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Thread: Data transfer between MySky digital decoder and PC?

  1. #1
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    Question Data transfer between MySky digital decoder and PC?

    I'm trying to be able to get a digital copy of what is on the hard drive of my "MySky" Sky decoder. It's that new-ish NZ version of the US Tivo, with a 160GB HDD. The back of the unit has heaps of outputs, from optical, to RGA, a coax I think and even a USB port.

    Yes, obviously I tried the USB port, but that itself is an issue. The USB port at the back is the same as the USB port in a pc. I looked in Dick Smith, and they had no standard USB connector to standard USB connector cables.

    All they had, was a USB 2.0 Network cable. That cable gave Ethernet simulation (I should have realised here it wouldn't work) by installing a program on both pc's you want to "network" to copy files between, then plugging the cable into the USB port on each pc. The obvious problem is that in the middle of the cable is an oval shaped plastic/rubber box. I presume that it's similar to a cross-over cable. That is why when I plugged the cable into the decoder and a spare WinXP pc I have, nothing happened (no new drives appeared). It found new hardware though, so I installed the network drivers on the CD it came with, but no luck after that either. That's because for normal operation, you have to install the drivers and program on both PC's you want to connect - I have no control access to the MySky decoder.

    So, finally, my question is this. Cost aside, what is the best way to get a digital copy on my pc, of the programs I have stored on the MySky hard drive? I know you can get TV capture cards, and records the signal through those as it plays, but that seems so slow, and likely to leave me with a reduced quality version of the original. Besides, that's so "last century!".

    In the manual, it says the USB port is "for future use". Any clues? Don't forget, all I have is laptops - One new one with the older PCMCIA slots/ports, and another new one with the new Express Slot ports. Any ideas?

    Cheers,

    Dave.

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    Easy. Just open up the box, the 160GB drive will be attached via standard ATA interface. Then just plug the drive into your PC. If you're lucky then the drive is formatted in FAT, and you can just copy the files straight off. The directory structure might be a little odd and you may struggle to actually find what you're looking for though.

    Whoops just read that you only have laptops. Hmm. Plugging the drive into your PC becomes much more difficult. However, you can get ATA-to-USB enclosures, to turn an ordinary hard-drive into a portable USB drive; you may also be able to get ATA-to-USB cables, I'm not sure.
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    Whipping the HDD out of the mysky box is just about guaranteed to be a violation of your terms and conditions (Would you pull your normal sky decoder apart??)

    If you do whip the HDD out thou, your cheapest option is one of these lil jobbies most of the guys at work have them (thou they older model with no SATA support)
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Computers/C...n-77894526.htm

    The type of USB cable you are after is a "Type A Male/Male" which you will be hard pushed to find, the most common types being "Type A Male/Female" or "Type A Male to Type B Male"

    The 3rd option might be to get a USB Video capture box and just record the output off one of the analog outputs from the box.
    .

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    If it's anything like the UK SKY+ then the recorded MPEGs are scrambled anyway so you can't just plug it into a PC.

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    They aren't recorded as MPEG, its a satellite feed that can't be read by PC's.
    Thats the very reason I didn't buy one! I went for a Philips DVD HD recorder which plays all my DiVX's too. Also no way I was going to pay $600 for something thats not even mine.
    Remember MYSKY is still owned by Sky NZ, so opening it is not a good idea.

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    at a guess i would say the USB A type port on the decoder is more for input than anything
    ie: plug a flash drive or something in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxesdaphat View Post
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    Easy. Just open up the box, the 160GB drive will be attached via standard ATA interface. Then just plug the drive into your PC. If you're lucky then the drive is formatted in FAT, and you can just copy the files straight off. The directory structure might be a little odd and you may struggle to actually find what you're looking for though.

    Whoops just read that you only have laptops. Hmm. Plugging the drive into your PC becomes much more difficult. However, you can get ATA-to-USB enclosures, to turn an ordinary hard-drive into a portable USB drive; you may also be able to get ATA-to-USB cables, I'm not sure.
    I don't think opening it up would be a good idea. As was mentioned, since it's not technically my property, I may get a ruler cracked against my knuckels. I have two external hard drive enclosures, so if I ever did break it open and the drive was readable, I'd be sorted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lias View Post
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    Whipping the HDD out of the mysky box is just about guaranteed to be a violation of your terms and conditions (Would you pull your normal sky decoder apart??)

    If you do whip the HDD out thou, your cheapest option is one of these lil jobbies most of the guys at work have them (thou they older model with no SATA support)
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Computers/C...n-77894526.htm

    The type of USB cable you are after is a "Type A Male/Male" which you will be hard pushed to find, the most common types being "Type A Male/Female" or "Type A Male to Type B Male"

    The 3rd option might be to get a USB Video capture box and just record the output off one of the analog outputs from the box.
    That device in the link you gave me looks great, again, if I opened it up that would be an option. The USB video capture box looks like the only solution here. That would be a definite way to do it. What sort of file do you create when capturing a video&audio feed? Is the quality degraded at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimJen View Post
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    They aren't recorded as MPEG, its a satellite feed that can't be read by PC's.
    Thats the very reason I didn't buy one! I went for a Philips DVD HD recorder which plays all my DiVX's too. Also no way I was going to pay $600 for something thats not even mine.
    Remember MYSKY is still owned by Sky NZ, so opening it is not a good idea.
    I disagree. With a Philips DVD HD recorder, you can't record 2 different Sky digital channels at the same time AND watch another different recording. The Philips HDD DVD recorder is great, and when I buy my HDTV package in a couple of years (when HDTV is actually broadcast, and they don't pass off 720i as full HD, when 1080i is the top quality), I plan to get one. The Philips HDD recorder wouldn't do the job I purchased the MySky decoder to do, they're different devices for different uses.

    Ideally you'd have a Philip's HDD recorder connected to your MySky, that's what I plan to do... While you don't own the MySky decoder, once you've tried MySky, and are used to it, a standard Sky digital decoder seems really old and constrictive, and just doesn't cut the mustard...

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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneChucker View Post
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    The USB video capture box looks like the only solution here. That would be a definite way to do it. What sort of file do you create when capturing a video&audio feed? Is the quality degraded at all?
    Depending on the software and the codec(s) you use, the quality should be as good as what you see on the sky box.
    .

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    buy a tivo ... then its piss easy .. and much smarter than mysky anyways

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    Yeah I know a few people in nz with tivo's and they work sweet. Not too pricey either.

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    Yeah you will get pretty obvious quality reduction if you record off analogue outputs. I find it's especially noticeable in the sound quality, but there is also definitely lots of noise in the video output as well. Is it really a Tivo? Or something else? If it's a Tivo tonnes of guys have hacked those and there probably has been somebody who has worked out how to do what you want to do.

    Myself, I'd open the box. How do they know if you've opened the box or not? It's not like you're desoldering anything, you're just popping out a cable then plugging it back in again. BTW, any file format can be read eventually; I'm willing to bet somebody has produced a tool that can read those recordings, if they're not just a standard codec in an AVI container. Nobody goes around inventing new AV file formats for the hell of it (apart from Microsoft).
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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneChucker View Post
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    I disagree. With a Philips DVD HD recorder, you can't record 2 different Sky digital channels at the same time AND watch another different recording. The Philips HDD DVD recorder is great, and when I buy my HDTV package in a couple of years (when HDTV is actually broadcast, and they don't pass off 720i as full HD, when 1080i is the top quality), I plan to get one. The Philips HDD recorder wouldn't do the job I purchased the MySky decoder to do, they're different devices for different uses.

    Ideally you'd have a Philip's HDD recorder connected to your MySky, that's what I plan to do... While you don't own the MySky decoder, once you've tried MySky, and are used to it, a standard Sky digital decoder seems really old and constrictive, and just doesn't cut the mustard...
    Good luck finding anything good on two of Sky's channels at the same time!
    I rarely find I need to watch something on two different channels, if ever I did its easier to just set the recorder up to record it when Sky repeats it again later that night........very very rare though.

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    Haha - seriously!

    Quote Originally Posted by SimJen View Post
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    Good luck finding anything good on two of Sky's channels at the same time!
    I rarely find I need to watch something on two different channels, if ever I did its easier to just set the recorder up to record it when Sky repeats it again later that night........very very rare though.
    *chuckles while he read that*
    I know, believe me I know It's quite pathetic really, most of the channels run on cyclic repeat schedules (the same program is on in less than 24 hrs, less that 12 on the new documentary channel).

    Still, the option is there. It's not with a standard HDD / DVD recorder (which I'm not knocking)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMelon View Post
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    Yeah I know a few people in nz with tivo's and they work sweet. Not too pricey either.
    Hey Melon, how does Tivo work with NZ tv? Can you use it on Sky's digital network in place of MySky? Or is it used like a HDD / DVD recorder? If so, MySky is the only decoder in NZ that functions in that particular way (hooked up to Sky digital, can record 2 different digital channels while watching a recording).

    MySky isn't perfect mind you, you need to pull the power plug out every few days (5 to 10) to reset it (get rid of built up memory / cache maybe?). If you don't, you get recording errors occasionally, but mostly freezing and rebooting while fast forwarding. It's a "known issue".

    That's why I asked about Tivo, if you can use it in place of MySky, I might make the change.

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    If only SKy would open up the market so you only pay the subscription price then buy any machine you choose....like in the US and UK. Possibly getting a better machine than the MySky. Sky are pretty lax with their systems anyway, the standard decoders are slow and buggy despite promises after changing layouts that they would be sorted quickly.

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