Does EPG123 install require breaking DRM and loosing access to past recordings?

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Paul Anderegg

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Does EPG123 install require breaking DRM and loosing access to past recordings?

#1

Post by Paul Anderegg » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:36 pm

I am looking at EPG123 because my guide data ends in like 1 day.

I am seeing way too many posts of people saying they had to reinstall Windows 7 from scratch after attempting EPG123 installs that fail. I really don't want to loose several TB's of past series I havenet finished that go back a year in some cases. What is the deal with this...is it not possible to update an existing WMC to EPG123 without loosing the ability to playback old record once DRM TV shows? :(

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garyan2

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#2

Post by garyan2 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:45 pm

Noone needs to reinstall Windows from scratch. Noone even needs to uninstall/reinstall WMC. There is a video on my site that shows a complete upgrade, start to finish, from Rovi to EPG123 and none of that was needed.

The caveat is, some tuners can be a little ornery and don't respond well to the upgrade. Typical fix action is simply to reset the tuners or reinstall the tuner drivers.

Let everyone know what you tuners are, and I'm sure someone will let you know how the upgrade went for them. There are plenty out there.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

Paul Anderegg

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#3

Post by Paul Anderegg » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:10 pm

Thanks...I just saw the "clean install" phrase too many times and got scared.

I've got a Ceton InfiniTV4 (also a 6 in a box) PCIE, that I have swapped a few times this month, so I've gone through the whole clear tuners reinstall TV setup a few times recently with no issues. :-D

Paul

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#4

Post by choliscott » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:51 am

I also have a 6 Tuner Ceton PCI and never had to a clean install after using EPG123.

This is what I did. Everytime I did this, I never had anything show up about reinstalling Playready, or re-entering in the Cable Card activation id (the one that looked like a Windows install key) This is different from the order of the instructions.

1) Setup EPG123 with the schedules direct User/Password.. Selecting your appropriate lineup and selecting the channels you want to appear in the guide, and the options on the left. It's important to make sure to check "Automatically Import Guide into WMC"

One item to note, if there are multiple channels with the exact same name, EPG123 will select both channels. This is by design You will need to manually uncheck the duplicates in WMC. If you have Comcast, you probably have a bunch of duplicated (i.e. channel 600 and 1600 are both SciFi Channel HD).

2) Click Save
3) Reboot to Safe Mode
4) Clear Ehome folder - C:\Program data\Microsoft\EHome
5) Reboot back to regular mode
6) Open WMC and setup your tuners, making sure to select NO on Guide TOS. When it shows only 4 tuners, I will close WMC
7) Open Ceton Diagnostics
8) Under Devices Tab - Click on Reset Network Settings, When it says Complete, Click on Clear Tuner Config. When it says it's done, click on Discover Tuners. When it says it's done. Open up WMC
9) Setup your tuners again, Selecting NO for guide TOS. This time it should detect all 6 tuners
10) Follow the normal setup, until it says your tuners are setup. The last step before it's fully done will take about 5 minutes or so
11) Close WMC

12) Open EPG123 as admin (Right Click, run as admin).
13) If you want Channel Logo's, make sure to check the box "Include Station Logos" and click on the Collect box. Let it finish downloading
14) Double check the configuration options on the left and channels you selected. Validate you have "Automatically Import Guide into WMC" and "Automatically Match Stations To Channels" checked
15) If you want this to run as a scheduled task, Enter in Scheduled Update Time and click on "Create"
16) Click on "Save and Execute".
17) A small window will appear and it will show different steps. The last step should show it importing the guide. Once the import is done, the small window will disappear.
18) Wait a few minutes, then open WMC. Guide data should appear with the channels you selected

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#5

Post by DSperber » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:05 am

In passing, I mention that there has been considerable discussion recently about DRM and PlayReady and copy-protected recordings and the ability to retain access and playability of copy-protected recordings even when having to restore a "system image" of Win7 C-partition from an earlier point in time than was the recording date of more recent copy-protected programs.

Turns out the "magic" is in a file named c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Playready\MSPR.HDS which holds all of the encryption key data required to play back all copy-protected recordings. It has been proven experimentally that you can restore an old "system image" of Win7 C-partition, and then while rebooting to SAFE mode (in order to work without WMC being active) copy back a preserved latest version of MSPR.HDS (which was copied before restoring the old "system image", either manually in SAFE more or perhaps in your normal nightly backup involving VSS shadow copy so that MSPR.HDS can be backed up even though WMC runs 24/7 so that this file is actually OPEN and IN-USE 24/7).

And once the preserved latest MSPR.HDS is copied back replacing whatever version was restored along with the old "system image" you restored, well now all of the copy-protected programs you had access to before doing the "system image" restore they are now once again all fully accessible, even though you're running an old restored version of your Win7 C-partition.

Much discussion about this topic is currently going on in this other thread.

Now while installing EPG123 does require re-doing the WMC "TV Signal" setup from scratch, in order that you can DECLINE the MS Guide Rovi offer and other downloaded data, and this will definitely require that in worst case you must manually recreate all of your series recordings setups (although EPG123 Client does offer a "backup" and "transfer tool" functionality to assist) after the new Schedules Direct Guide data and channel lineups are installed in WMC by EPG123, there is no reason to "reinstall WMC or Win7" just because you're exiting from Rovi and moving to EPG123/SD.

In other words there is no loss of the current MSPR.HDS, just because you are installing EPG123. Hence there will be no loss of access to your current stash of copy-protected programs. They will all still be playable even after you migrate into EPG123.

Note: I have two HTPC machines, one running with (a) 6-tuner Ceton PCIe internal tuner card and (b) 4-tuner Hauppauge QuadHD tuner card, and the other running with (a) 6-tuner Ceton ETH network tuner box and (b) 4-tuner Hauupauge QuadHD tuner card. Both HTPC's run with EPG123 (and have been for several years), and neither machine required reinstall of Windows or WMC in order to go to EPG123 when that install happened. No copy-protected content was ever lost, because (a) Win7 was never reinstalled and (b) the hardware machine remained unchanged, across the "TV Signal" setup process.

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#6

Post by garyan2 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:25 am

DSperber wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:05 am
In passing,...
I'm wondering if I should include that file in my WMC database backups? Seems like it might be a good idea.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#7

Post by DSperber » Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:23 am

garyan2 wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:25 am
DSperber wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:05 am
In passing,...
I'm wondering if I should include that file in my WMC database backups? Seems like it might be a good idea.
Conceptually, copying MSPR.HDS is crucial to retaining playability of copy-protected content even if you have to restore an older version of Windows.

But beware that the file is always open and in-use 24/7, since EHRECVR is running all the time. So if you just try to COPY the file you won't be able to access it, because it will be reported as "in-use by another process" and thus locked.

The way NovaBACKUP is able to back it up every night is to use VSS Shadow Copy, which is the technique used by backup products to gain access to "open files" so that they can be backed up whenever the backup job runs, even if the files are currently open. The backup software actually copies from the "shadow copy" (which contains everything) without any conflict, whereas attempting the same copy from the live file itself (and without using VSS) would fail.

Now if you could temporarily terminate EHRECVR (through "taskkill /im ehrecvr.exe /f"), that would temporarily close MSPR.HDS and make it available for a real copy, i.e. without using the services of VSS to assist. My experience however is that it seems EHRECVR very quickly thereafter seems to automatically restart itself, which you'd think would once again put the file out-of-reach for a normal COPY. So the "net start ehrecvr" you would think should be done to manually re-start EHRECVR results in a message that it is already active. So it must have restarted itself shortly after being manually killed. And this means there's really very little time to perform your own COPY, before the file is once again "off-limits".

Furthermore, I believe that the full and proper way to re-enable EHRECVR if you have "killed it" and then manually re-started it is to also re-discover all of the Ceton OCUR tuners (which were "lost" when you killed EHRECVR, if you have them) is through "%systemroot%\ehome\ehprivjob.exe /ocurdiscovery /ex". This will re-enable all of the Ceton tuners.

Bottom line: VSS is the easiest way to gain 100% reliable access to a currently open and in-use file, in order to copy it.

That being said, MSPR.HDS is certainly a crucial file involved with DRM and the ability to play copy-protected WTV recording content.

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#8

Post by glorp » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:18 pm

Now if you could temporarily terminate EHRECVR (through "taskkill /im ehrecvr.exe /f"), that would temporarily close MSPR.HDS and make it available for a real copy, i.e. without using the services of VSS to assist. My experience however is that it seems EHRECVR very quickly thereafter seems to automatically restart itself, which you'd think would once again put the file out-of-reach for a normal COPY. So the "net start ehrecvr" you would think should be done to manually re-start EHRECVR results in a message that it is already active. So it must have restarted itself shortly after being manually killed. And this means there's really very little time to perform your own COPY, before the file is once again "off-limits".
That's because ehrecvr system service has its service recovery options set to auto-restart on failure for up to 2 tries before no longer restarting when an abnormal termination is detected. These could be changed in the Services manager on the "recovery" tab (at least in Win7) by a privileged account from "restart the service" to "take no action" to stop that from happening. In fact you can start/stop the service from there too so there's no need to do an abrupt taskkill on it and it may be that using the stop function from there will prevent it from restarting. The taskkill is going to be an abnormal end to the service whereas a manual stop probably will keep it shut down. Bu if not, just change the options, stop the service and perform your restore. You can set them back after you've done the copy then restart the service or simply reboot if you think there are other dependent tasks that also need restarting as a result of ehrecvr shut down.

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#9

Post by DSperber » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:27 pm

Excellent! New insights and terrific information and ideas, once more. Very useful. Didn't think to look there. Certainly explains what I've always seen was happening. I'm going to do some experimenting with this alternate method of stopping and starting EHRECVR, in order to get at MSPR.HDS without requiring VSS or Safe mode.

Incidentally, it does show "manual" for start method, so maybe Safe mode is not required either. Maybe simply re-booting, and not yet launching WMC or having a scheduled recording kick in, would prevent the manual event-triggered starting of EHRECVR so that you could work with it unimpeded.

Seems, then, that this is a perfect step in a "recipe" for both (a) making a copy of the current MSPR.HDS to preserve it, or (b) restoring a preserved copy of MSPR.HDS, overwriting the one that's there right now... say an older one from an old "system image" restore that you had to go back to for whatever reason, without needing Safe mode.

You'd be in complete control, and would simply be sure to do this whenever you know no new recordings were being made, no playback of live/recordings were going on at an extender, etc. In other words, whenever you wanted to do this... and not force you into Safe mode. Then you could complete whatever other additional steps you had to perform, in the total process you wanted to perform. Whether you do this freshly after a re-boot before EHRECVR has started, or whether you perform a STOP at some other time, you'd still be in charge.

Thanks for the tip.

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#10

Post by Space » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:48 am

Here is info on how to gracefully stop/start services from the command line as well as change some parameters of the service:

https://www.windows-commandline.com/sta ... mand-line/

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#11

Post by whealthy » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:54 pm

Is there a resolution to this? Installed EPG123 a few days ago and have just found out I can't access recordings from copy protected content now. One recording will play for about three or four minutes and then I get the "Display driver error: The video playback device does not support playback of protected content."
After trying to play one file and getting this error message, trying to open any of the other files results in the same message.
If I reboot, and then restart WMC, I can again watch one file for 3-4 minutes and then the error code pops up again.
I didn't have this issue before installing EPG123.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

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#12

Post by garyan2 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:29 pm

whealthy wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:54 pm
Is there a resolution to this? Installed EPG123 a few days ago and have just found out I can't access recordings from copy protected content now. One recording will play for about three or four minutes and then I get the "Display driver error: The video playback device does not support playback of protected content."
After trying to play one file and getting this error message, trying to open any of the other files results in the same message.
If I reboot, and then restart WMC, I can again watch one file for 3-4 minutes and then the error code pops up again.
I didn't have this issue before installing EPG123.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
This sounds like it could be a playready problem. When you moved over to EPG123, did you install/update PlayReady?

Code: Select all

https://download.microsoft.com/download/2/4/7/2470874B-ADAD-40A6-9D2A-5AA645BA8E7A/PlayReadyPC_x86.msi
https://download.microsoft.com/download/C/B/A/CBAB556B-13E3-4F16-AF77-476AA0769F3B/PlayReadyPC_x64.msi
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#13

Post by Space » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:57 am

Make sure the HDMI cable is securely in the connector and that the connector and cable are good. I had similar problems and it turned out to be a loose "jiggly" HDMI port on the TV. This can also happen with a flaky/loose HDMI cable, so you may want to make sure it is attached securely and/or try a different cable.

Trust me, I know you might say "but all I did was install EPG123", how could it be a hardware issue?" I did the same thing (made a software change that I thought caused the issue) but it turned out to be the HDMI connector/cable connection. So, save yourself a lot of time and headaches and try the above before doing anything software-wise on your system.

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#14

Post by whealthy » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:39 am

The cables and hookup are fine as far as I can tell. They were working fine and there is no issue "jiggling" the cable when playing unprotected files. When I installed epg123, I followed the directions of installations in the guide. I didn't change anything with PlayReady that I know of.

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#15

Post by Space » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:32 am

A bad cable will play unprotected videos just fine, it is the protected videos that may not play. There is a HDCP handshake that needs to take place and if there are problems with it, you will be unable to play protected content. If this handshake fails while you are playing back a protected video, you will see the symptoms you described.

So like I said, a cable that is unable to transmit/receive the handshake signal properly and consistently will cause you to be unable to play back protected video. Being able to play back unprotected video has nothing to do with it. You can play back unprotected video all day long with a "bad" cable (bad in the sense that it is not allowing consistent HDCP handshakes).

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#16

Post by adam1991 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:49 am

I agree with starting with the basics: "is it plugged in and turned on?". Sometimes I think that 95% of peoples' problems come down to that.

And yes, cables can absolutely be an issue--and if they are, then it's not plugged in, right? When in doubt, try a different, known working cable. At the very least, unplug everything and firmly plug it all back in. Reverse the ends, see what happens.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard from people about "nothing changed," only to deep dive and discover that yes indeed, something changed. "But that shouldn't make a difference," I hear. Uh-huh. (One time years ago a guy swore that nothing changed, then ten minutes later we find out that he moved his computer from one side of the room to the other...and guess what, the network cable wasn't plugged all the way in...)

One comes to forums like this to hear voices of experience and get help. You're hearing two such voices now. We're not declaring it to be the cable, but we are suggesting that you check. Is it indeed plugged in and turned on?

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#17

Post by whealthy » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:09 pm

I hadn't moved or changed anything. On your suggestions, I tried a few different hdmi cables with the same result. Doesn't it sound like a playready or drm issue if I select any protected file after a reboot, it plays for three or four minutes before I get the display and then no protected file will play until I reboot again, after which the whole process starts over?

Also, garyan2, were you suggesting I do something with the .msi files you provided urls for?

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#18

Post by garyan2 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:03 pm

whealthy wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:09 pm
Also, garyan2, were you suggesting I do something with the .msi files you provided urls for?
I was asking if during your TV Setup, when doing a clean start for EPG123, were you prompted to install PlayReady and did you say 'Yes'? If you weren't prompted, or said 'No', then the links I provided will allow you to manually install PlayReady again to see if that helps. (There could be a path to update PlayReady in WMC in settings->TV->TV Signal->Update PlayReady which would be the preferred path.)

Trying to understand PlayReady better, I found that on one of my VMs for development there was a file created in the ehome folder that EPG123 will delete for a clean start... C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\MCENDIndiv.hds. The file size and date are the same as the file C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds. A hex compare revealed they were slightly different, but I'm not sure if that means anything.

You can try to uninstall and reinstall PlayReady (the mspr.hds will be preserved)
You can try and copy the mspr.hds to the eHome folder and rename to MCENDIndiv.hds (probably need to be in Safe-Mode)

I'm trying to figure out what a program called ResetDRM does and if it is safe, I'm not sure at the moment.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#19

Post by garyan2 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:11 pm

garyan2 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:03 pm
I'm trying to figure out what a program called ResetDRM does and if it is safe, I'm not sure at the moment.
Based on this article, I believe that ResetDRM is definitely NOT safe for you. It appears to be a good write-up, though.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#20

Post by whealthy » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:17 pm

So I should have reinstalled PlayReady when I ran the TV Setup during the EPG123 install?

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