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Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by bdraw, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Unlike Cisco TAs the Moto TAs don't have any specific diagnostics page to indicate which channels are SDV. However after some fooling around I came up with a reliable indirect method:

    There is an indirect way to find out if a channel is SDV with TiVo and Motorola Tuning adapter, but it's not very eloquent:
    1. Tune to channel you want to check
    2. Go to TiVo Central->Messages&Settings->Account&System Information->Tuning Adapter->DVR Diagnostics and note the Frequency associated with the channel you tuned to.
    3. Left click out and then choose Tuning Adapter Diagnostics and then scroll down to DOWNSTREAM STATUS and click SELECT. If the INBAND FREQ listed on that screen matches the frequency you noted in step 2 then this is an SDV channel.

    The key is that the INBAND FREQ in DOWNSTREAM STATUS page only updates when tuning to an SDV channel. You will note for example if you tune to known non-SDV channels such as local broadcast channels that the INBAND FREQ will not update.
  2. bradenmcg

    bradenmcg Big Geek

    Dec 28, 2007
    Not sure if anyone is still updating the original post here, but TimeWarner has SDV in the Northeast Ohio / PA market. They do have TAs, but in my area at least the SDV channel quality can come and go. Sometimes it is fine but other times you get a LOT of macroblocking making it unwatchable.

    They do have the flag set on SDV preventing suggestions from tuning SDV channels too, at least in my area. :(
  3. Sicklybutsexy

    Sicklybutsexy New Member

    May 5, 2007
    I have a Tivo with an M-card and I am consistently not getting two channels (channels 234 and 254, NHLHD and REDZONE HD). Sometimes the NHLHD comes in but most of the time I get a black screen "searching for signal, cable in" or some sorts. My cable box upstairs get these channels fine. I called comcast and of course the person I talked to didn't even know what SDV was and so couldn't tell me if that was the problem. They're gonna send another guy out today (after the first one failed to rectify the issue) as I'm paying for these channels and just not receiving them.

    Is this an SDV issue?
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    See **this post** in the TWC Carolinas thread and other posts by SCSIRAID in that thread. It's pretty conclusive the pixelation on TWC SDV channels is a TiVo software problem although only actually proved for the Raleigh NC area. I have TWC in SW Ohio and I'm convinced I have the same issue.
  5. JimWall

    JimWall Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    Make sure the tech checks signal strength and noise levels. If that is OK then probably an issue with properly setting up your account for the channels you are paying for.
  6. Mar 2, 2010 #2306 of 2401

    FrancesTheMute Resident Nihilist

    Sep 16, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    If by "really efficient broadcast television" you mean "complete cop out by the cable companies to avoid having to invest the billions of profits they get every year into actually upgrading and improving their infrastructure" then, yes.
  7. Mar 3, 2010 #2307 of 2401

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    That's a pretty myopic perspective, though. Those cable companies are in business specifically to make money for their investors. Spending "billions in profits" when that's not what is in the best interest of those investors is irresponsible, and indeed, deliberately ignoring the overriding obligations that the cable companies have to pursue some purist perspective of how you personally would prefer they achieve greater capacity may even be legally actionable.

    There is no question that broadcast hundreds of linear channels when any significant number of them are not being watched by anyone is wasteful. Waste is not an ethic.
  8. Mar 6, 2010 #2308 of 2401
    Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler New Member

    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX
    Add Dallas/Ft Worth to the list of places it's at. Time Warner Cable has been sending out letters this week to cable card customers saying that starting on April 5th, a slew of HD channels are going SDV.

    If you bring their letter to one of the listed areas in the letter, you can get a free Tuning Adapter. I have three cable cards in two TiVo's, so I'm hoping they let me get two, or I'll be annoyed. :)
  9. Mar 6, 2010 #2309 of 2401

    DaveDFW Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Richardson, TX
    I went by the Plano service center today to get the tuning adapters, but they don't have them in stock yet.

    The guy at the desk just took my name and phone number and asked how many I needed. I don't think there is an issue with getting more than one, as long as the number requested isn't higher than the number of cablecards you rent. :)

  10. Mar 6, 2010 #2310 of 2401

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    Well, actually, he is using the correct definition of the term. In context, the correct term is not "broadcast", but "OTA Broadcast".

    Yes, but the distinction most properly lies not in the definition of the general term "broadcast", but rather in being specific enough in the terms that are used. OTA broadcast video channels are a subset of all broadcast video channels.
  11. Mar 6, 2010 #2311 of 2401

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    It is physically impossible to upgrade or improve the infrastructure of a non-switched system in any fashion which would allow the same level of services that SDV does, so your argument is nonsense. If the CATV companies spent such a huge amount on upgrading their infrastructure that they would have to charge $10,000 a month to every subscriber in order to recoup the costs, it still would not allow the CATV companies to offer even a tiny fraction of the services a switched protocol like SDV does. Although I cannot stop you or anyone else from displaying one's ignorance by spouting off concerning issues concerning which they have not the slightest clue whatsoever, I heartily suggest you learn something about the underlying issues before expressing an opinion concerning what engineering choices a company should undertake.
  12. Mar 6, 2010 #2312 of 2401

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    CableCards have nothing directly to do with SDV, except that SDV requires a CableCard capable device. But then, so does every encrypted digital channel, SDV or not.

    There's plentyu of fault to go around in the situation, including no small part whihc must be places squarely at the feet of consumers. The cornerstone, however, lies with the FCC. They allowed the CE manufacturers to demand a UDCP spec by requiring the CATV companies (vis-a-vis CableLabs) to develop one, but then did not require them to develop a bidirectional spec. Frankly, they should never have caved in to the CE manufacturers, although admittedly given the rationale put forward at the time, this is a case of 20/20 hindsight. What they should not have under any circumstances failed to do was demand a 2-way spec (with or without a 1-way spec) from the outset.


    It's not "a tiny bit like VOD". That's like saying, "A catfish is a tiny bit like a fish." VOD is SDV, start to finish. VOD is merely one of the myriad uses to which SDV can be put. The fact VOD and IPPV are not offered with the Tuning Adapter is entirely artificial. The CATV systems don't offer it with TA based systems because they don't want to. It's all the same underlying mechanism, and that mechanism is SDV.

    SDV can do a great deal more than that. Part of the problem as it developed was the notion 2-way services would not be deployed for non-interactive video. At that time it was not envisioned by many that ordinary scheduled video would ever really require a 2-way infrastructure, and thus a standard could reasonably be developed which applied only to 1-way protocols, and ordinary scheduled programming would be covered sufficiently by the spec to allow any non-interactive video content to be viewed. It was myopic. The notion you express above is equally myopic in the other direction.

    Close enough.

    SDV provides the ability to make extremely effcient use of bandwidth. It is not limited to broadcast video, or to any particular type of broadcast video.

    The regulations (plural) are poorly written, period.

    Nothng of the sort, on several levels. CableCard support is fi8rmly embedded into the SDV specs. It is the lack of bidirectional devices (and a spec thereof) that prevents people from getting SDV. It has nothing to do with CableCards.

    Now that is much closer to the mark. SDV is a delivery mechanism. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the content being delivered or how the product in question is packed and marketed by the CATV system. The fact the CATV company chooses to provide some services in bundles, ala carte on a monthly basis for others, and individually on a per viewing basis for yet others has essentially nothing to do with the delivery mechanism.

    It was in no way premature, and the major flaw had nothing to do with the timing. The major flaw was the FCC was trying to appease the involved industries. They should never have caved in to the demands of the CE manufacturers or the CATV providers either one. They should not have even caved in to the demands of consumers. Two way services were a hot item long before the 1996 act. If anything, the FCC should have required the formation of a completely independent standards organization, not some industry lackey made up of industry members. It should have required the development of universal standards not merely for security or for specific consumer-owned devices, but for every device of any type to be used in a CATV environment. From a standards viewpoint, no differentiation should have been allowed for any particular type of programming.

    It's more complex than that, but the attitude of the CATV companies has much more to do with them wanting to control all aspects of their product delivery than anything else.
  13. Mar 6, 2010 #2313 of 2401

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    That's not the most important point, nor the best reason for supporting SDV, no matter who is doing the support. The fact is no amount of money, no matter how huge, could ever match the capabilities of SDV (or other switched protocol) by an exceedingly wide margin. It isn't that it is unwise to employ another means of delivering the potential. It is that it is impossible to employ some other means of delivering the same potential. That SDV is vastly less expensive than some other hair-brained and highly limited means of deploying additional channels is beside the main point: more a matter of icing on the cake than being the cake itself.

    That's not quite on the mark, eitehr. SDV does not only allow transmission of content when no one else is watching the competing content. It allows transmission of content at the very same time and on the same timeslot as competing content, provided it is on a different switch realm. Half the people in the city could be watching a particular program, but if a particular node (one node out of perhaps 100 - 1000 different nodes) doesn't have anyone watching the program on it, then that timeslot can be used by something else on the node in question.
  14. Shmooh

    Shmooh New Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    Cary, NC
    Sorry for the delay - Haven't checked back here in a while because the thread was so quiet.

    Thanks, lrhorer, for the clarifications. I have no disagreements with anything you said, but do have a couple questions.

    So what were the regulations trying to solve, exactly? If they weren't designed to allow third party (CE) vendors access to scheduled content, what were the regulations for? (Or is it just my former/above wording that sucks? This sentence is what I meant.)

    Oops. Guess they missed the mark on THAT one. :)

    I agree that this is an important distinction with the technologies, and that it's good to clarify it. Many people have not made the distinction between SDV the technology and SDV-supplied programming (myself included - which I will try to not be guilty of in the future).

    I am curious about how CableCards and SDV (the technology) relate to each other, though. If CableCard support is firmly embedded in the SDV technology specs, how was SDV-programming ever supposed to work with CableCard devices? Rhetorical question - you've already said that it wasn't. However, how DO they relate to each other? Just in how the signals are decrypted? I.e., SDV-supplied program streams can be decrypted via CableCard, end of story?

    No disagreement, here. This is also the crux of the problem - The delivery mechanism really shouldn't matter (from a user perspective - not a technology perspective, obviously).

    Personally, the engineer in me really likes SDV (the technology) and the ability for the CATV company to provide more content without drastic/expensive network overhauls. That's really awesome.

    However, it would be pretty friggen handy if there was a way to isolate the delivery mechanism from the technology that provides the final consumption of the content (e.g., Tivo software). This can be done, of course, but the CATV companies really don't want to allow anybody else to supply that technology.

    I don't blame them - it's their network and they don't want third parties messing it up - but I think that problem could be solved with a standardized spec. My guess is that what they really don't want is people cutting them out of the loop - hence tru2way with OMAP - running their interface software on a third party device.


    Hrm.. re-reading the end of your response, you're basically saying the same thing. Makes sense to me. Case in point:

    Agree 100%.

    Thanks for the well-informed and enlightening response.
  15. RayChuang88

    RayChuang88 Active Member

    Sep 5, 2002
    I think we should consider ourselves lucky. TiVo--being very familiar to most cable company techs and being only a two-tuner unit--works fairly well with most SDV adapter boxes provided by most cable companies out there. The people that seem to complain the most right now are Moxi HD users with the three-tuner box, which has known compatibility issues with SDV adapter boxes.

    Comcast in my area has no plans to require the use of SDV adapters, but if they do in the future, they have said the boxes MUST be TiVo Series 3 and TiVo Premiere compatible (Comcast has a lot of TiVo users in northern California, not surprising given TiVo is headquartered in Alviso, CA, which is just east of Sunnyvale, CA on California highway 237).
  16. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

    May 10, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    This will all be resolved by the end of 2012. 2013 at the latest assuming there is a delay allowed.

    FCC Floats 'Simple' Gateway, CableCARD Rules
  17. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Perhaps that's the world as seen by ComCast subscribers (especially by those like you who don't need Tuning Adapters) but it isn't the one seen by many Time Warner subscribers, noting that TWC has the second largest digital subscriber base. The norm for TWC techs is they are far from familiar with TiVo although they may have "heard" of it. And tuning adapters frequently have major problems on TWC systems, including needing to be "hit" by TWC frequently and failing to tune SDV channels reliably, resulting in lost recordings. There are several large threads in this forum with Time Warner in their titles that will illustrate this.
  18. RayChuang88

    RayChuang88 Active Member

    Sep 5, 2002
    I wonder who makes the SDV adapter boxes for Time-Warner systems. I believe that Comcast uses mostly Cisco or Motorola SDV adapters for Comcast systems in other parts of the country that require its use. You ought to read the ranting and raving on AVS Forum from Moxi HD three-tuner owners on cable systems that require the use of the SDV adapter box. I almost bought a Moxi HD box but given that Moxi doesn't support Wi-Fi connections for program guide updates and the issues with SDV adapters, I went with a TiVo HD XL instead. :up:
  19. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    TWC uses mostly Cisco TA's but some systems use, or will use, Motorola. I believe the need for TA's to be "hit" results from a flaw in the way some TWC systems operate -- not a defect in the TA itself. Tuning failures could also be due to TiVo deficiencies rather than the TA alone. When this happens for a manual tune, you can retry using Tune Up/Down and the channel will come in after one or two retries (this is documented in TiVo support pages actually). I think TiVo software could implement the equivalent for scheduled tunes -- and hope they did so in 11.0f which I don't have yet.
  20. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    The objections of the Moxi 3-tuner crowd is that the Cisco TA will only work with 2 tuners. They may not have the option of using two and even if they do who wants to deal with two of the stupid things? I believe that the Moto TA will support up to 6 tuners, same as an M-Card.

    Unfortunately, the Tuning Resolver Interface Specification explicitly states (a few lines into PDF page 39):
    Brain-dead move on the part of CableLabs.

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