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CableCARD: TiVo Fights The Good Fight

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by sbiller, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Apr 1, 2014 #21 of 280
    gweempose

    gweempose Active Member

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    Is there any chance that the MSOs could do something in the near future that could potentially turn our TiVos into paperweights, or are we still protected for now by the FCC? I assume even the newer hardware platforms like Comcast's X1 still use CableCARDs.
     
  2. Apr 1, 2014 #22 of 280
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Yep, they still use cards and they're not going away for a very long time. They're not going to shut them off if that's what you're asking. But as mentioned in the filing, support for third-party devices using them may become more problematic until/unless the FCC takes action.
     
  3. Apr 1, 2014 #23 of 280
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    More than anything else, we're protected by the fact that there are tens of millions of CableCard set tops from the MSOs themselves in use, and there's no way that they would be shut off overnight.

    You'll see it coming with at least a couple of years notice before digital QAM-modulated linear video with CableCard CA is turned off.
     
  4. Apr 1, 2014 #24 of 280
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    But it could get to a point where they are no longer required to offer new CableCARDs. So if the one you have dies they will not be required to replace it.

    Wow I hadn't ever heard about that mandate. That actually sounds like they are mandating exactly what I want. A gateway type device that outputs video over a network using an open standard so that multiple TVs can access the service without requiring a box. I hope they hold to that. It sounds like the first step toward an AllVid type standard.
     
  5. Apr 1, 2014 #25 of 280
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    The problem is that the "open standard" will be wrapped in all kinds of DRM. It'll be open at the most for TiVo, but open source things like MythTV will be locked out, and by now Microsoft doesn't care. Essentially this is purely for TiVo, no one else.

    AllVid is dead, and CableCard will be. You and I want 3rd party retail devices because we like different interfaces or different styles of devices (network DVRs, archiving massive amounts of recordings, TiVo's services, etc) but the FCC "mandate" of buying vs. renting will be satisfied by apps on iPads and Xboxes. Comcast and TWC already hail their apps as negating the need for things like CableCard, even though they solve a different problem than people like me or you have with MSO-provided set tops.

    You and I know there's no difference between an Xbox 360 running TWC's app and a TWC set top, but the FCC doesn't care.
     
  6. Apr 1, 2014 #26 of 280
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Based on that link it sounds like the FCC has clarified the "open standard" to be DLNA. There is a version of DLNA that supports encryption (DTCP-IP) that has already been approved for use by CableLabs and is supported by several devices. I'm not sure about the control and discovery protocols though. The FFC letter above made it sound like the DLNA was working on a new version that supports all that. For example the HDHomeRun already supports DTCP-IP and can stream live premium channels to DTCP-IP enabled devices. But the way it selects channels is a bit clunky. It basically presents the channels to the device as a list of files. For this to be more user friendly they need a way to use simple channel up/down and manual channel entry, perhaps even a simple guide of some sort. (although that could be presented by the playback device instead being part of the standard)

    This may not support everything AllVid would have, but it's a step in that direction. By centralizing the tuners in a gateway device they at least open up the possibility of allowing retail devices to be interoperable across service providers. The trick is getting all the providers to use the same standard. While they favor DLNA they leave it open and will still allow MSOs to choose other protocols as long as their office deems it "open". So there is still some room in there for the lobbyist to work and screw it all up.
     
  7. Apr 1, 2014 #27 of 280
    sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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    See this article from a few weeks ago...

    http://www.multichannel.com/technology/dlna-extends-bridge-between-pay-tv-services-retail-ce-devices/148924
     
  8. Apr 1, 2014 #28 of 280
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    That DLNA CVP-2 sounds awesome! I really hope the MSOs get behind that. It basically sounds like everything AllVid purposed to be. The only part that doesn't sound awesome is this...

    I hope they don't use that as a way to force us to watch ads.
     
  9. Apr 1, 2014 #29 of 280
    CuriousMark

    CuriousMark Forum Denizen

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    It sounds from that description that the cable companies want to keep the DVR upstream of their outputs. So they will still retain total control of their UI and the DVR.
     
  10. Apr 1, 2014 #30 of 280
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The FCC mandates that the IP stream be recordable. And part of the CVP-2 specification is something called USI (Usage State Information) which basically mimics the CCI byte used for CableCARDs and allows the DLNA server to set the stream to Copy Freely, Copy Once and Copy Never so a CVP-2 capable DVR can record the stream and apply the proper protection.

    Now I assume that a DVR which records from a DLNA stream will still need to be approved by some sort of standards body, so this wont be a free for all where open source DVR software can record protected content. But it might enable them to access Copy Freely channels. And it will allow bigger companies like TiVo to get certified and be able to record everything just like they do now with CableCARDs.

    The main purpose of this spec is to centralize the tuners, 2 way communication and UI elements like the guide, VOD, etc... into a single gateway device and then provide a simple set of standards that a playback device or DVR can use to access them.

    For a DVR like TiVo they could ignore the guide and continue to use their own built in one, but still allow access to VOD by simply displaying the VOD RUI which is just HTML5. Although I guess the cable companies could push for mandated use of their RUI guide too, like they did when developing OCAP, but I hope that doesn't happen.

    TiVo could also use this same same set of protocols for their multi-room sharing so that we'd no longer need a dedicated Mini to access recordings on our TiVo. Instead we could use any DLNA CVP-2 device to watch our recorded shows. (TiVo may not like this part though)

    The best part of this is if it catches on then the FCC could force the DSS providers to start using it too and we'd essentially have AllVid.
     
  11. Apr 1, 2014 #31 of 280
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    DirecTV wants nothing to do with TiVo. They released the most crippled and junky TiVo they could to fulfill their settlement with TiVo, knowing full well that almost no one would buy the turd. They lost money on it, but to protect their Genie, it's a small price for them to pay...

    Comcast is very friendly to TiVo, they must have found that they are getting enough VOD traffic to make rolling out more VOD support worth it. Not that it takes much with the margins on the rentals...

    If they have enough TiVo users, then they also want to keep those users around. They know many of them, like myself, would leave for DirecTV if they killed TiVo off. DirecTV must not see a large enough market to support TiVo in a meaningful way. If they sold a little box that connected my TiVo to SWiM 8 through Ethernet, I would jump to DirecTV in a second. More channels, more HD's, better PQ, and my TiVo would magically get bigger!

    I think the bigger risk in the near term is that cable starts using IP distribution for channels that would previously have been SDV, keeping a core lineup on linear QAM, and putting another 100+ obscure HD channels on MPEG-4 or HEVC IP, and they don't let TiVo in on the code to "read" the IP streams. FIOS is probably the biggest risk, since they already have an IP system in place, boxes that support IP distribution, a maxed out 860mhz QAM system and a metric @$$load of IP bandwidth to play with. However, most content would still be accessible to a TiVo, and people could, in theory, have a FIOS DVR and a TiVo, and use the FIOS DVR for the occasional thing on one of the IP channels that the TiVo can't get. As it is, it's that way it is now for VOD.

    I don't forsee an actual switch to IP for a long, long time. QAM is here and it works.MPEG-4 is the next step for the cable companies. And MPEG-4 works with Premiere and later TiVos, so that's not an issue.
     
  12. Apr 1, 2014 #32 of 280
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    That's the beauty of switching to a gateway model. The gateway is rented from the cable company so it doesn't matter how the channels are delivered to it, as long as they are converted to a standard IP stream on the way out. In that case a device like a TiVo would just send the channel request to the gateway, the gateway would tune it using whatever technology it wanted, and then start streaming it to the TiVo via standard IP. In theory even a current gen TiVo could be adapted to this model. They have gigabit ethernet and MoCa built in, the rest could theoretically be done via software.

    I think the biggest hurdle for TiVo would be scheduling. Since the TiVo wouldn't really know ahead of time how many tuners will be available from the gateway at a given time, maintaining the To Do List and prompting about scheduling conflicts might be impossible. Having all the tuners internal to the TiVo makes that a lot easier to manage. But it's not insurmountable.

    Another thing I'm unsure about is whether or not these these gateway devices are stackable. Assuming each one has 6 tuners people may need more then one to meet all their tuner needs. I'm also not sure if in a situation like that if the player/DVR would need to be paired to a specific gateway or if all the tuners from multiple gateways would be pooled together with each device having the ability to grab a tuner from whichever gateway has one available. I think the later would be a better option, but I haven't read the complete spec so I'm not exactly sure how it's designed to work.
     
  13. Apr 2, 2014 #33 of 280
    BHNtechXpert

    BHNtechXpert New Member

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    No we are not :) TWC is a public company we are a private company and while we do share some technology that is the extent of the relationship.
     
  14. Apr 2, 2014 #34 of 280
    truman861

    truman861 New Member

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    The way I see it, even after having a indepth phone convo with BHNTechXpert, is that I pay for the programing, I should be able to do what I want with it, if I want to copy it to my comp or iphone, that should be my right as I paid for it.

    Roamio Plus (Master)
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  15. Apr 2, 2014 #35 of 280
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    True. It would also put U-Verse and satellite on a level playing field. The ultimate would be a DVR and network that could integrate a lineup with multiple gateways. Say a gateway for OTA, a gateway for FIOS TV with QAM and IP, and then a gateway for some international channels through DISH... it would be nirvana for TiVo!

    Yes, the existing TiVos, at least Roamio and Premiere, should be software upgradable. For FIOS, for example, if they were smart enough, they could keep CableCard tuners, but know that certain channels are IP-only and have to requested through the gateway. Or for Roamio Basic, OTA on the roamio, and pay TV through a gateway. For scheduling, there would either have to be a way to schedule tuners ahead of time, a way to put a lock on tuners (this would only work for 1 DVR and some boxes with live TV only), or you would have to hard assign tuners to certain hardware, so that there'd be a gateway, a central server (like a TiVo Roamio Pro), and then the clients (i.e. TiVo Mini).

    Pooling tuners shouldn't be that hard, as long as one box owns the management of the whole network, and would be scalable to some number of tuners, say 18 or 24 tuners. Of course some services, like U-Verse (4) or DirecTV (8 for a SWiMline setup) could only support a certain number of tuners. Where it would get really murky is a FIOS type system if it has a limit for the number of IP streams, but unlimited QAM streams, and has some channels IP-only, and some QAM. Then the programming on the DVR side would get really squirrely if you have channels that are available through both an OTA gateway and a FIOS gateway, but you prefer to get them through FIOS, but then if it needs to "reclaim" tuners for cable channels, it would have to be smart enough to "offload" one or more of the local channel needs at that time to the OTA tuners...
     
  16. Apr 2, 2014 #36 of 280
    CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    But that's not the law. The content producers get some control of what you do with their content. The DMCA, for instance, guarantees that. If you want to argue that the law should be changed, that's fine. But arguing that other folks should break the law because you don't like it seems unhelpful.
     
  17. Apr 3, 2014 #37 of 280
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I don't see one device having control over the tuner pool. Or there being a way to dedicate tuners to a specific device. I see it more as the gateway(s) having complete control over their tuners and the devices sending requests to the gateway(s) for a tuner when one is needed. The gateway would then either return the requested stream or an error if no tuner was available. I could see there being some sort of a "pre-request" system where a device sends a request to the gateway say 5 minutes before it's needed to ensure it'll be available. The gateway could then prompt all active tuners with a message "this tuner is needed for device X at 8:00pm do you want to relinquish the tuner?" with the default answer being yes if there is no reply within a given amount of time. However a system like that would make scheduling tricky because the DVR would have no idea if a tuner would be available or not ahead of time.

    To make it work well they would need to add some sort of scheduling system to the gateway itself. Something where a DVR could request a tuner 10-12 days in advance and be guaranteed that it will be available when the time arrives. Although that wouldn't be all that difficult either. Not sure if that's part of CPV-2 though.
     
  18. Apr 3, 2014 #38 of 280
    telemark

    telemark New Member

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    It sounds good on paper, but Take a look at the approved (required) DTCP-IP protection technology. Something like Myth would never work with it.

    http://www.dtcp.com/approvedtechnologies.aspx

    I'm not even sure an in-home Tivo Stream could be implemented from that list.

    There's very few compatible receivers and I figure that's an indicator there's something undesirable about it.
     
  19. Apr 3, 2014 #39 of 280
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The DTCP-IP system uses MPEG-DASH by default, which is very similar to the HLS system they currently use for the TiVo Stream. I doubt it would be hard to create a TiVo Stream type device.

    There is also nothing preventing TiVo from submitting their own encryption scheme to the DLNA ti get approval for storage. Their scheme has already been approved by CableLabs so I doubt it would be rejected by the DLNA.

    I'm surprised to AACS on that list since it was cracked years ago. That's what's used on BluRays and broken by programs like AnyDVD.

    Windows Media DRM 10 can actually be licensed from MS, and is approved for both storage and playback protection, so if this catches on we may actually see 3rd party Windows DVR software again. Probably not open source, but paid options from 3rd parties should be possible.
     
  20. Apr 3, 2014 #40 of 280
    sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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    Here is my fear with respect to CVP-2... we might be saddled by our subscription TV providers UI.

    http://www.v-net.tv/cvp-2-guidelines-hailed-as-game-changer-for-premium-content-sharing

    [​IMG]

     

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