Multiple Prof Cards on the same PC

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zamar23

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Feb 5, 2009
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Multiple Prof Tuners on the same PC

The advice received from Prof tech support on using two or more Prof PCI, PCI-e or USB tuner devices of the same model simultaneously in Windows (XP SP3 suggested for testing) with Prof BDA-Driver:

- install first Prof card into a motherboard slot or connect to a PC's USB port, and install its driver
- duplicate the card's BDA driver under a new name in its installation directory (usually C:\Windows\System32\Drivers)
- correct the driver file name in its .inf file located in .inf files depository (usually C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository)
- install second Prof card, reboot the PC and point Windows "Add New Hardware" Wizard to the edited .inf file to install second driver
- find available and change IRQ Interrupt Request number for the 2-nd card in Device Manager making it different from the 1-st card
- run both cards with AltDVB, DVBDream or ProgDVB to watch 2 different Sat TV channels simultaneously

Some points above may need correction or details. Anyone wants to check the validity of this method and add some beef to it in terms of details or a Picture Tutorial?
 
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pendragon

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Oct 13, 2008
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I guess evil minds think alike. I just sent three problem reports to Prof support, including one on this subject. You are a step ahead of me, but I do have two 7301 and two 7500 units to test. Perhaps when I have a moment I can try this out and add details if necessary. Thanks for the information!
 

zamar23

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Feb 5, 2009
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You're still ahead when it comes to get these things done. Having hardware around is always handy. Don't expect regular Prof support staff to be extremely helpful though. :)
 

pendragon

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Oct 13, 2008
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Don't expect regular Prof support staff to be extremely helpful though. :)

You're not kidding. I've sent several rounds of support requests and only got one response back. Today I sent three emails to "support at ..." and got three bounces back. It might have gotten delivered but their mail server got into a SMTP loop. So I tried sending the same three emails to "dong at ..." because that was the address shown for the delivery when their mail server looped. I got three more bounces back.

Do you have a better access? One of my problems is fairly serious in that both of my 7500 units hang DVB Dream every few hours, requiring the USB box to be power reset. The 7301 units work fine.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
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Support requests are routed depending on language used. Don't expect loaded questions to be answered any time soon from the address you used. The above Prof cards and drivers were developed in Russia. Design is pretty good, and they're manufacturer by HK Tenow, where TBS and some other brands are made, hence production quality is good. "Limited" English support is provided by CN office, as you found. AltDVB is recommended and fully supported. Check your PM. :)
 
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pendragon

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Oct 13, 2008
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Thanks, I've sent a PM to you. I've thought of trying AltDVB for some time and may give it a go. At the moment I'm somewhat restricted to using DVB Dream and My Theatre on my production media server because those apps have plug-ins that make them network encoders for SageTV. I also use DVB Viewer sometimes and I believe it has a Sage encoder, too, but I haven't tried the latter.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
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Regarding your problem with Prof USB 7500 card, one of explanations is that occasional errors in channel PID typical for feeds cause some MS filters in the card's BDA driver created graph to hang, resulting in DVBDream hang. Another reason may be defective card power supply, but I doubt this. My suggestion is to wait for a more mature Windows BDA driver. Its a known issue in Win XP, and it doesn't seems to show up for Prof USB tuners in Windows Vista or 7, based on available stats.

Its also suggested to use ProgDVB with multiple sat. tuner devices of different manufacturers, including Prof cards, installed in one PC. There may be also a resource conflict, curable by changing IRQ number for one of the devices with the same IRQ, or changing sequence of PCI slots they occupy, or using other similar techniques to change IRQ number assigned to a device by MoBo BIOS or Windows.
 
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pendragon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 13, 2008
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Regarding your problem with Prof USB 7500 card, one of explanations is that occasional errors in channel PID typical for feeds cause some MS filters in the card's BDA driver created graph to hang, resulting in DVBDream hang. Another reason may be defective card power supply, but I doubt this. My suggestion is to wait for a more mature Windows BDA driver. Its a known issue in Win XP, and it doesn't seems to show up for Prof USB tuners in Windows Vista or 7, based on available stats.

This problem happens with two of my 7500 tuners (USB) but not with the 7301 tuners (PCI) on the same machine/feed. In DVB Dream I can disable the codecs and tell it to go into "Renderless Mode" and the problem still happens. So there is no graph created. If I look at the crash dump, it appears as though DVB Dream is trying to query the tuner status when it hangs. The tuner itself is completely locked - unplugging and replugging the USB does not reset it. I have to pull the 7500 power to get it back.

Its also suggested to use ProgDVB with multiple sat. tuner devices of different manufacturers, including Prof cards, installed in one PC. There may be also a resource conflict, curable by changing IRQ number for one of the devices with the same IRQ, or changing sequence of PCI slots they occupied, or using other similar techniques to change IRQ number assigned to a device by MoBo BIOS or Windows.

Unfortunately neither ProgDVB nor AltDVB have the necessary plug-ins to serve as network encoders for SageTV. DVB Dream, My Theatre and DVB Viewer can do that part. I think the problem with DVB Dream is in Prof's bda.dev module for DVB Dream. The crash dump shows the problem is in that code. DVB Viewer works fine with the identical Prof and other units that cause DVB Dream to fail.
 

pendragon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 13, 2008
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The advice received from Prof tech support on using two or more Prof PCI, PCI-e or USB tuner devices of the same model simultaneously in Windows (XP SP3 suggested for testing) with Prof BDA-Driver:

- install first Prof card into a motherboard slot or connect to a PC's USB port, and install its driver
- duplicate the card's BDA driver under a new name in its installation directory (usually C:\Windows\System32\Drivers)
- correct the driver file name in its .inf file located in .inf files depository (usually C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository)
- install second Prof card, reboot the PC and point Windows "Add New Hardware" Wizard to the edited .inf file to install second driver
- find available and change IRQ Interrupt Request number for the 2-nd card in Device Manager making it different from the 1-st card
- run both cards with AltDVB, DVBDream or ProgDVB to watch 2 different Sat TV channels simultaneously

Some points above may need correction or details. Anyone wants to check the validity of this method and add some beef to it in terms of details or a Picture Tutorial?

I tried this with two 7500 USB units and didn't have any luck. Neither one would work. I also tried some further hacks to the .inf files and registry but never made any progress. There is no IRQ for USB units, and I'm concerned that both devices still have some indistinguishable parts in common with the OS. This was a XP SP2 system, so I currently have it updating to SP3 and will try again. I will also try two 7301s when I have a spare moment and can raid my Linux box.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
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It was said that DVBDream developer actively tests his program in co-operation with Prof. Your findings may help to fix the issue noted. It was also reported that a split second power interrupt to the tuner results in a similar hang while unnoticed. Instructions on running 2 cards at once appear incomplete, and Prof seems to consider details know-how due to hidden complexity of such driver solution as found elsewhere (I guess in TT and TeVii). Can you try to test Prof 7500 performance with DVBDream using BDA driver from Prof website, not CD, as versions appear different, possibly due to assignments split. They overall seems to be a little behind on the USB driver, it'll all sort out over time.

Not sure what you're running on Linux, if all your TV stuff runs out of XP box? :)
 

pendragon

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Oct 13, 2008
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It was said that DVBDream developer actively tests his program in co-operation with Prof. Your findings may help to fix the issue noted. It was also reported that a split second power interrupt to the tuner results in a similar hang while unnoticed.

I rather doubt there is a power glitch issue, because the two machines I'm testing with are next to each other and I simply move the USB cord from one to another. DVB Dream with the 7500s has problems on the XP machine, but DVB Viewer with the same 7500s work fine on the Vista machine. I'd try DVB Dream on the Vista machine, but I'm running some DVB World tuners there and don't want to keep uninstalling/reinstalling the DVB World software to get the Prof units to work with DVB Dream (my two issues are coupled).

Instructions on running 2 cards at once appear incomplete, and Prof seems to consider details know-how due to hidden complexity of such driver solution as found elsewhere (I guess in TT and TeVii). Can you try to test Prof 7500 performance with DVBDream using BDA driver from Prof website, not CD, as versions appear different, possibly due to assignments split. They overall seems to be a little behind on the USB driver, it'll all sort out over time.

I basically agree. I've tried all the drivers, but not all combinations. For some reason the CD appeared to have a later version for the USB driver than the website, so I've focused more on that one.

Not sure what you're running on Linux, if all your TV stuff runs out of XP box? :)

Yeah, if Windows only worked as well as I want. All my file servers are on Linux, but Sage support for Linux isn't perfect. There are a bunch of problems caused by the complexity of my dish and switch setup that stress the Windows apps to the limit. I'm writing code on Linux to replace them, but it's not going to be complete any time soon. So Windows is a necessary short term evil (solution) that I hope to supplant with Linux in the next year or so.

In particular with the Prof units, I would love to see a Windows and/or Linux blindscanning capability, but for reasons you have noted, this is largely being driven by the North American market and that is a small motivation for overseas developers. I am not happy with the STB blindscan options and would like to see some real high-speed scanning for my feed searching. I have over 20 LNBs on my toroids that my tuners can switch in a heartbeat to all of the NA Ku birds. I don't have that many C-band dishes, but still enough to keep a bank of blindscanning units busy. As there has been little announced as to if or when any commercial solution will be available, I'm considering putting some time into Linux where I want to be in the end.

It's possible that some of this discussion should continue in the main Prof thread so future readers are more likely to uncover it.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
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Mid West
Would you consider trying Windows 7 with Prof cards and see if same problem persists with DVBDream? Its a joint issue with DVBDream developer to make sure his program works with new Prof tuners. It may help to post your concern on DVBDream forum he moderates, where its reported hanging quite often. He hasn't updated the program since June 2008, it doesn't give much confidence.

With your comprehensive dish setup you may want to start collecting signals from the Moon. :)
 
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pendragon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 13, 2008
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Would you consider trying Windows 7 with Prof cards and see if same problem persists with DVBDream? Its a joint issue with DVBDream developer to make sure his program works with new Prof tuners. He haven't updated it since June 2008, it doesn't give much confidence.

I'm overwhelmed with crunch projects at work that make any time I have left over rather precious. So far Windows 7 hasn't made the list. I'm pretty cautious about upgrading OSes after living with them for 40+ years, and we have more than 30 computers to maintain. After months of testing and prototyping I moved my very stable Sage server on XP to Vista this past January. It didn't crash, but there were all sorts of little problems that kept coming up. Weird performance hits that would disrupt time-critical tasks, app features that didn't work, bugs in drivers, etc.

I tracked down most of these but the bandwidth for reliable backplane transfers never got up to XP levels. I then upgraded the motherboard and the processor, to little benefit. Countless hours were wasted. Finally in August I had enough and went back to XP. Life is good and all the hardware and software that I knew would never work on Vista is again fully functional, and the new motherboard/CPU are screaming. Even with all the pleasant cooing going around in µSoft land, I find it hard to believe that 7 will be a simple upgrade. Even if the Prof cards worked perfectly on that, I don't think I could convert the rest to make it worthwhile.

I'm hoping that I'm not the last person left on earth not using Windows 7 :)
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
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DVBDream 1.4i doesn't give much confidence with new tuners and chipsets, and Prof 7500 isn't listed supported yet. You may want to try DVBDream 1.5.7b as more stable and advanced than 1.4i with new Prof tuner series. Can you try it with Prof 7500 to see any difference?
 
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pendragon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 13, 2008
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DVBDream 1.4i doesn't give much confidence with new tuners and chipsets, and Prof 7500 isn't listed supported yet. Its suggested to use DVBDream 1.5.7b as more stable and advanced than 1.4i with new Prof tuner series. Can you try it with Prof 7500 to see any difference?

Actually 1.4i supports a lot more tuners than are on the list, but I already have the beta installed and it's easy to move back and forth because the transponder/channel lists are portable. So I just brought up the beta running a 7500 with all the codecs turned off and renderless mode turned on. That should prevent any graphs from being created. We'll see how it does overnight.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
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Talking about DVBDream, its cited on its beta forum:
"Microsoft DID NOT transfer any DiSEqC-commands via Window's-BDA-System ! ! !

This must be done by a turnaround in directly 'talking' to the driver ! ! !

If you may own a TwinHan-Card (e.g. 1041) it may work with my BDA_ALL because i implemented the whole IO-CTRL-Interface to handle DiSEqC, CI/CAM, remote and more.
Also DiSEqC 1.2 is possible with that Device-Interface to steer a rotor.
But this all might work on a TwinHan-Card ! ! !

To implement same features and capability for Technotrend (and other same like OEM's) it is nessecary to implement the TT-API also as well. I need to have each OEM's SDK and implement it.

DD (and tools / modules / interfaces) is freeware and will be developed after work."

It seems that many issues are related to immature BDA-driver architecture implemented by MS so far. Some issues with 7500 may be resulting from DVBDream developer not having this tuner yet at hand. It may benefit the outcome, if you try XP SP3 and especially Win 7 with improved BDA support.

I've sent your report on DVBDream 1.4i issues to Prof, but I think resolving issues of this obsolete version is a dead cause. Pls post your findings with DVBDream 1.5.7b in DVBDream beta forum, and findings with DVBDream 1.4i in their regular forum, as their developer asks. Sure, it'll be fixed faster this way compare to resolving via Prof. Try running 2 sessions of DVBDream 1.5.7b to see, if it supports 2 identical Prof tuners this way. I "think", TeVii shown the pics of this version with their 2 tuners S660, which was posted in DVB World thread here, if it wasn't a bluff. :)

On DVBDream Forum there are user instructions on running "multiple instances" of DVBDream. As per Prof, multiple identical Prof cards with BDA-drivers should run simultaneously in this scenario without a problem, no mods required. Pls try. Can you also try 2 identical Prof tuners in ProgDVB or MyTheater to see if both show pics simultaneously.
 
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pendragon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 13, 2008
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It seems that many issues are related to immature BDA-driver architecture implemented by MS so far. Some issues with 7500 may be resulting from DVBDream developer not having this tuner yet at hand. It may benefit the outcome, if you try XP SP3 and especially Win 7 with improved BDA support.

My 7500 stability test has been running perfectly with DVB Dream 1.5.7b and XP SP3 for the past 14 hours. I can't prove a negative, but I am encouraged. It is hard to find anyone who would argue that Microsoft got the BDA architecture completely right. There are glaring omissions that clearly show a lack of understanding on their part. We will likely be dealing with hacks for quite some time in order to workaround these problems.

I've sent your report on DVBDream 1.4i issues to Prof, but I think resolving issues of this obsolete version is a dead cause. Pls post your findings with DVBDream 1.5.7b in DVBDream beta forum, and findings with DVBDream 1.4i in their regular forum, as their developer asks. Sure, it'll be fixed faster this way compare to resolving via Prof. Try running 2 sessions of DVBDream 1.5.7b to see, if it supports 2 identical Prof tuners this way. I "think", TeVii shown the pics of this version with their 2 tuners S660, which was posted in DVB World thread here, if it wasn't a bluff. :)

I already tried identical tuners a few days ago on 1.5.7b. I don't think this problem has anything to do with DVB Dream, as only one device shows up in it's BDA enumeration. It could be the problem is in Prof's bda.dev module for DVB Dream, but I had the same problem with the latest beta of My Theatre. A number of months back the DVB World drivers had the same issue. With the newer drivers one can now see two DVB World tuners listed and attach them to different copies of DVB Dream. They tune and command the two devices just fine. However only one DVB Dream can get a TS. The other tuner sends nothing. It seems DVB Dream can handle two identical BDA devices and TeVii may have figured out how to finish the job on the driver side. DVB World is getting close and Prof has a ways to go. Denial is normally the first step.

On DVBDream Forum there are user instructions on running "multiple instances" of DVBDream. As per Prof, multiple identical Prof cards with BDA-drivers should run simultaneously in this scenario without a problem, no mods required. Pls try. Can you also try 2 identical Prof tuners in ProgDVB or MyTheater to see if both show pics simultaneously.

I've been running multiple instances of DVB Dream for over a year, so I'm familiar with the drill. This is precisely the way I tested DVB Dream 1.4i and 1.5.7b last week with two 7301s and then two 7500s. Only one device shows up for selection. My Theatre had the identical problem but I only tried it once. I have received two emails today from Prof stating that two identical units will not work, but two different units will. That's what I've been seeing. I may try some other programs like DVB Viewer, AltDVB and ProgDVB with the instruction outline you posted if I get a chance, but this is beginning to look like a dead end.
 

pendragon

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Oct 13, 2008
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I took a few minutes of time out to see if I could get something to work with multiple Prof tuners. I brought my Windows machine to XP SP3 with all the latest updates. I plugged two 7301 PCI tuners (driver level 1.1.1.0) and two 7500 USB tuners (driver level 1.0.1.3) into the same machine. I can get one 7301 and one 7500 to work together, but that's it. Here are the gory details on the identical unit tests:


DVB Dream 1.5.7b:

Using the Prof bda.dev module, my BDA selection choices are limited to one 7301 and one 7500. Therefore I can't run any identical unit tests. DiSEqC 1.0 and 1.1 are correctly sent to my switches.

Using the bda.dev module that installs with DVB Dream, I can see two 7301 and two 7500 tuners interestingly enough. However only one of each works. With the 7301 I can't get a reliable lock on the second unit and with the second 7500 DVB Dream crashes the moment I select it. This bda module is unable to send any DiSEqC commands, which is the reason the other exists.


My Theatre 4.00b11

My Theatre sees four tuners, but only the first of each type works. With the second 7301, the levels bounce all over the place and nothing seems to lock. If I select the second 7500, the system reboots when I bring up MT again (this is the only way to switch to a different tuner). It did not seem that DiSEqC commands were being sent properly as I could only connect to my default dish.


AltDVB 2.2b3912

AltDVB only saw one 7301 and 7500 and I could not test identical units. There is a Prof bda module for this program, just like DVB Dream, and it probably isn't surprising that they behave the same. I have never used this program before, but I did not see a way to command two cascaded DiSEqC switches (1.1 followed by 1.0). Therefore I didn't test the DiSEqC commanding.


ProgDVB 6.2.3

This program behaved erratically and it was hard to establish whether something would work or not because it kept forgetting some of the configurations I had just entered. It does see two 7301s and two 7500s. Because of its amnesia I had to first disable the 7500 units to test the 7301s and vice versa. Otherwise I would probably be fighting it all night long. I could get the first 7301 to lock perfectly. ProgDVB claimed the second 7301 scanned something, but the results were bogus. I never was able to lock anything on the first 7500, and choosing the second 7500 crashed the system. I saw no indication that DiSEqC commands were going out to my switches as I was only able to connect to my default dish in spite of all the laborious setup I had entered.


I think I've beat this horse to death. Some apps show more hope than others, but none of them can use two identical Prof tuners. DVB Dream seems to be the only one in this rogues' gallery that can actually command both DiSEqC 1.0 and 1.1, but I have to enter the raw commands in hex to get this to work. DVB Viewer does this part much better, but it's not keyed for the machine I was using for this test. It seems the Prof drivers are causing some of these problems as a number of the programs can see all four tuners. But none can use the second 7301 or 7500 and crashes result with the second 7500. The Prof BDA modules only see one 7301 and one 7500, which might be another limiting factor for the applications that require them.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
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It looks there's a lot more to it than was originally expected. Given massive popularity of 2-card solution in the region these cards primarily target (one for internet in under wired regions, another for TV), it looks like the problem of supporting 2 identical cards is complex enough to crack. I found no mentioning of it resolved whatsoever apart from the TeVii support's 2-screen pic. I wonder if this pic is genuine, as it seems to be typical for card developers to analyze others' drivers and copy useful solutions. Why they didn't?

Having said this, can you try to follow Prof's instructions from 1-st post of this thread to check how it goes for two 7301 PCI cards in ProgDVB and DVBDream? I.e., can you assign different IRQ numbers to both cards, etc - just in case, we'll be lucky? I wonder if this advice on renaming identical BDA drivers can help?
 

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pendragon

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Oct 13, 2008
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Having said this, can you try to follow Prof's instructions from 1-st post of this thread to check how it goes for two 7301 PCI cards in ProgDVB and DVBDream? I.e., can you assign different IRQ numbers to both cards, etc - just in case, we'll be lucky? I wonder if this advice on renaming identical BDA drivers can help?

Tried yesterday and didn't work. The PCI cards have different IRQs on my system by default and of course USB devices don't have any. A simple rename of the driver file and all the corresponding changes in the inf file did not work for me. I uninstalled everything, deleted all the existing files and cleaned out the registry manually. After all of this failed I started to go off the deep end by setting up permutations of separate registry entries and different bylines in the inf file, but not too surprisingly that didn't help. Some of that is likely keyed to the code itself.

I considered making hex patches to the driver, but instead I slammed on the brakes because I had put more time into this than the developers and it isn't important enough to me to go to crazy extremes. I've proved to myself there isn't a simple solution to this problem, and until Prof is able to show the contrary or step up to the plate, I consider this to be in their court. It's their product to sell.
 
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