Decrypting a raw digital cable signal (UK)

Hi all,

Does anyone know what video encryption method is used on the UK digital cable signal in the UK, specifically NTL. Is there a CAM and TV card combination that could use my viewing card so that I may view cable directly on the PC rather than through the STB? Iknow you can output the STB signal via RF to a TV card, but this is not what I want to do.

I’m a noob at this and if i can’t get the cable channels on the PC, I want to look towards a satelite system in the longer term and Freeview in the short Term.

What suggestion are there for decent DIgital Sat or Digital FTA cards are there that can be used as the hub of a media centre to be able to stream channels to other local PC’s? Ideally I would want twin tuners as well.

Many thanks.


PS I am also after cards that would be cabable of reciving and decoding HDTV infomation. I know we don’t have a lot of choice in th UK yet and even the Sky stuff next won’t be able to be decoded by a PC setup (at least I think) but you never know what the BBC will eventually offer.

They use the Nagra v1 encryption, which it’s main encryption is a 512 bit (64 byte) RSA public exponent key that is stored on the smart card. The digital video encoding transmission uses the DVB-C standard.

There is a card but without CAM support, so it’s only to receive freeview, such as BBC1, BBC2, ITV, CH4, CH5, which aren’t encrypted:
Hauppauge WinTV DVB-C.

Ah ha - now you’ve given me that little piece of info (DVB-C) I have managed to find a couple of other product that might to the job via the website.

This ( -called the TV Station) is is German, so I not too sure if it will do the job but seems to support both DVB-S and DVB-C with a CI module upgrade (is this what the CAM plugs into or am I getting myself muddled?)

Then there seems to be this company ( and also German that seems to include CI interface and seem to support DVB-S, DVB-T and DVB-C.

I wonder if these will work in the UK (I assume so as the transmission are a standard, right?) or if I am reading things wrong? So far I have only seen card that support one or the other (at least I though I have) which mean that if I want digital satellite, cable and terrestrial I would need three different cards. Maybe I’m just getting myself confused. Does anyone know any better?

Then there is the issue that if the above cards can support a CAM, how to I go about setting the system up to view and decrypt the cable channels. This is all very interesting stuff, even if I am wide of the mark.

Ignore bits of the last post, I have just realised that the TechnoTrend cards are seperate for each video transmission source, still they all seem to support things like Comman Inteface of Embeded Conditional Access?

Yes, they all will work and it is the standard. But the problem is whether you can get the CI with CAM to work.

DVB-C (C=Cable), DVB-S(Satellite) and DVB-T(Terrestrial/local such as aerial)

I myself am using a TechnoTrend DVB-C 2.1 Premium with no CI upgrade. I am on UK Telewest and it gives me only those unencrypted channels I mentioned.

I am using ProgDVB, just like as with Satellite.

Problem is that TechnoTrend DVB-C 2.1 Premium is discontinued and replaced by the newer TechnoTrend DVB-C 2300 and I think ProgDVB does not support it yet, but another software (commercial) MyTheatre is confirmed to work with it.

Have you looked into the CAM/CI interface with this card or is is something you’re not going to bother with? It would interesting to know what results can be got.

I have just email TechnoTrend to ask about the line of cards. They do not seem to have any information of their site about the discontinuation of the products but I have noted that the few retailers I could find (mainly in Europe) had the items down as discontinued as you say.

What do you think of the card? Is it worthwhile getting if it can be picked up second hand?

How different are the various DVB standards and is it actually impossible to build a single card that would be able to decode all standards (S, C, and T). This would make for some interesting Media PC’s.

As another alternative I have also come accross this product from Twinhan (

Nope, I havn’t tried the CI/CAM, but should work just like a normal decoder box, because that’s what CI is Common Interface, which are standard for CAMs.

The card is ok and has hardware MPEG2 decoding, so the recording is always perfect, i.e. no loss of frames. It also has excellent composite output. The only problem is that it’s quite a big PCI card and may be a problem for small PC cases. Also, as with all PC cards, changing channels is a bit slow. Picture quality on the PC is perfect because it’s displayed in full digital glory, even the recording is straight from digital.

The standards are all different, so yes it would be very difficult to put them all together. But what one can do is to put 3 PCI cards, one for each in a PC. Might be a bit too dear though.

The Twinhan should also work, but it is a software only version, i.e. it does not have any hardware MPEG2 decoding and relies on the PC plus MPEG2 driver to decode. Obviously, this isn’t a problem now for our 1GHz and beyond processors.

I’m beging to see the benifits of getting a DVB-C card with something liek ProgDVB!

The streaming is done by software not the hardware so it wouldn’t really matter which card. ProgDVB can broadcast and stream the picture through the LAN/wireless.

I’m not trying to tempt u… but the streaming works perfectly on a LAN 100MBps wired network, but with wireless it requires at least 54MBps rate. It stutters with 11MBps. The video is slightly delayed from the real time source PC, but that’s normal, because it has to buffer and send. U can also change channels using the client PCs, well this actually just sends a command to the source PC to change it’s channel.

At the moment none of the DVB-C or DVB-S PC cards support HDTV (because compression rate & resolution is too high) in it’s hardware, so it may be wise to wait a little to see what’s comming. But on the other hand, in UK it is a bit slow, so I don’t think it’s any time soon. The US is already enjoying their HDTV Cable & Satellite channels.

Interesting stuff. I have wired the house fully with CAT5e cabling during some recent renovation work as I am not truly convinced about a full on wireless network - even the new 108 Mbit standards (n?). I am planning on running a 100Mbit network but this maybe upgraded to a 1GBit switch when costs allow.

I haven’t had any response back from TechnoTrend about thier products.

When I first got my DVB-S card (Skystar2) several years back, I had no issue broadcasting the stream even over a 10Mbps Ethernet network apart from channels that use a lot of bandwidth (8Mbps or higher), so 100Mbps Ethernet is more than enough for streaming. :wink:

At the moment, I have a 108Mbps wireless network (all D-Link equipment), which consists of a wireless router (ADSL and one physical connection to the PC with the DVB-S card), a 108Mbps PCI card (different floor) and a 108Mbps PCMCIA card for a laptop. Unfortunately, the wireless network does not run as a fast as 100Mbps Ethernet, however it is fast enough for at least regular definition broadcasts from my experience. After some testing, I get a typical data throughput of 4MB - 5MB / sec with a 60% signal and 2MB - 3MB / sec with a 35% signal. When walking about with a laptop watching the stream, the picture doesn’t show any issue until I let the signal fall below about 30%.

My PC is not fast enough to decode HDTV in realtime with ProgDVB and ProgDVB crashes out if I try recording from a HDTV source (from either end), so I can’t test this over the wireless network.

That issue differs from channel to channel, I’ve experienced it. :frowning:
What channels have you tried with?
ProgDVB is really one of the best available progs for receiving (etc.) dvb.

At the moment, I only have Astra 19.2E hooked up to my PC. I just after installing the latest version of ProgDVB - v4.55 and had another go at recording Astra HD and Astra HD 2, but both cause ProgDVB to crash out after a few seconds. :confused: I even tried with MPEG decoding switched off, just in case the issue was caused by high CPU usage. There was only one version of ProgDVB (v4.24 from what I recall) that would usually record about 30 seconds worth of HD before crashing out. All the recent versions will record no more than 5 seconds for me. Interestingly, what ever it does record plays fine on my other PC (AMD 3000+).

DVB Viewer, which comes with the Skystar2 drive can keep on recording a HDTV channel, however as it hogs the full CPU trying to decode the video, it keeps droping blocks of frames in the recording. I could not see any option to disable video decoding during recording in DVB Viewer. :disagree:

For other channels, ProgDVB works quite well and I can leave it running over night recording most channels without any issue (especially those with a 6 Mbps or lower stream). From my experience, the higher the channel bandwidth, the more likely it is to crash out during recording. Regular channels with a 8Mbps to 10Mbps stream will cause ProgDVB to crash after about 30 minutes of recording, however it has no problem displaying these channels for several continuous hours (without recording). :wink:

I have mentioned the HDTV recording crashing issue in the ProgDVB forum several times as a bug report, however I never got a response. Usually my post ends up being deleted after a few weeks. :doh: Maybe they don’t see the need to be able to record HDTV just yet. :stuck_out_tongue:

When I played back one of the recordings I made on my other more powerful PC, the following image shows the OSD info within Nero showtime. The bitrate typically fluctuates between 18.5 Mbps and 19.5Mbps, occasionally peaking above 20 Mbps. CPU usage is ~60% with hardware acceleration enabled and ~75% without hardware acceleration (PC has AMD Athlon XP3000+ with nVidia GF FX 5700).

DVB Viewer has some advantages when receiving/recording HDTV channels.
I use actually a Skystar2 with it for HDTV rec, also a FIRE-DTV with MyTheatre.
My Skystar1 is mainly used for “normal” dvb-s stations, running ProgDVB with it. For HDTV I have to use the SOFTmode for obvious reasons.

I just read yesterday that ProSiebenHD and Sat.1 HD will come back as regular channels few days before Premiere HD will be launched. Sounds good to me.
Sure they will be unencrypted.

Have you tried receiving/recording “Euro1080 HD1”?

Hi all,
I have gone through your answers but have an extra preoccupation, is there any way to bypass the cards and watch the encrypted programs , with or without the Set Top Box.

[QUOTE=yaonabine;2468846]Hi all,
I have gone through your answers but have an extra preoccupation, is there any way to bypass the cards and watch the encrypted programs , with or without the Set Top Box.[/QUOTE]

What you are asking for is illegal.