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Letter from Comcast RE: SDV

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by jtmal0723, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    We can only hope, but I'm not holding my breath. Anyone can sell Cablecard STBs to consumers today, but no one has done so. Could be because of lack of OnDemand/PPV support with the current one-way devices (although Cablecards support two-way now), could be because the cableCos have backroom deals with SA/Moto to keep them from selling boxes, could be because they don't see a market and the support hassles that go with CCs. Who knows.
     
  2. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    It's the <tru2way> thing: CableCARD (in the future, DCAS) plus OCAP. The cable providers are moving towards OCAP IPGs, Time Warner's buggy (but improving) OCAP Digital Navigator being the first. Any retail <tru2way> product can have Time Warner's IPG downloaded into it, giving it a UI identical in appearance and functionality to any box leased by TWC. (I feel certain that TiVo is porting the work that they did for the optional Comcast IPG to OCAP).

    Any compliant <tru2way> STB can be sold both to the cable providers for lease and to the public at retail. Given equally good implementations of <tru2way>, there's no reason for a provider to prefer a Cisco or Moto box over a Sony one, except for price. The cable STB market becomes a level playing field.

    Moreover, as ZeoTiVo points out, <tru2way> compliance can be integrated into televisions. I can forsee televisions which become DVRs just by connecting an off-the-shelf external drive.

    You don't have to hold your breath, but it is happening, and what's more, the cable service providers are actively promoting it. I recently found this page at TWC San Diego's site which talks about upcoming "Open Cable Products":
     
  3. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    It's possible that CMT has been mapped to a digital simulcast of the channel in the CableCARD(s) in your TiVo and that that simulcast has recently become an SDV service (whereas the analog version of the channel remains present on the wire and that's what you get when you directly tune it with your television). Back in February I moved from a Cox neighborhood into a Time Warner one. Cox had mapped my CableCARDs to the digital simulcast versions of the analog range channels, which caused a few minor difficulties (all of those channels were marked "Copy One Generation", for one thing, so I couldn't use TTG to transfer recordings of them). Time Warner maps CableCARDs to the analog version, probably because they planned to change some or all of the simulcast to SDV (I know from other people's reports that they have).

    You should complain to your cable provider. Of course, if the problem is what I think it is, getting a resolution is unlikely, since you're not likely to get to talk to anyone who could understand the problem or do anything about it.
     
  4. jlb

    jlb NCC-1701-D

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    Eh, doesn't mean that much too me.
     
  5. jtmal0723

    jtmal0723 New Member

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    Well it looks like comcast has flipped that switch for my area... 63 channels the TA knows are on SDV. I don't notice any delay, and when I pull the plug on the TA, those channels are "Temporarily Unavailable". Looks like the TA is doing its job! :)
     
  6. DeathRider

    DeathRider New Member

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    Boston Area RCN
    They are all set. They have a STB that has CableCard, OpenCable/Tru2Way.

    I could see a market (but could it be caost effective?)to sell to people that want to keep their own box, have a larger capacity hard drive than what is supplied by the Cable Company.

    But I guess I can't see them competing against themselves and getting the Cable Companies P'oed to boot:(

    And that doesn't even take into consideration who provides the scheduling? Will the Cable Company or the STB manufacturer?
     
  7. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update. Where exactly do you find out which channels are SDV? Part of a TA diagnostic menu somewhere? A screenshot would be great. Thanks for blazing this trail!
     
  8. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Oh, no--you still have to buy stuff from the cable provider. The cable provider will download their IPG software into your tru2way compliant device, and provide the guide information and other things. I'm sure that they'll make you pay something for that.

    The example that I gave before is TWC's Digital Navigator, an OCAP version of which they have running on some of their newer leased boxes (Cisco Explorer 8300HDC, 8240HDC, 4250HDC, etc). If you buy a tru2way compliant television or STB, when you hook it up to Time Warner they'd download that IPG software into the equipment that you own and you'll see exactly the same thing that you'd see on one of their leased boxes--precisely the same graphics and all the same guide information. The advantage is that you'd have full access to all of their services, Video On Demand, Pay-Per-View and fancy switched sports tiers included. This disadvantage is that every tru2way compliant device plugged into their system would present the same GUI and that the manufacturers wouldn't be able to distinguish themselves with superior software (like the TiVo IPG).

    TiVo has proposed a tru2way compliant model to OpenCable, which they describe in an ex parte filing with the FCC. As proposed, such a device:
    So, in "TiVo mode" we'd get the GUI that we all know and love, with downloaded support for SDV tuning and in "cable mode" you'd get the cable provider's IPG GUI, with full access to their interactive services.
     
  9. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    In the ATL
    Tivo mode vs. cable mode? How silly is that? Just give me one interface (Tivo's) that can get everything. It's not that complicated, but I'm guessing that this is more about forcing what the cableCo wants on the customer instead of what the customer wants to see.

    So now we'll get to see the cableCo's ads in addition to Tivo's?
     
  10. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    yah, it is really not that silly for a cable company to want to be able to present its own interface for selling its own PPV/VOD. I myself like this approach as VOD from cable companies gets better and includes much more free stuff.

    Certainly much better than having only the cable company interface :D
     
  11. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    That's what TiVo is trying to avoid--what the cable companies want is their interface only. Some of the CE OEMs lobbied the FCC to force them to provide a simplified, barebones protocol for access to some of their basic interactive services (PPV, VOD and SDV) which they called "Digital Cable Ready Plus"; if the FCC decided to force cable to implement something like that, TiVo and the others would have what they need to create their own interface to PPV and VOD. There's not much hope for DCR+, since the cable companies implemented the Tuning Adapter to partially address SDV tuning for devices too far in the low-end to include tru2way compliance, and romanced the biggest of the DCR+ supporters (Sony included) to "the dark side" by getting them to sign an interactive cable MOU (Memo Of Understanding) in support of tru2way.

    With that proposal, TiVo is trying to give you both their interface and an interactive cable product. As it stands, they can't implement a two-way CableCARD product without including OCAP in such a way that the only interface that you would get is whatever the cable providers gives you. I haven't read anywhere that the cable industry has agreed to this compromise, which really doesn't buy them anything (which is why TiVo made that filing to try to get the FCC on their side).

    The cable companies want every two-way interactive cable device to give their subscribers access to all of their services--not just PPV and VOD. They envision a brave new future of interactive television :rolleyes: (see this for details). They could care less whether we have the TiVo interface as we know it (though some of them may offer "TiVo Lite" as an IPG option).
     
  12. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    I second this ask for information. I'd love to know what method TiVo gives you for determining what's SDV and what's not.
     
  13. cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

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    In an SA system it's built into the sam service for each channel.
     
  14. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    What I and moyekj are asking for is a description of how jtmal0723 was able to see through the TiVo GUI which services on his cable system were being provided as SDV. He said that there are "63 channels the TA knows are on SDV". What does he see through the TiVo interface that lets him know that?
     
  15. cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

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    The ta should show the number of sdv channels in its diags just like a regular cable box does.
     
  16. jtmal0723

    jtmal0723 New Member

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    This is correct. I went through the Diagnostics screen and it mentioned of 62 SDV Channels now... I do not know which ones it thinks they are since the letter mentions of almost 110...
     

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  17. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    OK thanks. I was kind of hoping when you are tuned to an SDV channel that Tivo diagnostics would indicate as such. Having a channel count is one thing, having an indication of which channels are SDV is more useful.

    If you do know a channel that is SDV for sure could you tune to it and then navigate over to the DVR Diagnostics page to see if there is any indication there that the relevant tuner is tuned to an SDV channel?
    Tivo Central->Messages&Settings->Account & System Information->DVR Diagnostics
     
  18. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    More useful for what, exactly? Just curious :).
     
  19. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps I'm OCD about it but I have a spreadsheet of my cable company channel lineup with many details about each channel (analog, QAM, frequency, encryption, CCI byte, etc). I also have a column indicating which channels UDCP devices cannot tune. For those channels currently I don't know if it's because they are missing from the CableCard virtual channel map or because they are SDV. Cox in my area has been hiding certain channels from CableCard lineup even though they are supposedly not deployed to SDV yet. It would be nice to have a sure way to tell one way or another. SDV was supposed to have been deployed several months ago but looks like they may have run into issues and now that's been delayed, yet several channels are still not available via CableCard.

    Of course with the advent of SDV the spreadsheet is becoming less useful, plus lately channels are moving around too much to keep an accurate tally without periodically re-checking every channel. The spreadsheet has been useful in the past, especially before bandwidth upgrades we were on a 750MHz system and I could tell through my spreadsheet when there was no more space left for additional QAMs. Plus it was useful as a quick reference for unencrypted QAM channels for those using QAM tuners without CableCard.

    Like I said, it's mostly OCD. :D
     
  20. cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

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    moyekJ, do you know which freqs cox is using for sdv? This will certainly identify which channels are switched.
     

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