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Transfer Sky Recordings into a new format.

Chalk Da Bomb

Standard Member
Hi Guys, new poster - be kind...

In a nut shell, I've been through the net trying to find an answer but nothing concrete i can find!

In short, I've 2 Sky boxes with HDD full of recordings (free to air and premium channels). I no longer have a Sky subscription - therefore can not watch the recordings (cheeky gits), i do want to get into a discussion if this is ethically right or wrong on mine or their part, ok, i just want to extract from those HDD's the files (which are in caddies now) & transfer them into another format (AVI ?) & use them via a USB stick in the tele's in the house.

I gather that the 'free to view' channel recordings can be done (not tried yet though - nor have any software) but the recordings from channels such as movies/sports can not, i find this hard to believe in this day and age though, can it be done and what software Etc. is needed?

I've used and ran the Copy+ software before when upgrading HDD's in Sky Boxes, they mention on their site of another bit of software (Extract) but it looks that that website is now down in respect for downloads - not sure if the Extract software was actually what i was after mind.

Is their any format changing software out there, with every tele under the sun now having a USB socket in - i just want to use them and play old recordings from my boxes that i have but don't, if you know what i mean...

:lease:
 

kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
Dunno about the free stuff but the premium recordings really cannot be converted. Even if they could you couldn't talk about it here as it would mean breaking Sky UKs encryption, and if that was that easy there'd be more interesting things being done with it... :D

You got what you signed up for unfortunately...
 

Chalk Da Bomb

Standard Member
Okay, I've downloaded and set up ExPVR...

I get the idea that this will do what i need, however the programmer has fallen short of adding the part to enable the 'premium recordings' to work, but has put in the links to 'plugins' to enable it in the software.

I've had a look at it but ill be honest, its above my station in abilities really, if i manage it alone it would be through more luck then judgment - has anyone done it before and what exactly do i need to do to enable it...

I understand that this may be a bit close to the bone, so ill tone it down - does annoy me that you pay such a premium to Sky & you cant watch those items back, such as this situation i find myself in (I own the HDD but not the contents Etc.).

Grrrrrrrrr
 
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961

Prominent Member
Anything on the forum on the web site
I suppose support from author only comes with purchase but only £15 as far as I see
 

davemurgatroyd2

Distinguished Member
Okay, I've downloaded and set up ExPVR...

I get the idea that this will do what i need, however the programmer has fallen short of adding the part to enable the 'premium recordings' to work, but has put in the links to 'plugins' to enable it in the software.

I've had a look at it but ill be honest, its above my station in abilities really, if i manage it alone it would be through more luck then judgment - has anyone done it before and what exactly do i need to do to enable it...

I understand that this may be a bit close to the bone, so ill tone it down - does annoy me that you pay such a premium to Sky & you cant watch those items back, such as this situation i find myself in (I own the HDD but not the contents Etc.).

Grrrrrrrrr
You will not be able to do anything with any software or hardware to the subscription channel recordings without a valid subscription card other than copying them from disk to disk as you have been told above. I believe ExPVR will enable copying and viewing of FTA channels but nobody has yet broken Sky's encryption for the FTV and subscription channels. Unfortunately your subscription merely entitled you to view the recordings at the time is was valid - you never did "own" the recordings merely a licence (now expired) to view them and certainly not the right to archive them - that sort of right is limited to purchase of box DVD sets etc. You should have archived the material to other media before your subscription expired.

Note also that the active viewing card has to be the one used to make the recordings (for encrypted channels) as they are also encrypted to the viewing card details.
 
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kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
The next time you fancy recording subscription sat TV buy a proper satellite receiver that records unencrypted video. :D
 

Chalk Da Bomb

Standard Member
Thanks guys, I may get ahold of the programmer on the ExPVR software as you suggest via the forums...

However, I've about 400GB of 'free to view' recordings to convert first, i can confirm that the software works a treat & I've extracted then transformed the format to AVI (using another software), then popped on USB stick and tested it in tele/Xbox/Humax box & all works well, that and the PC too.

Ill do a bit more homework soon on the other bits, who knows...
 

961

Prominent Member
I understand that this may be a bit close to the bone, so ill tone it down - does annoy me that you pay such a premium to Sky & you cant watch those items back, such as this situation i find myself in (I own the HDD but not the contents Etc.).

You've hit the nail on the head. You don't own the contents, merely the right to view them while you continue to pay to access them. I can't see why you find that unfair

What I would say is that much (most?) of the material you are talking about is available to buy on dvd/bluray etc. One of the reasons sky is able to show it at all is that the copyright owner knows customers aren't able to make copies

Many dvds I own end up being transmitted on sky. I've no real objection to that.
 

961

Prominent Member
Note also that the active viewing card has to be the one used to make the recordings (for encrypted channels) as they are also encrypted to the viewing card details.

Is it safe to assume that when sky issue new cards, which happens from time to time, that they arrange for the new card to continue to access all recordings?
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
The recordings are encrypted on the hard drive - it is called secondary encryption.
You will need a subscription to access them.
 

Chalk Da Bomb

Standard Member
We do, trust us :D

Fair play, I've enough on my plate with the 'free to view' recordings TBH. I shall just keep an ear out as time goes by for the other stuff.

I', quite please with the fact i can transfer at least some of the contents without issue, really quite simply too.

Thanks again for your help, my weekend can now begin - being pulled away from the PC!
 

Chalk Da Bomb

Standard Member
Not a hope in hell it would seem...

MPEG-TS is a system for chopping up various streams of data into small bits (188 byte bits to be exact!) and mixing them together so they can be sent over a broadcast system (e.g. satellite). If you where to tune into one of the frequency bands being sent from one of the Sky satellites and demodulated it you would get back a stream of 188 byte transport stream packets. Each packet has an ID defining what stream it corresponds to (e.g. an id of 10 could mean 'video data for BBC1', while 20 could be 'Audio Data for BBC2').

The STR files on the Sky+ hard drive are just the audio and video TS packets from the channel you where recording. It is the data contained in these TS packets that is encrypted. Now this encryption is not VideoGuard, the packet data is encrypted using Common Scrambling Algorithm (CSA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Scr ... _Algorithm), which is used by most digital broadcasters. CSA encryption can easily be reversed (there is software readily available to decrypt it) but you have to know the code word that was initially used during the encryption.

The code word (which changes every few seconds) is send as another type of packet in the transport stream. It is however sent in an encrypted form (using VideoGuard, which as Avoriaz says, is a completely secret algorithm) so must be decrypted by the viewing card.

Sky+ complicates this a bit more. When a recording is made the encrypted code words are not saved (unless you have a very old Sky+ box). The box instead sends the encrypted code words to the card and 'asks' it to re-encrypt them. The card then sends back a code word which can only be decrypted by that specific card (this is why you have to have the same viewing card that you used to record). This transformed encrypted code word is then saved in the recording meta data (the XM* files on the hard disk).

What all this means is that you need to be able to 'talk' to the card in order to decrypt the code words needed to decrypt the video / audio streams and I do not think this is something that Sky would particularly be fond of. I am also not sure of the legal implications of doing something like that. Additionally, any existing software which can do this will not work due to the encrypted code words not being saved inside the transport stream (the ECMs are actually there but most of each packet is overwritten with 0xFF).


As for the plugin system, ExPVR just sends the encrypted code word to the plugin and the plugin would (somehow) have to send a decrypted one back.
 

961

Prominent Member
Not a hope in hell it would seem...

Your report about how it works I find interesting. However, the history needs to be recorded as well

Whatever your view of Rupert Murdoch he put up a whole load of his own dosh to set up Sky and very nearly went bust in the process

Before he started there were 4 channels. Any sport was poorly presented. For example, a tennis match was often shown one (edited) set at a time throughout an afternoon, interspersed with live horse races every 30 or 40 minutes

He has also enabled modern movies to be shown in the home. Pop concerts, Golf from America. And so on

In the early days he was confronted by those who wanted to watch his programmes without paying. Hackers regularly cracked the sky card which had to be re-issued, often frequently, to protect the copyright of the stuff he had bought. He paid the guys who, eventually, created the encryption you describe, which has enabled him to transmit stuff into my home which I would never be able to watch without him being able to guarantee to the copyright owner that "free" copies could not be made

I'm all for complaining to sky about certain of their terms and conditions but sky has transformed what we can watch, particularly sport and films, from start to finish. And it has influenced the BBC and others to emulate them

Virtually all the stuff you cannot copy from your sky box is available on dvd or bluray for you to buy. You have the added ability of being able to watch it, over and over again, while you maintain your sky subscription

Without these restrictions on the ability to copy none of us would be able to enjoy this stuff

As you say, all the free stuff can be downloaded without restriction
 

Stevenage Neil

Distinguished Member
In short, I've 2 Sky boxes with HDD full of recordings (free to air and premium channels). I no longer have a Sky subscription - therefore can not watch the recordings (cheeky gits)

It's painfully simple - as has been cited on here many times - your Sky subscription is a software licence to be able to de-crypt encoded recordings at the time of viewing. (Without a Movie subscription you can still record a movie but cannot watch it until you subscribe)

Anyone, at anytime can record anything, however if you do not have a valid subscription, at the time you want to view it, you can't view it

What's the problem?.
 
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mrmt32

Established Member
Not a hope in hell it would seem...

MPEG-TS is a system for chopping up various streams of data into small bits (188 byte bits to be exact!) and mixing them together so they can be sent over a broadcast system (e.g. satellite). If you where to tune into one of the frequency bands being sent from one of the Sky satellites and demodulated it you would get back a stream of 188 byte transport stream packets. Each packet has an ID defining what stream it corresponds to (e.g. an id of 10 could mean 'video data for BBC1', while 20 could be 'Audio Data for BBC2')....

I wrote that a while ago, but the details are still true. There is no supported way to convert the encrypted recordings; the only way to decrypt them is with a viewing card and something that could interface with it (e.g. an official receiver when you playback a recording). Additionally, the card will have to have the correct entitlements (subscriptions), otherwise it will just refuse to decrypt the TECMs. In your case, it definitely will not have these entitlements as you have canceled your subscription. Unfortunately this does mean that there is no way to to get access to those recordings.
 

kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
Hackers regularly cracked the sky card which had to be re-issued, often frequently, to protect the copyright of the stuff he had bought. He paid the guys who, eventually, created the encryption you describe

Then in their spare time they set about hacking the encryption of their main rival... :D
 

geogan

Prominent Member
I understand the restrictions and the reasons for them but they are really to stop people copying entire movies and re-distributing them for profit or such.

All I want to do mostly is record small little clips from some TV programmes - not the entire episodes. So the argument that people use that anything you want to record is available on DVD/Bluray is not true.

I wanted to archive some clips from some original Sky programmes that are NOT available to buy/download even in SD resolution never mind HD.

Could they not put in a feature to allow so-many minutes (like 5 minutes) to be allowed decrypt/export per programme/per day or something that would allow clips to be saved?

I also find it very annoying that certain channels such as here in Ireland the main TV channels RTE1 and RTE2 are encrypted on Sky so can't extract recordings but at the same time they are available on free-to-air in HD and can be saved unencrypted to external HD.

I have Sky+HD DRX890 box downstairs completely restricted while at the same time connected to the same Sky+ dish is a dual Freesat/Saorview cheap reciever upstairs that I have to use to record the programmes I want to keep clips of.

So I literally have to record the same things on both boxes simultaneously (viewing it downstairs and upstairs so I can archive clips later if needed)
 

simon194

Prominent Member
In the early days he was confronted by those who wanted to watch his programmes without paying. Hackers regularly cracked the sky card which had to be re-issued, often frequently, to protect the copyright of the stuff he had bought.
NDS did a pretty good job making Videocrypt more secure towards the end of analogue Sky. I can't remember offhand whether the final card was cracked or not but it did take longer on each card change for the hackers to get the codes out.

Then in their spare time they set about hacking the encryption of their main rival... :D
The infamous 2003 court action filed against NDS by EchoStar and the Kudelski Group which NDS finally won two years ago and were awarded almost $19m in damages.
 

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