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Guide to Watch/ Record HD from Cable Box

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I always thought of watching or recording HD as something "other people" did. I recently found some information on this subject and after trying it. I was shocked to see how easy it was. The hardest part of project is getting a cable box. The box I used was a DCT 3412. I got it from Comcast after ordering the DVR package. I just had it installed and the installer went to a HD channel and said that it could decode HD channels. I was surprised because I thought HD cost extra. After seeing all the outputs in the back, I thought I'd be some research and see if I could put them to use. I assumed they were all disabled, but I was wrong. It appears the FCC requires a Firewire port to be enabled. I have no idea why. The problem is getting that Firewire output on your computer. That's what this guide covers.


Cable Box with Firewire Output (DCT 3412 is what I used)

6-pin to 6-pin Firewire Cable

Drivers (Free)

Decoding Software (Free)

Fast Computer (3Ghz+)

Est. Cost: $0 (unless you don't have an extra Firewire cable)

0. Download the Drivers Attached and Extract to C:\DHS (or wherever)

1. Connect the STB (Set-Top-Box) to Power and Cable

2. Connect Firewire cable from Right Firewire Port to Computer

3. Hardware will be detected, Cancel all "Add Hardware" wizards

4. Go into the Device Manager, find "AV/C Tuner", ignore the others

5. Open up driver information and click "Reinstall Driver"

6. Click "Install from a Specific Location"

7. Select "I will choose driver to install'

8. Click "Have Disk"

9. Go into where you extracted the drivers and select the tuner driver

10. Make sure "Show Compatible Hardware" is unchecked

11. Pick "Panasonic" as Manufacturer

12. Choose "Panasonic D-VHS AV/C Device"

13. Cancel the Driver Warnings

14. Download CapDVHS (

15. Open DVHS

16. Go to the Channel you wish to record and press record

That's pretty much it. I had to do it off memory and probably missed a few details but overall it's easy. I only took like about 3 minutes the first time I tried.

Viewing Live HD Channels

1. Make sure all steps up to 13 are complete

2. Open up VLC

3. Choose "File" and then "Open Capture Device"

4. Refresh the Driver List and Select the Panasonic driver

The more important tool in this is a fast computer. I was getting lost frames on a 2.53Ghz processor with 512MB RAM. This is one of those things were you might actually use that brand new processor you just bought. :)

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Well if the FCC does infact require that a firewire port be active maybe Cox will enables them were I live. I get the DVR for just this reason only to find out that Cox has not enabled any ports. They even had to send a firmware update to my box just to use the Dolby Digital Optical out. The box has USB-2 FireWire SATA Ethernet all disabled. I have confirmed this with Cox they are considering opening the SATA in the future. Glad it works on Comcast though. If Cox ever does open any of the ports they will for sure charge more money that seems to be the way they work.

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