Charter Digital Television Conversion
San Luis Obispo - July-August 2014

Updated 11/04/2014

In July 2014, Charter San Luis Obispo converted to all encrypted digital with Local Broadcast Channels set to Copy Once on their CableCard (in violation of federal law - should be Copy Freely) making local network channels not recordable on a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). But good news, Charter has now (as of 11/3/2014) changed the broadcast, basic, expanded basic tiers to Copy-Freely (essentially digital with no DRM). Details of my experience and ultimately, happiness is detailed below. My fingers are crossed that my CableCard settings will never revert back during some system upgrade, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I'm a geek and like to play with computer toys. So, of course, I built my own DVR (digital video recorder) rather than rent one from Charter Cable. In the past, all broadcast, basic, and expanded cable channels on Charter were analog and unencrypted, so I built the DVR using a PC with a Hauppauge 1600 tuner card and SageTV software. Life was good until the Charter digital conversion in July 2014.

The Charter digital conversion in San Luis Obispo County occurred in 3 phases - July 22nd for Paso Robles/Atascadero, July 29th for Grover Beach/Morro Bay, and Aug 5th for San Luis Obispo. After conversion, all channels are digital and encrypted -- it's the encrypted part that makes it difficult. So now it was time to learn all about CableCard. After a little Google Search, it became obvious that one of the top products for using CableCard to record television with SageTV is the Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime ($130). I immediately purchased one and picked up a CableCard (with tuning adaptor for the switched digital video) from Charter ($2/month). Of course there were problems getting it working but finally after numerous calls to Charter and lots of emails to SiliconDust, it was working and I was ready for a channel scan.

After finally getting card validation between the HDHomeRun and the CableCard, I was ready to push the button for a channel scan. And I was very disappointed with the results. More than half of the broadcast/basic/expanded channels are marked with copy protection (Copy-Once) and therefore not recordable. All of the local broadcast channels are copy protected (Copy-Once) which are required by federal law to be free to copy. A complete channel lineup with copy protection status is shown below - this is a full list of all channels allowed by my cablecard and not a full list of channels available on our Charter system. All this means that there are very view options for recording shows -- Charter DVR (at $22 monhly fee), TIVO (typically $15 monthly fee after TIVO purchase), Windows Media Center PC with HDCP. Copy-once still allows recording on a fully compliant HDCP solution but any home-built DVR (SageTV, MythTV, etc) is not and therefore the only channel setting that can easily be recorded and watched is "Copy-Freely".

My reason for this page is to share my experience and information with others and also hopefully convince Charter to change the copy protection for at least the local broadcast channels in San Luis Obispo County. It is my understanding that the FCC order specified that over-the-air broadcast television channels must be set to be Copy Freely (no DRM). And maybe Charter will even relax some of the other channels as well. As you can see in this copy protection list, Charter historically does not protect/restrict most channels except for their Premium Content. I have heard that typically the channel flags are set by local administrators based on corporate direction. Please review the SLO channel list below and help me better understand the logic in their copy protection settings (if you can see some logic that I missed). I do not understand and hope that it was not well thought out by Charter. Please email me ( ) with your opinions or ideas on how best to proceed -- I will keep updating this page as I get more info from others.

I have asked Charter level 1 tech support for assistance but beyond reprovisioning the cablecard, they appear to have little or no control. A recent phone tech admitted that he gets about one cablecard call per month and my only recourse is to escalate. I tried escalating and was told that all DRM settings are set by the network provider and not within the control of Charter. I asked if there could have been a programming error when they provisioned our digital conversion and she just repeated her statement that it was beyond her control and scope. Running out of options, I then submitted a complaint to the FCC and just last week received a phone call from a very supportive Escalation Assistant at the Charter Executive Offices who stated that she agreed that the channels did not seem properly configured and was referring the case to a local Charter Regional Executive. I have not yet heard from him but am hopeful that he will help --- we'll see and I'll let you know. Also I'm planning to contact the engineer at our local television station (KSBY) to see if he can assist or explain how this entire process occurs. The site to file a FCC complaint is

Today (November 3, 2014), I ran another channel scan (like I've done many times) and great news, all of my channels (remember I only have basic, expanded basic, and high def) are now DRM-Free copy-freely (with the exception of TV LAND which is OK with me). Since I don't have any of the Silver or Gold tiers or Sports packages I can't attest to how they work but I'm ecstatic and pleased with my setup now. The updated lineup details are shown below with the addition of the "DRM (now)" column.

Thank you Charter !

2PUBLI Copy-OncenoneWhy would the Public Access
Channel have DRM ?
3KEYT BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
4KSBY BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
5KSBYC BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
7QVC Copy-OncenoneA Shopping Channel would
not want DRM !
8KQED BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
9KCAL BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
10CHRT Copy-Oncenone
11KKFX BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
12KCOY BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
13MYTV Copy-Oncenone
15HSN Copy-Oncenone
16KPMR BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
17KTAS BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
19EDU Copy-Oncenone
20CITY nonenone
21PEG Copy-Oncenone
22KSBO BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
24TWCS nonenone
25TWCD nonenone
26KTSB BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
27LIFE nonenone
28A&E Copy-OncenoneBut A&E HD is Copy-Freely ???
29TDC Copy-OncenoneBut DSC HD is Copy-Freely ???
30TLC nonenone
31HIST nonenone
32TBS nonenone
33TNT nonenone
34USA nonenone
35ESPN nonenone
36ESPN2 nonenone
37FSWST Copy-Oncenone
38FSNPT Copy-Oncenone
39TWC Copy-Oncenone
40CNN Copy-OncenoneBut CNN HD is Copy-Freely ???
41HLN Copy-OncenoneBut HeadlineNews HD is Copy-Freely ?
42CNBC Copy-Oncenone
43MSNBC Copy-Oncenone
44FNC Copy-Oncenone
45FAM Copy-Oncenone
46DISNY Copy-Oncenone
47ANIML Copy-Oncenone
48TRAVL Copy-Oncenone
49TOON Copy-Oncenone
50NICK nonenone
51SPIKE Copy-Oncenone
52STYLE Copy-Oncenone
53OWN nonenone
54E! Copy-Oncenone
55HGTV nonenone
56FOOD nonenone
57MTV2W Copy-Oncenone
58CMDY Copy-Oncenone
59FXX nonenone
60VH-1 Copy-Oncenone
61MTV Copy-Oncenone
62TCM Copy-Oncenone
63AMC Copy-OncenoneBut AMC HD is Copy-Freely ???
64SYFY nonenone
65INDIS nonenone
66BRAVO Copy-Oncenone
67NBCSP nonenone
70FX nonenone
71NGC nonenone
72TRUTV Copy-Oncenone
73TVLND nonenone
74GOLF nonenone
75MLB nonenone
80SHPHQ nonenone
81GSN nonenone
82DISXD nonenone
83BET nonenone
84CMT Copy-Oncenone
85ION Copy-Oncenone
86JWLRY Copy-OncenoneJewelry Shopping Channel
would not want DRM
87HALL Copy-OncenoneBut Hallmark HD is Copy-Freely ?
89OXYGN Copy-Oncenone
91CSPN2 Copy-OncenoneBut CSPN3 is Copy-Freely -
why inconsistant?
92CSPN3 nonenone
93CSPN1 Copy-Oncenone
94FBN nonenone
97TBN Copy-Oncenone
99INSP Copy-Oncenone
101EWTN Copy-Oncenone
103TVGUI Copy-Oncenone
118OWN nonenone
119JWLRY Copy-Oncenone
127FBN nonenone
131TVLND nonenone
138INDIS nonenone
141ESQTV Copy-Oncenone
154CMT Copy-Oncenone
155VH-1 Copy-Oncenone
171INSP Copy-Oncenone
177CAL Copy-Oncenone
178LOCAL Copy-Oncenone
182PUBLI Copy-Oncenone
183CITY nonenone
184PEG Copy-Oncenone
185EDU Copy-Oncenone
188CHTRC nonenone
192KCET BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
195VME Copy-Oncenone
231DISXD nonenone
232TOON Copy-Oncenone
233VME Copy-Oncenone
240KSBO BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
257TWCD nonenone
296KPMR BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
297KTAS BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
411NBCSP nonenone
412GOLF nonenone
413MLB nonenone
418ESPN nonenone
419ESPN2 nonenone
420FSWST Copy-Oncenone
421FSNPT Copy-Oncenone
422SPEED nonenone
423TWCS nonenone
679NGCHD nonenone
681TRUHD nonenone
686GFHD nonenone
688TCMHD Copy-Oncenone
689ESQHD nonenone
691MTV2H nonenone
693GSNHD nonenone
695DISXH nonenone
712TBNHD nonenone
714JEWLH nonenone
715HDHSN Copy-Oncenone
724OWNHD nonenone
729SHQHD nonenone
735ESPNH nonenone
738BETHD nonenone
740NICKH nonenone
741OXGNH nonenone
742MTVHD nonenone
743VH-1H nonenone
744CMTHW nonenone
745LIFEH nonenone
746FAMHW nonenone
747FNCHD nonenone
748CNNHD nonenone
749HLNHD nonenone
750CNBCH Copy-Oncenone
751MSNBH Copy-Oncenone
752E!HD Copy-Oncenone
753SPKHD Copy-Oncenone
754TRVLH Copy-Oncenone
755SYFYH nonenone
756AMCHD nonenone
757TBSHD nonenone
758DISNH Copy-Oncenone
759SPDHD nonenone
760HGTVH nonenone
761FOODH nonenone
763WTHRH nonenone
764CMDYH Copy-Oncenone
765TLCHD nonenone
766ANPLH nonenone
767DCVHD nonenone
769PRIME Copy-Oncenone
772ESP2H nonenone
774FSWHD nonenone
775DTHHD nonenone
776TVLDH Copy-OnceCopy-Once
779CNHD nonenone
780CWHD Copy-Oncenone
781KKFXD BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
782KCOYD BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
783KEYTD BroadcastCopy-Oncenone
784KPMRH Broadcastnonenone
785HDQVC Copy-Oncenone
786KSBYD Copy-Oncenone
787TWCSH nonenone
788TWCDH nonenone
789KQEDH Broadcastnonenone
790KTASH Broadcastnonenone
792TNTHD nonenone
795A&EHD nonenone
796HISTH nonenone
798HLMKH nonenone
803TVGDH nonenone
810USAHD nonenone
812FXHD nonenone
827FBNHD nonenone
829MLBHD nonenone
835NBCSH nonenone
838IDHD nonenone
849BRVHD nonenone
856FXXHD nonenone
860EWTNH nonenone
865INSPH nonenone
881CSPNH nonenone
882CSP2H nonenone
883CSP3H nonenone
890UMASH nonenone
892CNHD nonenone
893DISXH nonenone
903MC01 Copy-OncenoneMusic Choice - makes sense
that these might have DRM
904MC02 Copy-Oncenone
905MC03 Copy-Oncenone
906MC04 Copy-Oncenone
907MC05 Copy-Oncenone
908MC06 Copy-Oncenone
909MC07 Copy-Oncenone
910MC08 Copy-Oncenone
911MC09 Copy-Oncenone
912MC10 Copy-Oncenone
913MC11 Copy-Oncenone
914MC12 Copy-Oncenone
915MC13 Copy-Oncenone
916MC14 Copy-Oncenone
917MC15 Copy-Oncenone
918MC16 Copy-Oncenone
919MC17 Copy-Oncenone
920MC18 Copy-Oncenone
921MC19 Copy-Oncenone
922MC21 Copy-Oncenone
923MC22 Copy-Oncenone
924MC23 Copy-Oncenone
925MC24 Copy-Oncenone
926MC25 Copy-Oncenone
927MC26 Copy-Oncenone
928MC27 Copy-Oncenone
929MC28 Copy-Oncenone
930MC29 Copy-Oncenone
931MC30 Copy-Oncenone
932MC31 Copy-Oncenone
933MC32 Copy-Oncenone
934MC33 Copy-Oncenone
935MC34 Copy-Oncenone
936MC35 Copy-Oncenone
937MC36 Copy-Oncenone
938MC37 Copy-Oncenone
939MC38 Copy-Oncenone
940MC39 Copy-Oncenone
942MC43 Copy-Oncenone
943MC44 Copy-Oncenone
944MC45 Copy-Oncenone
945MC46 Copy-Oncenone
946MC47 Copy-Oncenone
947MC48 Copy-Oncenone
948MC50 Copy-Oncenone
950PPVB nonenone
none = Copy-Freely

1.   CableCard - Wikipedia
2.   Copy Control Information - Wikipedia
3.   Charter - Digital Copy Control of TV Programming
4.   Charter Copy Protection by City
5.   Charter - CableCARD Reference and Troubleshooting
6.   Consumer Affairs - Charter
7.   HDHomeRun Prime
8.   FCC Plug and Play agreement
9.   FCC CableCard "Know Your Rights"
10. FCC Complaints
11. DSLReports Forum With Similar Complaints

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Updated 11/04/2014