1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Can we Lobby Tivo to support information for QAM Tuners?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Rocko62580, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,331
    0
    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    Find their address on your bill and write a letter, I'd suggest something like:

    From: Rocko62580
    100 Subscriber St
    Someplace, XX 00001

    To: Cable Franchising Authority
    Town Hall
    Someplace, XX 00000

    Dear Sirs,

    The FCC website tells me that you, the cable franchising authority for this community, is responsible for rates and enforcing FCC regulations with respect to basic cable access. I am having a problem with <cable co> not allowing me access to basic cable channels at the set basic cable rate.

    Specifically Channel X WXXX-DT is carried by <cable co> as part of basic cable. I understand that FCC regulations mandate that the digital equivalent of the channels carried on basic cable also be part of basic cable. WXXX is carrided on basic cable, WXXX-DT is also carried.

    However, to access this channel an access device "cable card" is required to be supplied by <cable co>. I understand that the FCC mandates that such devices be available to basic cable subscribers at nominal cost. <cable co> will not supply such a device to me, they insist that I subscribe to other tiers of cable service before I can have access to the device to properly receive basic cable.

    In effect <cable co> wants to charge me an extra $65.99 for access to a device which the FCC mandates be available at nominal cost.

    Please could you investigate this situation so that I may be able to access the basic cable channels that I should be able to.

    Yours Sincerely

    Rocko62580
     
  2. Rocko62580

    Rocko62580 New Member

    46
    0
    Sep 25, 2006
    WOW! Thanks! Did you just write that? If so that was pretty good!
     
  3. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,331
    0
    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    Yup, I just wrote that. Its the sort of thing which was knocking around in my head when I thought I might have to write to my franchising authority.
     
  4. Adam1115

    Adam1115 20,000!!! TCF Club

    27,646
    30
    Dec 15, 2003
    Denver ish
    I really am not following how you think this is going to work. What you say in your letter is simply not true! A cablecard is NOT required to access in the clear local channels. Any QAM capable TV or set top box can access it with NO problems! The cablecards purpose is to decode encrypted channels. The cable company is perfectly within their rights to deny basic cable users a cablecard, regardless of whether we like it or not! That is the WHOLE purpose of this thread.

    The fact that the TiVo won't allow guide data on a digital channel without a cablecard is a limitation of the TiVo, not the cable company!!
     
  5. Scopeman

    Scopeman 2 x Basic Roamio

    412
    0
    Oct 22, 2002
    Central Texas
    CableCards are a terrible idea for this.

    I get QAM locals and have no CableCards. All I had to due was file a lineup error report with Tivo explaining that the program data for my 6 QAM channels was missing. Tivo contacted the local TW office and got confirmation of what was on the channels (what local OTA channels they mapped to) and about 3 weeks later I had program data show up for my QAM channels.

    There is no reason for it to be harder in any other market unless the local cable co chooses to be a pain.

    But first you have to engage Tivo with a request to make the lineup correction.
     
  6. Scopeman

    Scopeman 2 x Basic Roamio

    412
    0
    Oct 22, 2002
    Central Texas
    See my previous post - you are correct that it is a lineup issue, but CableCard is NOT the right way to fix it. Just get Tivo lineup specialists in touch with your local cable co to get the right OTA channel mapping so Tivo can mirror the guide data.
     
  7. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,331
    0
    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    This is true if the cable company publishes the QAM channel and subchannel onwhich you can receive it. If they do not, which is the common situation, like my cable co adverrtises 5-1 is on channel 705. You need to get a cable card to make it 705. The other purpose of a cable card is mapping QAM channels to advertised cable channels.
    I'll have to differ with you there, given the situation I outline above. If the QAM is advertised, you have a line up problem. If it is not you have a basic cable access problem over which the franchising authority has authority.
    Does you cable company publish the QAM channel/subchannel on which you receive the channel? That's the important point.
     
  8. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,331
    0
    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    The real question is whether you can persuade the franchsing authority that they are not within their right to do this, and how much notice the cable company will take of this. Both are interesting questions, which have not been answered.

    The whole point off the thread is to get affected people TiVo service. One technical solution has been proposed. If there are better technical, or administrative solutions you'd be best off seeing if those work for you.

    Does it matter how you get your TiVo service to work?
     
  9. Adam1115

    Adam1115 20,000!!! TCF Club

    27,646
    30
    Dec 15, 2003
    Denver ish
    BTWYX-

    Thanks, I follow your argument now! I'll have to check and see how mine remaps as I get my locals OTA.
     
  10. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    Of course not, but I suspect you know this. CableCards are a decryption device, and thus are only mandated for access control to encrypted services. The very reason that MSOs are not allowed to encrypt rebroadcasted OTA signals is to keep access to them available to basic cable customers without CableCards, which of course they are. TiVo can receive them just fine...the only issue here is that the TiVo guide is messed up. Your MSO has no incentive or mandate to fix your TiVo guide. In fact they'd just as soon not, to incentivize you to use their revenue-generating box.

    TiVo, on the other hand, very much has an incentive to fix their broken guide.

    You are tilting at windmills if you think you are going to convince an MSO to change their entire pricing structure to accommodate TiVo's broken guide. Forcing CableCards on basic cable customers just to fix TiVo's broken guide is hitting a very small nail with a very big hammer. Yes it works, but it's an expensive exercise in complete overkill.
    Now this is a much better idea than using CableCards...convince the MSO to include accurate PSIP data. In fact, this is the "right" solution here and is within the spirit of the FCC regs regarding rebroadcasting of OTA signals. The problem here is more of a practical reality...I am not interested in an S3 unless it can map local HD into the program guide, yet I'd have to buy one first (in order to be able to complain to TiVo customer support) and hope my MSO can be similarly convinced to fix their PSIP stream. That is a very expensive gamble. Also, the MSO doesn't create the PSIP data, it just passes along what it gets from each broadcaster, so you are relying on a long and complex chain to all "do the right thing" in order for the desired end result to occur (fixed TiVo guide). Good luck getting an MSO and 6 local broadcasters to listen to you or help diagnose problems...

    I like the goal of fixing the PSIP stream, but the only practical solution in the short term (and a good backup plan as well) is to have a backdoor into the TiVo channel map so that our $800 investment isn't reliant on so many things outside of our own control.
     
  11. sommerfeld

    sommerfeld Lucky (?) 200 member

    272
    0
    Feb 26, 2006
    Arlington, MA
    As I understand it, QAM is a modulation scheme allowing arbitrary bitstreams to be carried over various cable frequencies.

    The bitstreams transported by QAM can be either unencrypted or encrypted. Unencrypted QAM streams can be displayed by a series 3 without help from a cable card; encrypted QAM needs the cable card's help for display.

    A cable card, if present, tells the S3 how to map between QAM channel-subchannel pairs and the channel numbers used in program guide information.
     
  12. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    Nice summation sommerfeld.

    Unencrypted QAM can be decoded/displayed by anything without a CableCard (not just an S3). That's why it's unencrypted...if CableCards were considered "necessary" to receive all digital cable programming, then all channels would be encrypted.
     
  13. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    The difference, of course, is that I've never advocated forcing you to spend more money to overcome your missing features.

    Baloney. Toxic recordings have affected a very, very small part of the user base. But that's the difference between us...even though things like this only affect a small minority of the TiVo family, I've never advocated not fixing them. Of course TiVo should fix these bugs! And the QAM mapping problem too.

    Baloney. MRV does not appeal to the "vast majority", the vast majority do not own multiple TiVos. But again, that shouldn't keep TiVo from fixing all these issues.

    Your whole argument seems to be that providing a QAM map backdoor is so difficult that it will mean other things won't get fixed. That's absurd. For all you know, it's already finished, and the reason it's not activated yet is not even a technical one. And if it's not ready yet, it is not a difficult thing to do. Or are you saying that companies like Sony have such a talented group of engineers that they would dare approach the hopeless can of worms that is manual QAM channel mapping? I like to give the TiVo engineers a little more credit than that. :)
     
  14. vstone

    vstone New Member

    1,235
    0
    May 11, 2002
    Martinsville...
    Is it possible that cableLabs won't explicitly or implicitly approve Tivo software with QAM mapping?
     
  15. TydalForce

    TydalForce Active Member

    1,013
    0
    Feb 8, 2006
    Philadelphia...
    That's entirely possible, and if that's the case than this entire conversation is purely academic

    Or, maybe TiVo has it in the works, but left it out for the initial release and it'll hit in a future software update

    Or maybe they didn't think anyone would want it, so just didn't bother... or maybe said nobody *should* have it and won't implement it...

    and so on...
     
  16. russwong

    russwong New Member

    231
    0
    Sep 17, 2002
    I was on the fence of transferring my lifetime, but the need to use a cable card is unfortunate. I only record the broadcast clear QAM HD channels on my HTPC. I only have basic cable and adding cable card to the mix would just seem to complicate the situation. My TV can tune the unencrypted qam channels fine and map them to the TV Guide application that is part of the TV, I think it would be good if Tivo could do it. My HD Capture card has the ability to map the unencrypted QAM channel to the proper guide channels so I'm able to record via a guide on my HTPC. I already pay for the HD subscription, so why give Comcast more money if I don't have to?

    Any real idea on if Tivo is every going to make this a feature, as now I'm starting to lean away from the fence of upgrading, especially at the $800+ tag.

    Thoughts?

    Russell
     
  17. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    Since other devices exist that are CableLabs-approved (complete with CableCard slot) and that do support user remapping of clear QAM channels into the guide (i.e. Sony DHGHDD250), it can't be a CableLabs approval problem.

    My worry is that it's more of a "let's not p/o our potential Cable partnerships" problem. Your cable company would love to "force" you to upgrade to a digital tier+HDTV service+CableCards, just to be able to enjoy what you are already entitled to as a basic cable customer. TiVo does not want to step on any Cable toes, for risk of souring future partnership deals. Put the two together and you have the recipe for a missing QAM mapping feature...

    Russell: welcome to our growing group! Be sure to lobby TiVo for this missing feature by going here to put in a feature request: http://research.tivo.com/suggestions/2web519.htm
     
  18. ashu

    ashu User title defunct

    9,158
    0
    Nov 8, 2002
    MD
    A Conspiracy Theory - I wouldn't be too surprised. This sounds like a very likely scenario.

    Let's say I'd rather have TiVo lobby for MRV/TTG (at least to other S3s, or at least of SD content) - and that is precisely what they appear tyo be concetrating on. On a prioritization issue - I'm completely in agreement, if that is what this is!
     
  19. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    Everybody loves a Conspiracy Theory!

    The QAM-frequency-to-channel-number mapping is this weird sort of backdoor that Cable can use to encourage upgrades in service, even though the reception of HD network rebroadcasts falls squarely under the basic cable mandate. I believe that Cable hates the fact that OTA rebroadcasts must be sent in-the-clear, and they would just LOVE to encrypt them, but of course they can't. So, barring that, they want to make it look like you need to upgrade to Digital+HD service in order to receive these most popular of channels. And one of the ways they do that is to tie the channel map to the CableCard. (Another way is through marketing, where they avoid any suggestion that local HD rebroadcasts can be received in a Basic Cable package...notice how the HD locals are always, ALWAYS shown in the upgraded "HD" tier!)

    It's almost like the FCC mandated in-the-clear transmission of HD locals but forgot about the channel numbering...if they had simply mandated that channel map data be available in the absence of a CableCard, we would not have this problem.
     
  20. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
    0
    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    My Comcast channel guide clearly lists the local HD channels as limited basic.
     

Share This Page