on in HD when I wrote this. Will update later with a more manly screenshot.)
    Beyond TV program guide w/ QAM channels

    Viewing unencrypted HD cable in Beyond TV

Tips / Known Issues:

  1. Live TV may take awhile to start (approx 20 seconds or longer). Adjust the “Header Timeout” value in the Web Admin to “3″ (Settings > Advanced Settings > Video Playback Settings). The Web Admin can be accessed from the PC where you installed Beyond TV (http://localhost:8129). If you have a PC, running Beyond TV Link, then you’ll need to be sure BTV Link is not running then modify the Settings.xml file located at “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Snapstream\Beyond TV”. Change the “TSSourceHeaderTimeout” value from 15000 to 3000. (source)
  2. The StreamSnip feature (cuts sub-signals from HD recordings out of the file, which reduces the overall file size) does not work with shows recorded with the HDHomeRun.
  3. If your custom lineup ended up with no name in the setup wizard, then you can give it a name if you like in the Web Admin by going to Settings > Channels. Just select the blank value from the “Channel Lineup” droplist, enter a name in the “Friendly Name” textbox, and click “Save and Exit” at the bottom of the page.
  4. General HD viewing tip: If the picture stutters when viewing HD, then try switching to “overlay” (Settings > Playback Settings > Video Renderer).
  5. No audio/video in the channel test screen of the setup wizard (after channel scan): Right Click C:\windows\inf\bda.inf, choose “Install”, then reboot. (Source)

Updates:

  1. 3/28/2007: Updated Tip #1 (how to reduce LiveTV startup from Beyond TV Link)
  2. 4/24/2007: Added “known issue” #5.
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29 Responses to “How to: Record unencypted HD cable with Beyond TV & HDHomeRun”

  1. 1 queonda

    known issue # 2. Can you explain why? I thought there isn’t sub channels with HDHR. I am new on this, so please school me.

    Also, you need to add limitations on physical and major and minor numbers. I red somewhere on SS forums that can’t go over double digits or something.

  2. queonda:
    “known issue # 2. Can you explain why? ”
    [Grant] Someone at Snapstream replied to me in a non-public forum, so I won’t post exactly what was said, but the short of it is that the QAM channels don’t produce completely valid ATSC streams (makes sense because they are not), so I guess some of the logic Beyond TV uses to analyze the stream will cause things like Streamsnip to fail. I would think this is something they can address in a later release.

    “I thought there isn’t sub channels with HDHR. I am new on this, so please school me.”
    [Grant] You can, but you cannot add them as sub-channels (ex. 9-1, 9-2, 9-3). You need to change these Virtual Channel numbers in the QAM Mapping Utility to something like 9-1, 10-1, 11-1. Then map those to whatever channel you want in the Snapstream.net custom lineup wizard.

    “Also, you need to add limitations on physical and major and minor numbers. I red somewhere on SS forums that can’t go over double digits or something.”
    [Grant] I actually did mention the major/minor channel number limit in point #17.1 (The major and minor numbers must be in the range of 1-99.). I added the number range of physical channels in that same point (The Physical Channel number must be in the range of 2-69). Nice catch.

  3. 3 William Hurlston

    I downloaded the BTV beta. As soon as I have a chance, I will try it and add a BTV mode to the QAM Mapping Utility to address the BTV specific issues.

  4. 4 Brent

    Very nice write-up Grant. While the steps to get the HDHR working are a little more than other tuners with BTV, it’s not as bad as it sounds and it is well worth it!

  5. 5 Mitch1200

    Grant,

    Really nice work. The directions are very easy to follow and make a lot of sense.

    I have the following problem with HDHR and BTV. I can set up a custom lineup with snapstream.net and name it. I can see the custom lineup in my snapstream.net account. No problem. But BTV doesn’t see it. On going through the BTV setup wizard (after having done a lineup update in BTV), the custom lineup is not seen. No blank, no named lineup, nothing but the antenna digital lineup that shows my local digital OTA stations.

    It seems that BTV and snapstream.net are not connected. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Mitch

  6. Mitch – Thanks for the comment.

    If the lineup really isn’t appearing (un-named or otherwise) in the setup wizard, then I’d suggest you create a support ticket: http://snapstream.helpserve.com/

  7. 7 Rich

    Grant,

    Thanks for the write-up. I recieved the HDHomerun yesterday and got it up and running last night. It is working flawlessly. I recorded two HD QAM channels at the same time without a burp.

    I had only two issues…

    1. I scanned the channels with “hdhomerun_config_gui.exe” but the resulting “Channels.txt” file was no where to be found. I searched the entire hard drive. To get around this, as I did not have a file to import to the QAM Mapping Utility, I did a scan using the utility itself. I think this is actuallly an easier way to go.

    2. I transposed one of the physical channel numbers when I entered it into the BTV custom line-up. Since I could not figure out how to edit the line-up once it was saved, I when back to the QAM Mapping Utility and changed it there so it would match with the custome line-up.

    Once again, thanks.

    GOODBY OUTSIDE ANTENNA!!!!

  8. 8 Mike

    I don’t see the new lineup in the setup wizard, either. Has anyone figured this out yet?

  9. 9 Grant

    Mike – Are you referring to when you’re prompted to select a digital antenna lineup in the BTV setup wizard? If so, then look to see if there is a blank value in the droplist. If so, then select that and click “Next”. My custom lineup appeared with no name in the setup wizard too. You can always give it a name later in the web admin (Settings > Channels).

  10. 10 Mike

    Yes, in BTV setup wizard, I don’t see the custom lineup that I created. I see 2 other lineups, but they are grey, and “Select an existing lineup” is grey. Actually, I really don’t get a drop-down box, just a list of lineups, but I can’t select any of them.

  11. 11 gak

    Excellent article Grant! I couldn’t have gotten as far as I am without your write-up! I just got my HDHR and followed your instructions to get it set up. I DID have to manually register the hdhomerun_bda.ax driver to get the Digital Antenna option in step 33 (it was greyed out).

    My problem is during step 44, I only see tuner 1 in the drop down list (no tuner 0).
    Do you have any idea how to get the other tuner to show up in the BTV Setup Wizard?

    BTW, completing the setup wizard with the tuner I can see works fine and BTV can use that tuner to view live TV and record. Great Picture! And the HDHR config GUI can tune channels on both tuners and display them in VLC, so I am fairly confident that the HDHR drivers are installed correctly…

  12. 12 Cliff

    These instructions didn’t work for me, but I followed the instructions on the silicondust web site and it worked perfectly at this link: http://www.silicondust.com/wiki/hdhomerun/instructions/beyondtv_cable

  13. 13 soto

    I have attempted to install the HDHOMERUN using BTV. I get the channels mapped and everything. Then when I try to install the device using the BTV setup wizard, it does not show either HDHOMERUN tuner, any thoughts?

  14. I would like to see a continuation of the topic

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