November 5th, 2002


Resourceful... or something...

I'm watching "Behind Enemy Lines". Not because I have any interest in the movie, but because I'm not supposed to be seeing it. :) I don't technically get HBO, however, the cable guy didn't install a block on analog channel 14. So I get HBO on cable-ready sets tuned to channel 14, but it doesn't come in as the digital channel 220 through the box.

When we upgraded to our new DVR cable box, I noticed that is has a digital coaxial output. So I hooked that up to my stereo receiver. Earlier I was surfing the audio channels and was curious if it was transmitting them over the digital connection, since they claim to be CD-quality audio. Sure enough, it is! It's still just Dolby Pro Logic, but it sounded much better than the analog TV output we normally listen to. The only disadvantage is that the volume control on the TV doesn't affect it, so that has to be adjusted using the receiver's volume control.

Also when we got our new cable box, I noticed two channels at the end of all the audio and PPV stuff: HDHBO and HDSHO. It turns out that HDHBO contains the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track for the current program on HBO, and it's not blocked. :) There's no picture with it though. I guess when you tune to HBO on 220 (if you subscribe to it, which I don't) it would automatically add the digital audio from the HDHBO channel.

So... What if I was to pull the HBO video signal from the analog channel 14, which isn't blocked? :) I tried just that, listening to the audio from the cable box but viewing channel 14 through the VCR. Unfortunately the timing is off. :( The audio is delayed by like 3 to 5 seconds or so.

Sayyy... What if I was to tune the ReplayTV to the analog channel 14 and view it live, but hit pause for 4 seconds and then play again. Then I could get it to sync up with the delayed audio! Of course the chances of getting the finicky playback control of the HDR to a precise timing were slim, but I gave it a shot. It took a few tries, but I got it to line up. :)

So now I'm watching HBO with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound without paying for it. Nya nya, Time Warner! :-P (And I'm posting this through my Roadrunner connection to boot!)
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