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House passes STELA, ends Cablecard integration requirement

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by slowbiscuit, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. Jul 26, 2014 #41 of 138
    CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    North...
    You don't want any physical device or card involved. If that's what you get, then you must have standards for physical requirements of that card and all communication on it. You're not going to get that - the cable companies were not able to agree on standards for 2-way communication using the present cablecards, which are perfectly capable and already have a standard-making body accepted in the industry.

    There is plenty of room in the Roamio for downloadable security; I'm sure that's the way TiVo and Comcast are planning to go.

    There wasn't any over-riding financial or legal reason for Comcast to make On-Demand available in every market, as they have done. Income from tiVo On-Demand users is minuscule. I'm sure a major reason, perhaps THE major reason, for doing it was to start the process of having all their head-ends connected to the internet, and accessible for end-users to choose what they are getting from the head-end. A low-volume trial of the first step towards their eventual goals.
     
  2. Jul 26, 2014 #42 of 138
    shrike4242

    shrike4242 Member

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    If everyone except Charter and Cablevision are backing the Comcast standard, then I'm boned being a Charter customer. Since Comcast and Tivo are working together on Comcast boxes with Tivo, that's promising for a CC-less/TA-less future.

    However, if Charter wants to do an IPTV box, then anyone who has a Tivo might be up the creek, since AT&T UVerse won't work with Tivo though Verizon FIOS does. The difference? Verizon does CC's, AT&T doesn't. As long as there some type of third-party allowance for a decryption item for use with their IPTV box, then we might luck out.

    This is Charter, after all. I don't have a lot of hope that they'll allow third-party solutions if they do their own solution with an IPTV gateway.

    Since it's all "internal" traffic, bandwidth shouldn't be much of an issue unless you're on a provider with not a lot of fast bandwidth.

    We can only hope so, and hope that all of the cable companies work out some universal standard. Since we're likely to get one 800lb gorilla with Comcast-TimeWarner and everyone else being much smaller potatoes behind them, Comcast's solution might be the defacto standard.
     
  3. Jul 26, 2014 #43 of 138
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    FiOS isn't using IPTV with the TiVos. They only use IPTV for their VOD which the TiVos cannot access.
     
  4. Jul 28, 2014 #44 of 138
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    That's spot on. The integrated security ban was a stupid idea from the get-go. As long as TiVo users can get CableCards, it doesn't really matter what the cablecos do with their own boxes...

    I wonder how many tens or hundreds of millions was wasted on making cableco boxes with cablecards instead of integrated security?
     
  5. Jul 28, 2014 #45 of 138
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    Guess who's money they wasted, hint it was not the cable co.s money.
     
  6. Jul 28, 2014 #46 of 138
    jwbelcher

    jwbelcher New Member

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    Its not like we'd seen a difference in our bill. I prefer to think it hit their profit margins
     
  7. Jul 29, 2014 #47 of 138
    telemark

    telemark New Member

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    Agreed. Cable box rental fees are set at prices customers are willing to pay.

    Lowering the price of the box, doesn't get passed on to the customer, but increases the total return (profit) over the box's lifetime. (rental fee x months - cost to make + residual value)

    The potential benefit customers would see, is old boxes could be replaced sooner with newer models since the payback period was shorter. I don't believe that would happen since MSO's don't replace boxes as soon as they're paid off. They replace them due to technology changes.

    --

    I don't buy the argument that separatable security makes boxes more expensive, at least historically. Manufacturing costs are tied to required component count and volume made.

    Integrated security vs separate security would (used to) have the same chip count, the difference being where the chips are: motherboard vs removable daughter board.

    Production volume however is lowered (higher cost) with integrated security because each box manufactured is tied to a particular CA security protocol. That is each box manufacturer is dividing their otherwise same box into 2-3 different types, based on whose network it's going in. Some manufacturing companies would not enter this product category cause the segmented box volume was too low or the multiple CA licensing required to get in the door. The fewer manufacturers means, less competition, higher cost.

    Boxes with separatable security can also be moved between more markets, increasing their usable lifespan and residual value.

    --

    On some recent low end box designs, where the chip count is close to 1, I can accept adding a cable card increases the cost, but that's different than what it was like when the mandate was started.
     
  8. Jul 29, 2014 #48 of 138
    trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    But that's the point. Things have changed drastically in tech and by the time Cablecard got going it becoming obsolete.

    The problem with government intervention is it works just like the cable co does - slowly. And probably more slowly.

    And now I would guess it is all about security via the network. No need for expensive integrated/modular hardware security. I just think of all the content I can buy via the internets with an account/password. And somehow the cable co has its own private network and the consumer can't just do the same sort of thing?
     
  9. Jul 29, 2014 #49 of 138
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Active Member

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    I disagree somewhat. Cablecards work because of the ban. It isn't like the cards sometimes randomly refuse to descramble a channel, require frequent rebooting, or simply don't work with some cable systems. Their operation is stable and well-developed, and firmware updates continue to roll out as they expand features and fix bugs. Without the ban, there would be no reason for cable companies to fix any CableCard problems or update the firmware to keep up with the latest features. The ban significantly increased the level of support.

    What did happen is that the pairing process for third-party devices never really worked well, because cable companies permanently paired the card to the box before it shipped. There was nothing in the law that prevented them from doing that, so they took advantage of that loophole. But that meant that the pairing process didn't get any attention. Additional laws had to be passed later on to force cable companies to improve the pairing process.

    Since CableCards have matured and are for the most part working fine, the integration ban really isn't needed anymore. But if cable companies stop supporting CableCards like they have been, the ban might return.
     
  10. Jul 29, 2014 #50 of 138
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Bob hits the nail on the head again. Agree that with the later FCC card rules that went in place a few years ago, card pairings got a lot better (with Comcast at least). There have been other issues that have cropped up such as firmware updates for 6-tuner support, but overall I don't see it going downhill significantly. Comcast as an example has committed to supporting cards for as long as they have them deployed in Tivos, WMC etc.

    The hope at this point is that Tivo and Comcast adopt a downloadable standard that is widely accepted by the industry (including PC tuner makers) so we can get rid of the damn things altogether. Given that AllVid was stillborn it's about the best we can expect at this point.
     
  11. Jul 29, 2014 #51 of 138
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Yeah, it's hard to say. Probably a combination of the two.

    The problem is, the "not integrated" CableCards in their boxes and the CableCards in TiVos are living in two separate parallel universes.

    I don't think we gained a single thing except hatred from the MSOs with the integrated security ban. Older boxes with integrated security and CableCard equipment, whether MSO or customer-owned work just fine together.
     
  12. Jul 30, 2014 #52 of 138
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    The cost for CableCards to the MSO's should have dropped as the number manufactured should have dramatically increased compared to before the integrated security ban. I know that my local Comcast franchise has dropped the monthly cost for extra CableCards (Original S3 OLED here so they need 2) several times over the past few years ($2.00 to $1.75 to $1.50 and now $1.00).

    Scott
     
  13. Jul 30, 2014 #53 of 138
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    This cost drop happen to me also on Comcast, I am now paying $1/month so I keep an extra card..just in case.
     
  14. Jul 30, 2014 #54 of 138
    telemark

    telemark New Member

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    CC's are an example of the converse of Moore's Law. That is, in theory, the cost to manufacture should half every 18 months.

    (This excludes the reality that functionality was being added like when switching from S to M.)
     
  15. Jul 30, 2014 #55 of 138
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    Over the next 15 years as cable co replace their cable card equipment, there should be some 50 mill cable cards out there, unless the cable co will not remove the cards from their boxes as they are retired, or the MSO cable card is not the same as the one given out for say the TiVo.

    Just spoke to a Comcast tech on the street and he said that it has been over a year since he has had to deal with any cable cards, about 3 or more years ago he was dealing with many cable cards, they don't even carry any cable cards on the trucks anymore. He though CC was a dead product.
     
  16. Jul 30, 2014 #56 of 138
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Yeah, but it still would have been WAY cheaper to just make them for TiVos and MCE machines even if the price per unit was many times what it is today...

    Very few multi-CC machines are still out there. So really, only the additional CableCard fee is important, which, on Comcast, is still $7/mo and change...
     
  17. Jul 30, 2014 #57 of 138
    stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    My mother pays nothing a month to Comcast for her cable card, which she uses in an HD Homerun Prime.
     
  18. Jul 30, 2014 #58 of 138
    nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    They are the same. Besides my verification I could interchange them (and making Cox very unhappy with me for testing it), that was the point of the integration ban: They (MSO) have to use the same card that we (retail) do.

    What was grossly different, and made the ban a total waste, was that retail devices were already mandated that they could not have the bidirectional communication capabilities that the MSO leased boxes had, and still have.

    Take a card out of a leased box, put it into your TiVo, and it will boot into "slow boot mode", only being able to operate on what it receives, and be unable to send any communication back.
     
  19. Jul 31, 2014 #59 of 138
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Not for all Comcast franchises, I'm only paying $2.00 total for my second S3 for the 2 CableCards ($1.00 each).

    Scott
     
  20. Jul 31, 2014 #60 of 138
    davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

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    Verizon has consistently raised CableCARD rates - my single card is currently up to $4.99/mo (which is $1 less than a DTA). I imagine these fees have more to do with "support" than their hardware cost, as this was a deployed card that had a rate increase. Having said that, RCN has publicly complained a few times that wholesale CableCARD costs have not gone down for them (and would prefer a digital authentication model).

    There was no public disclosure regarding how long Comcast would continue supporting retail CableCARDs, only that they would support them. 1 year? 5 years? Until TiVo's Time Warp patent protection expires? The more I read the filing, the less value I find in it.
     

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