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CEA mentions TCF in FCC filing

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by dt_dc, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. Oct 18, 2006 #1 of 388
    dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    CEA mentions TCF in FCC filing

    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528834

    Anyway, just though ya might want to know.

    Note to mods: wasn't sure what forum to post in ... put it here because it's CableCard-related ...

    Edit: Same reference is also in all the following. Each is basically the same response to various group / company letters of support for the Charter / Verizon integration ban waiver application.
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528834
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528837
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528840
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528843
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528835
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528838
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528841
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528836
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528839
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518528842
     
  2. Oct 18, 2006 #2 of 388
    ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

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    To tell you the truth, I don't really care if the MSOs are granted a waiver for low-end STBs as long as they force the mid and high-end STBs to use removable security. Verizon requesting a total waiver across all STBs is another story.

    Whoops, I guess the waiver topic is not really the subject of this thread.
     
  3. Oct 18, 2006 #3 of 388
    dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Well, it IS the subject of the filing / link ...

    The issue isn't getting much discussion here. But ... this kinda makes it personel eh? ;)
    Yah ... I dunno. Then you start having to get into exactly what is (and isn't) "high end" / "low end" ... "limited functionality" / "advanced functionality". Where's that line? HD / SD? DVR / STB? Ethernet, USB, etc / standard video output? Access to two way functionality like VOD, SDV, etc. / access to just linear channels?

    I dunno.
     
  4. Oct 18, 2006 #4 of 388
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Granting the waver in any form is a slippery slope and will lead to the MSOs pushing the limits of "low end" too see what they can get away with. It's much better to just make it a cut and dry, everyone uses CableCARDs, approach.

    On the plus side the fact that these MSOs are applying for specific wavers could be a sign that they don't have hopes for the FCC granting another extension to the integration ban. If that integration ban holds then next year CableCARDs are going to be a whole lot easier for consumers to deal with.

    Dan
     
  5. Oct 18, 2006 #5 of 388
    KenS3

    KenS3 New Member

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    While I agree about the "slippery slope" aspect, and I'm not generally a fan of corporate monopoly in any form, I'll have to disagree with your conclusion. Cable sells to a range of customers, including folks like retirees with limited incomes who only get basic cable. No box with a slot and a separate device is going to match the cost of an integrated low-end solution. The inventory management costs for those cablecards need to be passed along, as well as the component cost for the slot driving hardware and the packaging (case and interface circuitry, not to mention the little plastic case they come in) of the circuits on the separate card, and there are other factors that affect such pricing also, not all under the control of the cable companies.

    It may seem that there shouldn't be a major component cost difference between a box capable of basic service and a more advanced one, but those boxes come from third parties who need to recover development costs (and make a profit). And they do that by factoring in volume. Low-function high-volume hardware costs a lot less than devices with greater functionality sold in smaller volumes, far more than component costs would lead you to believe. I've had a bit of experience with this with CPE routers for an Internet provider, where a 4x wholesale price difference between two nearly-identical boxes isn't uncommon, if one supports higher-capability services than the other.

    And while boxes and cable cards may last a very long time, they're probably limited in how long an interval they can depreciate them over (by their accountants and the SEC). In my (non-cable) experience, service price gets set from the hardware depreciation, even if the hardware lasts longer (or shorter!) than accountants believe it will. The excess (shortage) isn't factored in except as a modifer to the company's overall overhead costs (which does affect prices, but only indirectly). If a cable-card costs $100 (hardware + packaging, inventory, etc), and gets depreciated over 5 years, it's still adding at least $1.67/month to the bill, without considering cost-of-money or unrecovered damage/loss costs for equipment broken or not returned after service cancellations. While the hardware will eventually cost much less as development is paid off and manufacturing scale kicks in, or if improved designs with lower cost are developed, packaging and distribution costs will keep it well above zero.

    Selling a one-size-fits-all solution means the separate components, plus the manufacturers inability to separate the low-end from the high-end in their pricing, will raise the cost of basic service for those who can least afford it (or, if the cable company is prevented by regulators from raising it, they'll find a way to recover the costs as "overhead" from everyone else). Either way, customers will pay more for that hardware.

    Maybe this "downloadable security" stuff the cable companies are pushing will solve this, although it seems to me that it would just add the cost in another form if the low-end boxes still need high-end decryption hardware that they don't use.

    So, to me, a waiver for "simple" devices makes sense, despite the "slippery slope" aspect. Defining "simple" is the hard part. I agree that advanced services like VOD don't belong there, but since that's a cash-cow for the cable companies, I doubt they'd agree.
     
  6. Oct 18, 2006 #6 of 388
    Maeglin

    Maeglin New Member

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    "Simple" in my book for a device that would even qualify as a potential CableCARD host (ruling out analog-only boxes) would be single tuner with no HD or DVR capabilities, much like the cheap Motorola box I had before getting an S3. It had PPV and VOD, but no actual display on the box beyond 2 LEDs (no buttons either) and only RF, composite and stereo audio out on the back. A card and the matching slot hardware would have taken up at least half of the internal volume of the thing.
     
  7. Oct 18, 2006 #7 of 388
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    In almost all markets "basic cable" is analog only and does not require the use of any STB. In fact in most markets there is also a "lifeline" service available which provides access to the local broadcast channels via cable for a nominal fee (less then $15/mo) so that those without access to an antenna can still get "free" TV.

    Digital cable is a premium service, and customers who can't afford an extra $5/mo to cover the cost of this new technology shouldn't be subscribing to it in the first place.

    Dan
     
  8. Oct 18, 2006 #8 of 388
    nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    Cable companies complain that CC are too expensive for deployment in "low end" boxes when it's that kind of mass deployment that is needed to bring the cost of CC down. As soon as cable providers are forced to use CC they'll force the cost issue with suppliers and CC boxes won't cost substanitally more than a normal box now.

    It's all smoke and mirrors to keep competition locked out. The FCC needs to cram it down their throats and make them stop their foot dragging.
     
  9. Oct 18, 2006 #9 of 388
    nyjklein

    nyjklein J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets TCF Club

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    I think many cable providers are trying to go all digital to recover bandwidth. To do this they have to supply cable boxes to basic customers that used to not need a box for analog. Since they can't charge these customers for the box, the providers want VERY cheap boxes.

    Nonetheless, I'm against the waiver unless it somehow clearly limits the deployment of waivered boxes to basic services that the customers aren't charged for.
     
  10. Oct 19, 2006 #10 of 388
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    I haven't read the waiver request... is there a clear definition of what a low-end STB is? I could see granting the waiver for no more than 98 channels, no pay-per-view, no on-demand, and no pay-per-channel (HBO, Showtime, etc.), and only where analog channels are NOT provided at all.
     
  11. Oct 19, 2006 #11 of 388
    pkscout

    pkscout Active Member

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    I would add to this no PPV or VOD. The only "simple" box I feel should get approved is one that gives you a EPG and a way to tune a single digital (non-HD) channel. Anything else in my book is advanced. If you let cable operators give folks PPV or VOD (which are good money makers for them), then there is no incentive to get those things working with CableCard.
     
  12. Oct 19, 2006 #12 of 388
    Stormspace

    Stormspace Electrocuted by TiVo

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    I'm completely against any sort of box that prevents the use of basic services. By adding a box in this way every added feature from PIP to VCR recording will be eliminated because these devices have no means of controlling the box. Cable is going to have to keep it's basic service analog for a long time or it's going to lose customers.
     
  13. Oct 19, 2006 #13 of 388
    winpitt

    winpitt New Member

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    Dream on. The ban holding will have no real effect on that side. There is way too much hw out there and too little cablecard. With little real demand for cablecard so the overwhelming majority will still be non-cc devices - meaning that support will still be focused on something else. Also, demanding everyone to use cc and abandon anything else is just plain wrong - no matter what people think. It won't happen. With no real 2-way cc standard, that would mean the loss of huge interactive based revenue for MSOs which nobody will tolerate - including the FCC.
     
  14. Oct 19, 2006 #14 of 388
    AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

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    Dream on.

    Force the CC issue, and you'll quickly see a CC 2.0 standard. That's the whole point. The cable companies are dragging their feet because they don't want to level the playing field at all.

    The FCC needs to actually do something useful, instead of fining people for farting.
     
  15. Oct 19, 2006 #15 of 388
    winpitt

    winpitt New Member

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    Nope. The FCC is not going to force the MSOs to drop their current architecture and adopt CC - which means that they are still going to have non-cc devices deployed as the majority of their user population.

    Then consider that really nobody but TiVo has a strong vested interest in this fight because they rely on the MSOs to deliver content. TiVo is the only competition left in the DVR space.

    This isn't about "leveling the playing field". The Cablecos spent the money to roll out infrastructure and develop against it. While neither you nor I like it, you can't blame them for not wanting to have to support yet another technology which will both potentially increase their cost to deliver while reducing revenue.

    To thing otherwise is to allow our bias to drive the discussion rather than logic.
     
  16. Oct 19, 2006 #16 of 388
    winpitt

    winpitt New Member

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    Now that is an incredibly narrow minded position. Providers currently have a huge inventory and large deployed base as well as extensive R&D (with partners such as Moto and SA) to maintain and deliver on that base. They have no choice but to continue that work, but you think that adding CC R&D, development and service should just be "eaten" by them because it's great for you but the average consumer doesn't give a hoot?

    There is a huge amount of change that would need to take place, all of it quite expensive. And, if it falls your way the current Telecommunications Act of 1996 would mean that 100% of those costs could - and probably would - be passed onto the consumer. Further, if any of the new "state" or "federal" franchise laws are passed, it would result in both yet higher costs as well as some areas no longer having service delivered - because they would no longer be required to do so.
     
  17. Oct 19, 2006 #17 of 388
    winpitt

    winpitt New Member

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    Uh, it's not the cablecos that have stalled 2.0. It's the device manufacturers who cannot agree on the standard. That's been widely know for well over 18 months. Very very very similar to the also current BluRay vs HD-DVD fiasco.
     
  18. Oct 19, 2006 #18 of 388
    Bodshal

    Bodshal Penguin-tastic!

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    I cut out some of what you said just to get to the real requirement. :)

    Chris.
     
  19. Oct 19, 2006 #19 of 388
    pkscout

    pkscout Active Member

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    Lose customers to who? Every other competitor (satellite, UVerse, FIOS) requires a box for the most basic things. Only OTA ATSC doesn't require a box (although it can require a huge butt ugly antenna). I guess if in addition to going digital they did everything as unencrypted QAM or ATSC then you could get away without a box with cable, but I think all the other services will require a box.
     
  20. Oct 19, 2006 #20 of 388
    dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Which is why the push to all-digital is a key point for the waiver applicants. While Charter and Comcast are a little more vaugue on the issue ... some providers are more specific:
     

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