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Permalink to this day Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I didn't write this article, Greg Edwards did, but I wanted to post it now because I'm getting emails about set top box channel changing problems and want you all to have a happy set top box experience so knock yourself out!
Title: The Media Center remote control does not change channels properly.


Even after learning your set-top box remote control, the Media Center remote control does not change channels properly.


Media Center may have misjudged the speed of your set-top box’s remote control, and therefore your Media Center remote may be sending signals incorrectly.


  • Using your keyboard, press WINDOWS + R.
  • In the “Run” box that appears, type “regedit,” and click OK.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Video\Tuners
  • Look in subfolders whose names are in curly brackets and contain a bunch of random numbers and letters until you find the UserSettings folder. (There may be multiple folders with this name.)
  • Click on UserSettings, and open the “STBCode” file on the right-hand side of the window. (If this file does not exist, go back to Step 4.
  • Try changing the number contained after the <keyinterval> tag to 100, 175, and 250. Each time, close out of the registry, restart your system, and try your remote to see if it works normally.
    • If you have a Scientific Atlanta 8600 set-top box, change the numbers after the , , and tags to 100, 100, and 400, respectively.
    • If you have a General Instruments DCT 2244 set-top box, change the numbers after the <keyinterval>, <keyduration>, and <channelpause> tags to 1000, 300, and 1200, respectively.

If you want to tweak the numbers further, here is more detailed information:

The value of Key Duration is defined during set-top box setup. The other two registry entries are left blank by setup, and the values for Key Interval and Channel Pause are calculated in the following way:

Key Interval = Key Duration
Channel Pause = 2 * Key Duration

Key DurationKey Interval (Default)Channel Pause (Default)

If XXX for Key Interval and YYY for Channel Pause are replaced with numeric values, they are used instead of the defaults.

If your box seems to be dropping digits, try a longer Key Duration. If that doesn’t help or doesn’t fully solve the problem, try a longer Key Interval.

If the box is mixing digits from the previous channel change into the current one, try adding to the Channel Pause, and then Key Interval values.

NOTE: all values are in milliseconds, were 1 millisecond is 1/1000 of a second.

Repro Steps:

  • During TV set-up, use IR learning on the remote controls of certain set-top boxes, such as Scientific Atlanta 8600 or General Instruments DCT 2244.
  • While watching television, try to change the channel with your Media Center remote control. It may not change properly.

6:52:38 PM  Permalink to this item []

Yahoo, Blockbuster Plans to End Late Fees in 2005:
Blockbuster Inc., the nation's biggest movie rental company, says it will eliminate late fees on games and movies as of Jan. 1 — but if you keep them too long, you buy them.

Wow. But certainly not surprising given the pressure of their own unlimited rental program as well as Netflix. Some things to think about:

  • How will this affect 'indie' video rental stores? (i.e. My local Broadway Video) Will they adopt this model? Can they even adopt this model? Often they have way less copies of a movie then Blockbuster does and I imagine their distribution network isn't as efficient as Blockbuster's for re-supplying.
  • How will this affect video on demand pricing and 'rental periods' from companies like Cinema Now and Movielink? While VOD does not have late fees, they need to be competitive with the offline model. If this means Blockbuster rentals are $5 for 30 days, paying $5 to be able to watch a movie in a 24 hour period is not very appealing.
  • Will the price that Blockbuster charges for a purchase when you don't return it be competitive with Walmart/Amazon/

4:49:01 PM  Permalink to this item []

Tim emailed me asking the following:
Are you aware of any 3rd party software out there whereby I can achieve the following??

  • With remote, I can receive a call... hear through speakers and talk via a microphone
  • Use CallerID with a contact list that will not only show the number (only shows # now) but also their name and photo...
We do not have this functionality in Media Center 2005 but perhaps one of my readers knows of a 3rd party application that could be used to achieve the above?
4:39:18 PM  Permalink to this item []

© Copyright 2005 Matt Goyer.
I work at Microsoft in the eHome division on the Windows XP Media Center Edition team as a Program Manager.

Disclaimer: The posts on this weblog are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confer no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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Updated: 4/11/2005; 10:30:33 PM.