Ceton Echo & Xbox cannot play H.264 protected content

Troubleshoot and discuss the XBOX 360, XBOX One, Linksys, and other extenders.

Re: Ceton Echo & Xbox cannot play H.264 protected content

Post#301 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:18 pm

Several months ago when Comcast announced they were planning to begin the migration to H.264 in our area, that started the clock on our replacement of WMC, and we ended up buying a 6 tuner TiVo Bolt+ and several Minis to replace our WMC PC and our network of Xbox 360s.

On top of all of the other issues with WMC - periodic program guide outages, no commitment for ongoing Microsoft support, and the lack of any development since Vista/Windows 7, the H.264 migration was the final straw.

In a separate thread, I've summarized an evaluation of TiVo vs. WMC, and why we are satisfied with our decision to replace WMC with TiVo, even though it did require an investment in new hardware (which we would have had to do with any of the other replacement options).
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Post#302 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:11 am

So, I just started getting a lot of choppy playback on premium channels, or anything mpeg4 on my xbox extenders. Starz for me is really choppy, but displays. When I use 411+info, the RefreshRate shows as 32 on the xbox. On my tx, it is 60 and plays fine. Any way to force a refresh rate change on the xbox?
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Post#303 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:58 pm

I am using hdhomerun + zotac id83 HTPC (I3 hd 4000) + win7 WMC + comcast. I have the same issue - getting only audio and no picture on some premium channels. Interesting fact is that I can record shows. When I play them - the same problem. But I can see correct thumbnail (one frame) generated by WMC for these "bad" recorded shows. I stopped and started recording multiple times and the recorded list had different correct thumbnails that corresponded to different parts of movie. Another fact - latest Intel driver for hd 4000 does not work at all - all channels black, I have to use old original driver to watch "good" channels.
So it looks like it is not about about WMC or Playready. It is about graphics card and driver. Specifically - HDCP implementation. It is very bad that Intel fell so low here.
Because there are good cases, would be good get list of graphics cards / chipsets that known to work posted here.
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Post#304 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:41 am

Welll looks like they just pulled the trigger on this in my area. All normal channels are fine but HBO's main channel (not the other ones, weirdly) is black with sound only on my main Ceton HTPC, and displaying about 1 frame every 5-10 seconds on Xbox 360 extenders. Reading over this thread it sounds like there is no universal fix, this is the final nail in the coffin for my home cable solution, time to check out PS Vue or other options. Am I missing anything? Is there a hail mary out there to bring back my beloved system, or am I at the mercy of Comcast and their whimsy here?
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Post#305 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:41 am

The catch with all this new of streaming services - you cannot skip commercials. they will make you see more and more ads.
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Post#306 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:25 pm

dposluns wrote:Welll looks like they just pulled the trigger on this in my area. All normal channels are fine but HBO's main channel (not the other ones, weirdly) is black with sound only on my main Ceton HTPC, and displaying about 1 frame every 5-10 seconds on Xbox 360 extenders. Reading over this thread it sounds like there is no universal fix, this is the final nail in the coffin for my home cable solution, time to check out PS Vue or other options. Am I missing anything? Is there a hail mary out there to bring back my beloved system, or am I at the mercy of Comcast and their whimsy here?

If HBO is the only channel affected, just use the HBO GO app on the Xbox 360.
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Post#307 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:08 pm

dposluns wrote:Welll looks like they just pulled the trigger on this in my area. All normal channels are fine but HBO's main channel (not the other ones, weirdly) is black with sound only on my main Ceton HTPC, and displaying about 1 frame every 5-10 seconds on Xbox 360 extenders.


Just as a data point, what GPU family are you using on the HTPC, Intel, Nvidia, ?
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Post#308 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:33 am

I confirm - ZBOX MA320 HTPC that uses Radeon HD8330 works with Comcast "bad" channels:
https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Barebone-A ... 147_tr_t_3
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Post#309 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:13 pm

dmittrik wrote:I confirm - ZBOX MA320 HTPC that uses Radeon HD8330 works with Comcast "bad" channels:
https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Barebone-A ... 147_tr_t_3


So this appears to be video driver related? I have an AMD A10 7700k with an Nvidia GT 730 installed for video as my WMC server and I recently started having this issue. Would rolling back drivers fix this?
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Post#310 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:27 pm

I'm getting macroblocking only on certain programs. Comcast / AMD HD6550. I haven't looked into it in detail as of yet.
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Post#311 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:20 pm

Having similar issues with a few of the HBO channels that are showing as encrypted, as well as showtime. I had the same problem many have mentioned, black screen, audio only. I thought I would add a few notes that I didn't see mentioned in this thread (sorry if I missed that).

When this first started happening about a month ago, I called Comcast and they deduced that it had to be something with my cable card. At this point I hadn't realized that the channels played fine from my WMC server, just not on the extenders. So I got a new cable card, activated it and and re-ran the WMC TV setup, scanned for channels and at first everything seemed to be working again. I got the channels back and everything was fine for about the first hour. Then I started noticing this little hitch in the video about every 8 seconds or so. It seems like it was just dropping a few packets. Fast forwards a week later and it's back to like it was before, black screen, only audio. Nothing else had changed on my WMC server other than the new cablecard and re-running the TV setup. Seems like a weird progression, no? Just to test I ran the TV setup again in WMC, but this time around it had no impact.

Just thought I'd share that as I hadn't seen a similar scenario mentioned. Again, apologies if it had been and I just missed it.
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Post#312 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:45 am

chillzatl wrote:
dmittrik wrote:I confirm - ZBOX MA320 HTPC that uses Radeon HD8330 works with Comcast "bad" channels:
https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Barebone-A ... 147_tr_t_3


So this appears to be video driver related? I have an AMD A10 7700k with an Nvidia GT 730 installed for video as my WMC server and I recently started having this issue. Would rolling back drivers fix this?


Yes, it is driver specific, HDCP implementation. Thank God - it is not about WMC. My previous HTPC was ZBOX ID83 with I3 + Intel HD Graphics 4000. I had audio without picture on some premium HD channels. None of Intel drivers resolved it. AMD is superstar.
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Post#313 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:45 pm

dmittrik wrote:
Yes, it is driver specific, HDCP implementation. Thank God - it is not about WMC. My previous HTPC was ZBOX ID83 with I3 + Intel HD Graphics 4000. I had audio without picture on some premium HD channels. None of Intel drivers resolved it. AMD is superstar.


So I guess the big question is what drivers then? I'm using an AMD system that has built in graphics and I also have an Nvidia card. None of my drivers had been updated since May, but I did update them (chipset and video) last night with no change.
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Post#314 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:48 pm

chillzatl wrote:So I guess the big question is what drivers then? I'm using an AMD system that has built in graphics and I also have an Nvidia card. None of my drivers had been updated since May, but I did update them (chipset and video) last night with no change.


Post your chipset. I am using AMD chipset drivers that came on cd:

AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL (13.152.0.0 August 30)
8/30/2013
Windows 7 32bit
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Post#315 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:02 pm

dmittrik wrote:
chillzatl wrote:So I guess the big question is what drivers then? I'm using an AMD system that has built in graphics and I also have an Nvidia card. None of my drivers had been updated since May, but I did update them (chipset and video) last night with no change.


Post your chipset. I am using AMD chipset drivers that came on cd:

AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL (13.152.0.0 August 30)
8/30/2013
Windows 7 32bit

I just installed the Crimson Edition 16.2.1 Beta that installed the driver with date 2/26/2016 and version 15.301.1902.0 driver on my Windows 7 64bit AMD Radeon HD 6450.
This driver improved H.264 video over the old 13.152.0.0 driver on my system but there is still a lot of frame corruption when playing Protected Content, just not as much as with the older driver. The 13.152.0.0 driver would have trouble playing commercials with simple graphics moving on the screen like the mostly black HBO movie ratings screens. Letterboxed productions like Poltergeist on HBO are unwatchable. Non-Protected content has similar problems but not as pronounced.

The Catalyst/Crimson software is asking me if I want to install the 15.7.1 version driver dated 7/28/2015. This is the driver version that caused me to go back to 13.152.0.0 in the first place so I will not be going there.

Is this starting to look like a GPU problem?
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Post#316 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:38 am

Fort Collins CO Comcast Digital... Had gotten a few warnings, last one to replace boxes by 11/7 to avoid issues. We had several disruptions to cable (TV, Internet) this morning, may be unrelated.. but post-fact I noticed at least several channels (QVC, CNN) now show H264 in 411info. The premium channels (Showtime and HBO) still indicate MPEG2. Same for a local channel I checked.

EDIT: except Encore HD now shows H264 as well...

So far my Nvidia GTX750 seems to work, and XBOX360 extender... at least until the CP channels start moving...
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Post#317 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:59 am

Longmont, CO Comcast Digital. Got the same letter. Some channels have been converted to H.264 but many still MPEG2. Nvidia GT630 having no problems. Don't use extenders so can't report if they work or not.
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Post#318 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:08 pm

HBO and some other premium stuff here hasn't moved over yet, but Encore did. XBOX360 and Ceton Echo only gets audio and black screen. Plays OK on main screen.
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Post#319 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:00 am

coolwhip wrote: I just installed the Crimson Edition 16.2.1 Beta that installed the driver with date 2/26/2016 and version 15.301.1902.0 driver on my Windows 7 64bit AMD Radeon HD 6450.
This driver improved H.264 video over the old 13.152.0.0 driver on my system but there is still a lot of frame corruption when playing Protected Content, just not as much as with the older driver. The 13.152.0.0 driver would have trouble playing commercials with simple graphics moving on the screen like the mostly black HBO movie ratings screens. Letterboxed productions like Poltergeist on HBO are unwatchable. Non-Protected content has similar problems but not as pronounced.

Is this starting to look like a GPU problem?


Yes, it is GPU problem. Radeon HD 6450 is weaker then HD 8330. I have turned all post-processing OFF under Video settings in Catalyst control panel. Modern TVs (at least Sony Bravia) are good at filtering of video decoding artifacts.
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Post#320 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:42 am

dmittrik wrote:
coolwhip wrote: I just installed the Crimson Edition 16.2.1 Beta that installed the driver with date 2/26/2016 and version 15.301.1902.0 driver on my Windows 7 64bit AMD Radeon HD 6450.
This driver improved H.264 video over the old 13.152.0.0 driver on my system but there is still a lot of frame corruption when playing Protected Content, just not as much as with the older driver. The 13.152.0.0 driver would have trouble playing commercials with simple graphics moving on the screen like the mostly black HBO movie ratings screens. Letterboxed productions like Poltergeist on HBO are unwatchable. Non-Protected content has similar problems but not as pronounced.

Is this starting to look like a GPU problem?


Yes, it is GPU problem. Radeon HD 6450 is weaker then HD 8330. I have turned all post-processing OFF under Video settings in Catalyst control panel. Modern TVs (at least Sony Bravia) are good at filtering of video decoding artifacts.


Upgraded to Crimson Edition 16.9.2 - no issues too. I installed Radeon Software, the full big package. To get high quality SD upscaling - enable "GPU Scaling" and set "Scaling Mode" to "Full", and do the rest stretching in WMC using Zoom. To fix black levels - set pixel format to Wide RGB 12 bit in Desktop settings in CCC, that is hidden in Home->Preferences->Additional Settings.
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