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Installment 00A of The Custom Integrator Show is live.  This installment is a continuation of understanding the Digital Cable Tuner (DCT) and CableCARD architectures and how to troubleshoot them.  Most of our conversations use the initial Man-Machine Interface (MMI)screen shots we posted as the Pre-Cursor to Installment 009 at http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/blogs/custom/archive/2009/04/02/pre-cursor-to-installment-009-of-the-custom-integrator-show.aspx.  It also makes sense to listen to Installment 009 before this one is you have not done so already at http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/blogs/custom/archive/2009/04/03/the-custom-integrator-show-installment-009.aspx.

Following are links to some of the technologies and specifications we discuss in the Podcast.  They are not meant to be a detailed list, but they should give you some additional background on the topics.

DAVIC API and Event Models as seen on the DAVIC Information Screens:



This is another section that is more informative than anything else.  We talked a little in the previous Podcast about the importance of getting a Host ID, which indicates a proper binding between the CableCARD and the headend.  The numbers shown on the Host ID screen actually do mean something.  Most of the screens within Windows Media Center and the MMI will list the Host ID information using a screen similar to the following:

To start cable service for this device, please contact your cable provider

  CableCARD(tm): 000-385-880-105-4

  Host: 071-848-735-181-5

  Data: 245-312-199-64

  UnitAddress: 000-03858-80105-238



So, what do all of these numbers actually mean?

Cable Card ID = AAA-BBB-CCC-DDD-c


 AAA = This is manufacturer ID assigned by CableLabs

 BBB-CCC-DDD = the nine least significant digits of the unit address (when using a decimal format)

 c = the Luhn digit, which is a checksum defined by the OpenCable Copy protection specification (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luhn_algorithm)


 EEE = This is the manufacturer ID

 FFF-GGG-HHH = A unique value assigned to a Host device

 c = the Luhn digit, which is a checksum defined by the OpenCable Copy protection specification

 Data Field

 A unique randomly generated value created during the CableCARD/Host pairing process.  This value is a private security data authenticator utilized by the Conditional Access (CA) System as part of the functions specified in the CableCARD Copy Protection (CP) System specification.


 A unique sixteen character decimal value representing the unit address of the CableCARD module with the LLL representing the checksum


In our next installment (Installment 00B), we will take a look at the Media Center Integrator Alliance’s Digital Cable Tuner Diagnostics Tool.  Although this “must have” tool only is available to members of the MCIA, keep an eye out for the screen shots I will post from it since they will be used as a reference to the audio portion of the Podcast.  I also highly recommend becoming a member of the MCIA because this is just the first of many useful tools in store for members (http://www.mediacenterintegrator.com/).






5 thoughts on “The Custom Integrator Show Installment 00A”
  1. Dr. Flick,

    Would the Media Center Integrator group consider offering a non-commercial membership for users (advanced users hopefully) that do not work commercially? Say an annual rate of $50 and access to programs that would only be for use on one’s own system?


  2. Just as a casual user, I learned a lot about Media Center from the Media Center University video presentations we were able to download from last year’s CES. Will we be able to see the presentations from this year’s show?

  3. I have passed the request for a potential “entry-level” membership on to the MCIA. Although it does not fit the current business model, we always are looking for better ways to expand the scope of the marketplace and the support for those enthusiasts using Windows Media Center.


  4. I assume you mean the videos from EHX last year. Yes, they were great. The sessions were recorded again this year, however, there has been no commitment to make those public yet.

    Once again, Todd did an excellent job with the PowerPoint parts of the training. This year we had hands-on labs for the first time, which is where we got most of the “real” information. The labs were not recorded though.


  5. I would like to second the request for an Individual membership. I have been fighting CableCard issues for about two months now. I had sent in my PC to the vendor to have a second CableCard tuner added (had one CableCard tuner already and it worked fine). However, I had nothing but problems when I had the cable people (Comcast – ugh) out to install the cards. My PC vendor (a company known for high-end PCs, including Media Center systems) only attempted to troubleshoot from a PC perspective because their tech support didn’t know how to support Cable Card. After four weeks of going back and forth, I sent it back again for a reload – only to have them tell me that they couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m bettin that the CableCard Diagnostic Tool from MCIA would have been invaluable in diagnosing and solving the problem.

    Sorry for the rant, but one of the biggest issues out there is support. Most (if not all) of the US cable companies don’t know how to work with Media Center (the cable guy that came out said that he had *never* seen a Media Center install before – and I live in a city of 100,000+ population). And if PC vendors don’t take the time to educate their support staff on how to troubleshoot CableCard issues – then what is the end-user left with? Are we *required* to go through an installer in order to get decent support services? That shouldn’t be the case.

    If MCIA doesn’t do an Individual membership, I may go ahead and pony up the $500 for a Level 1 Membership just so I can get the CableCard diagnostic tool. I’ve gone through about $500 worth of frustration – I should at least get something out of it.

    Again – sorry for the rant. This is a *great* podcast and I have learned a lot about the various variables that go into a whole-home Media Center installation. Great job and I can’t wait for the next episode.

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