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SDV FAQ

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

  1. Aug 31, 2007 #301 of 2401
    skylab

    skylab New Member

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    Jul 25, 2007
    Early reports indicate that SDV does not save as much bandwidth as hoped. To simplify things a bit, think about the demographics in your area -- there are probably high income neighborhoods and lower income neighborhoods (rich people don't build big houses in trailer parks). Thus, hoseholds with HDTV tend to be grouped togther in the same neighborhoods. Moreover, people with HDTVs tend to watch a heck of a lot more hdtv than sd analog. If only HDTV stations are put on sdv, chances are that the people in these high income neighborhoods are watching a good number of the HD channels at the same time.

    To get the bandwidth savings, the entire lineup needs to be placed on sdv. This means an all digital lineup. However, going all digital, in and of itself, makes room for 150-200 or so HD stations without the use of sdv.

    So, it really makes little sense to use sdv at this point without going all digital. Nevertheless, one particular company is going full steam ahead, while most others seem to be adopting a wait and see approach.
     
  2. Aug 31, 2007 #302 of 2401
    cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

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    Having been a service tech for a cable company up until 2 years ago, I actually saw more hdtv's in poor neighborhoods than rich neighborhoods. Some of these people would pay their cable bill before they bought the kiddoes new shoes. :eek:
    Also, HD channels are certainly not the only channels going sdv. Check out the Austin lineup on the first post.
     
  3. Sep 1, 2007 #303 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Or when the vast majority of people watch the same few channels -- which is generally the case at 8:00PM.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2007 #304 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    I doubt you're typical. I find that I'm often very typical in the grand scheme of things. We'd purchase TNT, USA, Sci-Fi, F/X, Discovery, AMC, ABC Family, Lifetime, Food Network, CNN Headline News, TWC, MSNBC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, and BBC America. If my pricing is correct, with a la carte I'd pay $75, instead of the current package price of $59.45 (Basic $9.55, Expanded $41.95, Digital Classic $7.95). And I'd still have to pay $19.59 for equipment and fees (cable box, plus two cable card, plus a remote), plus $4.58 in taxes, regardless of which way I pay for programming.

    And without BBC America, the difference is even more pronounced: $71 a la carte; $51.50 as a package.
     
  5. Sep 1, 2007 #305 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Citation, please.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2007 #306 of 2401
    mike_camden

    mike_camden New Member

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    Dec 11, 2006
    I agree with you here. As much as I would like a workeable ala carte package that actually saved money, I saw numbers a couple of year ago that really surprised me. Based on the 15 or so digital channels that are watched a lot in our house, we would pay more also. Among the channels we would choose would be ESPN 1 and 2, the NFL Network, the Discover channels, National Geographic, MTV, some of the home improvement channels, and some of the children channels.

    The numbers I saw convinced me that the current pricing structure based on volume of subscribers saves money while providing more channels (many of which are never tuned in our house).

    Sorry no sources or links; like I said it was a couple of years ago.
     
  7. Sep 1, 2007 #307 of 2401
    jercra

    jercra New Member

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    Sep 1, 2007
    There seems to be a lot of talk on here about how going all digital makes SDV unnecessary. This is very shortsighted in my opinion. Cable Companies are not going with SDV to simply provide more channels or compete with D*. There is a bigger picture. The end game with SDV is QAM sharing in which all video, VOD and HSD share the same set of QAMs. This will allows the cable companies to offer what they believe will be an unlimited number of channels and virtually an unlimited number VOD streams (HD and SD) as well as vastly higher HSD rates. In the end the investment in SDV, which is pretty minimal by cable company standards, has great yields for both the cable companies and their customers.
     
  8. Sep 1, 2007 #308 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Well, it's a bit of an overstatement, but I agree it happens that some rich people have old, dinky sets and some fairly low income people have very nice TVs, indeed. When I was in the cable business - back when TVs were gas powered - I saw many brand new and moderately full featured TVs in tenements, and lots of ancient TVs in million dollar homes. One in particular was Red McCombs. He is one of the richest men in San Antonio, and when he had a problem, they usually sent me out as a matter of PR. The artwork in his foyer cost nearly as much as my entire home, yet he had a television which was at least 15 years old. About 75% of the time, it was that old TV which was the source of the problem, rather than the CATV plant. Even though he was rich enough to purchase an NBA basketball franchise (the San Antonio Spurs) outright, he would always have the set repaired rather than just buying a new one. Go figure.

    Generally speaking, right now SD channels benefit more from SDV simply because it is mostly the more popular channels which are offered in HD. SDV has its greatest benefits for channels which are watched by a limited number of people at a given time. It's greatest benefit is for interactive events like On Demand and for low volume offerings. In conventional analog or digital CATV broadcasts it doesn't really pay to nail up the bandwidth for a channel whose viewing share is only .1%, but with SDV, the provider can put perhaps 30 or 40 channels with a .1% viewer share in a single SDV "channel". Any channel with a 1% or greater viewer allocation is probably going to be streaming on most of the nodes anyway, so SDV doesn't give as much benefit for the cost.

    Another advantage of SD over HD in SDV is it's allocation profile. I was speaking with an old friend of mine from my CATV days who is now an engineering consultant for the CATV company. This is from memory, so the numbers might be a bit off, but as I recall, he said a single digital stream could handle 6 HD channels or 16 SD channels. If we divide up a stream into 48 allocation units, then an SD channel requires 3 units and an HD channel requires 8. Allocating an HD channel to a stream requires there be 8 available units on the stream. The only mixed allocation which makes full use of the entire stream is 3 HD channels and 8 SD channels. This means the most effective use of the bandwidth is either to allocate certain streams as HD-only or else allocate half of certain streams as HD. Either way, the best use of bandwidth will occur if all of the HD channels are fixed. Pre-allocating less than 100% of the HD channels results in an increasingly significant waste of bandwidth. This of course must be balanced with the waste of bandwidth associated with pre-allocating a channel which few people are watching. Unless the entire lineup is SDV, the best compromise is to limit the number of HD channels allocated to SDV streams and maximize the number of SD offerings on SDV streams, unless the SD channel in question has a very large share of the viewing audience at any given time.
     
  9. Sep 1, 2007 #309 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Neighborhood centric or not, this is precisely where SDV has its advantage. 'Not necessarily just in linguistic demographics, but every minority demographic. It allows the CATV company to address the desires of niche hobbyists, for example, or medical professionals, or computer geeks. They can offer the Pottery Channel, Surgeon's Weekly, and Computer Geeks Digest - all for additional profit, of course.
     
  10. Sep 1, 2007 #310 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    The idea is to require the CATV system offer a la carte programming, not that all programming must be a la carte. It would be perfectly fine for the CATV company still still offer "bundles". That way, if the consumer only wants what now constitutes basic cable plus Discovery Kid's Channel, they can get DKC without having to pay for the entire enhanced tier.

    Again, I don't think most people will come off any cheaper and probably will choose to go with tiered services. Some, however, may fair very well with a la carte.
     
  11. Sep 1, 2007 #311 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    They just plain lied to you, flat out. By law they are required to provide CableCards, period.

    I suggest you write a letter to the General Manager of the CATV system. Be extremely specific about who said what, and if possible give names and dates. Inform him or her you are writing to the FCC. If you have a personal lawyer, speak to him about the matter, and don't have him or her take any action (that will cost you money), but get the details on what it would take to file a class action lawsuit. Again, obtain specifics as to where, when, and how much it costs to file. Then as well as mentioning the FCC in your letter to the GM, also reference your lawyer by name and give details concerning the possibility of a lawsuit. Don't just issue a blank threat, but show there is some real muscle behind the threat.

    I think you might be astounded at the results, and I can just about guarantee you will get much faster and more satisfying results than a thousand letters to the FCC. If not, well then go ahead with the letter to the FCC. It can't hurt.
     
  12. Sep 1, 2007 #312 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    You (and lots of others) seem to be missing the main point of SDV. Yes, for the CATV provider it does offer the potential of offering an essentially unlimited number of channels. This is good for the consumer of course because it gives them a vastly greater palette from which to choose. More importantly, however, it offers INTERACTIVE SERVICES. The most obvious is Video on Demand. It also allows for things like games, opinion polls, even elections. It allows for special features exactly like those provided on current DVD offerings, including non-theatrical releases, alternate endings, and alternate Points of View. It allows for Web Browsing and online banking. It will allow for video conferencing and v-mail.
     
  13. Sep 1, 2007 #313 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    Very little indeed. Whoever this is hasn't a clue. There is a huge difference between M-cards and CC 2.0 specifications. CC 2.0 has not yet been deployed, period, so suggesting TiVo was in some way deficient for not deploying CC 2.0 spec devices is just so much horse$#%&. TiVo would still be waiting to deploy a box if it had waited for CC 2.0. As it was they waited well over a year for CC 2.0 to be resolved. If they had waited for CC 2.0, it might have bankrupted them. Whoever this butt-munch is needs to learn a little bit about what he is speaking before he opens his mouth and spews manure like this all over the place.
     
  14. Sep 1, 2007 #314 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    No, no, NO!. OCAP would not allow the CATV company to replace the OS. That would be essentially impossible (for a specific box, it would be physically possible, but the OS which runs on one box will not likely run on any other box). Secondly, it is not the OS which provides the features of which you, I and millions of TiVo users are so fond, it is the TiVo application, which is a very different thing. That said, OCAP won't allow the CATV company to disrupt the UI features of the TiVo, either. OCAP is middleware. It's still a lousy idea, but like any middleware it won't have any affect on the application layer. Well, hypothetically, anyway. Occasionally there can be an unintentional interaction between a piece of middleware and an application (perhaps even one not related to the middleware) which breaks something. It's also always possible that in modifying an application so it can work with a piece of middleware the developer may accidentally break something, but that is also another matter.

    It's pork barrel. OCAP has been proposed as part of the CC 2.0 specification. The CC 2.0 specification is what covers 2-Way CableCards. If OCAP is part of the specification, then no device (TiVo or otherwise) will receive Cable Labs CableCard 2.0 certification unless it meets OCAP requirements.

    The thing many people in this forum and elsewhere seem to be missing or forgetting is this is not just a TiVo issue.

    That's not the issue with OCAP. One of the main problems with OCAP is that the CATV company will be controlling what software the user is using to provide the services and in effect monopolizing the OCAP providers / developers. At it's most sinister it has Big Brother overtones. At it's most likely it has Microsoft overtones. OCAP oponents feel the user should be able to decide which software they want to use, not some corporation. As a somewhat similar example, think of the Network Services on the TiVo. One can implement them using TiVo Desktop, or one may choose Galleon. Some day perhaps there will be a third or fourth choice. Another example is Web Browsers. Some people use Internet Exploder, while other use NetEscape, and others of us use FirelessFox, or some other offering. Any of these can be updated automatically if the user wishes, but with OCrAP, the user would be restricted to using software developed by Joe's Bait Shop and Software Emporium or Identity Theft Specialists and no recourse to preventing a bug or spyware infested copy from being installed, and no way to remove it (without hacking the TiVo).
     
  15. Sep 1, 2007 #315 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Depending on at what point in the network you are speaking, the concentration may be vastly higher than that. There are some 100 million or more lines here in San Antonio, but the Local Exchange Carrier (AT&T) does not have 20 million lines going from San Antonio to Austin, for example, nor does it have anything nearly like 20 million lines between its LSOs. The 5:1 number is a good rule of thumb for most business PBXs (other than telemarketing firms who try their best to keep every single line in their building active nearly continuously). For non-commercial lines especially, the concentration is much, much higher. Think about it. A 1:5 concentration assumes the peak useage is going to be 1 user in 5 on the phone. To reach this level, the average user must be on the phone 1/5 of the day, or at least 1/5 of peak hours. Even assuming a relatively narrow peak useage window of 5 hours, that still has the average user on the phone at least an hour every evening. Do you spen an hour every evening on the phone? I don't. I maybe spend an hour a week during peak hours on the phone, if that.
     
  16. Sep 1, 2007 #316 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    That won't happen. Once the user has initiated a channel download, the system won't release that bandwidth until the user changes channels. If the user does receive the banner, in general he will only need to wait until someone else in the node service area changes channels. With 500 houses on the node and the ability to deliver easily 1500 SD channels or 600 HD channels, it's just not going to happen very often to even one subscriber anywhere in the node, let alone to the same subscriber. You'll suffer network issues at the source far more often, and that affects thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of subscribers at once.

    Besides that, get a life!! We're only talking about a TV program, here.
     
  17. Sep 1, 2007 #317 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Well wait a minute -- we don't even know what cable company is involved here. Not every cable company is required to provide CableCards.
     
  18. Sep 1, 2007 #318 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    By that logic, every home LAN needs a 100 Mbps feed into the internet, and the ISPs all need 1,000,000 Terrabit/sec feeds into the Internet backbone. The channel pool can literally be in the millions, tens of millions, or even bilions or trillions and it will not matter in the least. The maximum number of channels DELIVERED (let alone available and being paid for by subscribers) in the system is equal to the number of nodes times the number of channels per node. In a city the size of San Antonio, for example, that would be 300,000 subscribers divided by 500 subscribers per node multiplied by about 9600 SD channels or 3600 HD channels per node or a total of 57,600,000 SD channels or 2,160,000 HD channels all watched simultaneously across the city. Of course those are both ridiculous numbers, but it is the theoretical limit of SDV. (The CATV company's switches wouldn't even handle a small fraction of that.) The odds of the network seeing that level of utilization across the city is zilch. That completely answers what the "expensive" SDV gear has bought the CATV company. Oh, by the way, the SDV gear is PRECISELY the same gear needed to provide digital services. Hmm. 'Sounds like a really good investment to me.

    Now back to the individual user. If we assume the node feeding your house is at the limit of 2000 subscribers and every house has 4 Televisions or DVRs and all 4 are on different HD channels in every house (8000 televisions and only 1 watching ABC, 1 watching NBC, 1 watching CBS, 1 watching HBO, 1 watching ESPN, etc???!!!! and every one of them in HD???!!!!) then over half the people in the node are going to be SOL. Do you really think this is going to happen frequently? It will require the watchers in your node to have watching habits which give CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, ESPN, CNN, WTBS, WGN, and Discovery combined a Nielsen rating of under 1%. Yeah, that's going to be a really persistent problem...

    EDIT: I have been reliably informed that some of the CATV providers, at least, are running compression levels that allow no more than two HD channels per stream along wth one SD channel or 11 SD channels per stream. Even so, the odds any particular user will suffer froma congested network on a regular basis are extremely low.
     
  19. Sep 1, 2007 #319 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    It is packet switched. That is why it is called Switched Digital Video. That is also why it has to be 2-Way.
     
  20. Sep 1, 2007 #320 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Hmm. You may be right. Reading through the message I got the impression it was TWC in Hawaii, but re-reading, it may not be the case. Nonetheless, I can pretty much assure the OP a letter to the local GM of the CATV company will work wonders, while writing to government agencies - or even the CEO of a national corporation is liable to get nothing whatsoever done.
     

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