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SDV FAQ

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

  1. Jan 2, 2008 #961 of 2401
    gatzke

    gatzke New Member

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    I just got the following response from Time Warner in response to my angry missive to the FCC:

    Time Warner is the only cable provider in my area. Satellite and OTA are not cable, so TWC is a monopoly cable provider in my market.

    The key issue is they have migrated to a technology (SDV) that cuts out third party providers against the wishes of the FCC.

    But the more interesting thins is that 2 way cards are coming to my area soon, but only the "Open Cable Cable Card" (which I think is Cable Card 2.0).

    I am pretty sure the Tivo HD and S3 are not going to work with cable card 2.0, so I assume I have to wait on the SDV USB fix that may be out and available in a year or so.

    Are there any Cable Card 2.0 devices out other than those leased by providers?

    It is hard for me to fully recommend Tivo HD to my friends when it cuts out half your HD channels, so I assume this issue is hurting Tivo due to TWC's abuse of monopoly.

    So no free cable for me! (Unless the FCC steps in...)
     
  2. Jan 2, 2008 #962 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    This is a meaningless statement. It is similar to saying that Ford is a monopoly provider of F-150s. It is well-established that satellite companies are competitors to cable companies, for purposes of determining whether a company is a monopoly provider of advanced (i.e., that requiring CableCards) subscription television service.
     
  3. Jan 2, 2008 #963 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Thanks--for some reason I was having trouble coming up with an apt simile. You hit it on the nose :). Cable is a partial monopoly (a phrase that I'll admit is a bit oxymoronic), since a substantial portion of the U.S. population lives in circumstances where they currently have no other choice of multichannel subscription television provider, but that situation likely won't last. It's probable that everyone will eventually have access to television service from both cable and one or more telcos at a minimum.

    If cable wasn't in competition with DBS and the telcos, they probably wouldn't be nearly so interested in SDV. If it weren't for D*'s threat to offer "up to 150 HD channels" (and Verizon's claiming the same by the end of '08) cable wouldn't be in such a hurry to beef up their HD offerings; if it weren't for SDV, they pretty much couldn't respond to the competition.
     
  4. Jan 2, 2008 #964 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Indeed, and in the end, that aspect of cable television service that is still considered a utility/monopoly, i.e., the provision of local broadcast television channels -- THAT is regulated, typically costing only $12-$13 per month, and that service does NOT require CableCards (except in TiVos, and that's TiVo's fault, since they elected not to provide manual channel mapping).
     
  5. Jan 2, 2008 #965 of 2401
    gatzke

    gatzke New Member

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    Dec 28, 2007
    Cable is currently the only way to pipe multiple channels into my house in a manner where I don't need a box on every TV. In addition to my main TV, I have four more TVs and I don't want to buy dish boxes on them (although I may have to buy Digital boxes anyway)

    I think Cable is the only way to use my existing coax. I am probably wrong, but I thought you have to run new cable so each box is connected to the dish. If they were true competition, dish would sell me one box I plug one coax into my house and all my devices easily get a boatload of channels.

    Cable is the only way for a lot of condo and apartment dwellers. Some HOAs don't allow the dish either (mine).

    Saying cable competes with DBS and telecos is like saying cars compete with bikes and planes. They all are transportation methods and all use different technology routes, but give you different advantages and costs for similar service.

    I appreciate that SDV may make cable companies competitive, but it still stinks that I have to miss out on services. Ideally they would have the USB Tivo thing working before SDV rolled out, or charge me proportional to the number of channels I actually can watch.
     
  6. Jan 2, 2008 #966 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Oh gosh, so you're fixating even more finely than I insinuated earlier; limiting your scope to your house, only, and stating that the essential service is the delivery of television channels without a box. So instead of what I suggested before, that's like saying, "Burlington Ford has a monopoly on selling F-150s without me having to drive more than 10 miles to the dealership."

    And what's worse, you're highlighting an exemption the FCC gave the satellite companies but did not give the cable companies.

    Do you realize how far off-kilter your argument is?

    Don't get me wrong: I feel for your worries. However, it is a personal issue, not an anti-trust issue.

    HOAs aren't allowed to preclude satellite service. To assert anything in that regard is to assert a right to be so lazy so as to not have to stand up for your rights. It's simply indefensible.

    No, it isn't. This isn't me talking; this is our society speaking, from the voice of its duly-elected and duly-appointed officials.
     
  7. Jan 2, 2008 #967 of 2401
    lew

    lew Active Member

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    A HOA can restrict satellite dishes to areas actually owned by the homeowner. Generally the HOA, not the individual homeowner, owns the roof and exterior walls for condo developments. I'm using the term condo in the legal sense. Townhouses are frequently not condos, but attached houses.

    A HOA can exist for regular detached homes (generally a gated community), townhouses (basically attached homes) or condos.

    Many residents of condos have no legal place to place a dish. Those people are basically limited to a balcony or patio which might not have a line of site.

    Teleco, particularly FiOS, provides meaningful competition in many areas.

    I have the option of two satellite companies, a cable company and FiOS. OTA is not really available.
    That's competition.

    That doesn't change the fact that some customer only have one cable system available to them. Having to move effectively limits competition.







     
  8. Jan 2, 2008 #968 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    You're all over the place with terms. HOA and condo are different things, and indeed the best way of determining which is which is to ask the question: Who fixes the roof? If it is the association, then we're talking condo. If it is the homeowner, then we're talking HOA.

    Note my comments were directed at HOAs, not condos. You can check the archives for my comments regarding condos, which indeed do face restrictions.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2008 #969 of 2401
    CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

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    I own a townhouse (i.e., one of several houses attached together side by side), but the HOA maintains the roof (including replacement when necessary) and paints the exteriors. I think the only place a resident can put a dish is on their balcony or patio, which is meaningful only if it has a line of sight to the satellite.
     
  10. Jan 2, 2008 #970 of 2401
    lew

    lew Active Member

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    I suspect terms like HOA are used differently in different parts of the country.

    Frequently the correct term would be condominium association but many people also use the term HOA. This would particularly true in a large development that consisted of townhouses, traditional homes and condos.

    The previous poster said his HOA restricted satellite dishes. His HOA would have the legal authority to do that if poster owned a unit in a condo.

    The best of of determining is looking at insurance. A condo insures the building against fire.





     
  11. Jan 3, 2008 #971 of 2401
    NSPhillips

    NSPhillips Member

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    Aren't all these discussions of where you can put up a dish kind of pointless on a forum for a product that only functions with cable?
     
  12. Jan 3, 2008 #972 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Yup, sure are.
     
  13. Jan 4, 2008 #973 of 2401
    jimhutchins

    jimhutchins New Member

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    May 25, 2004
    NSPhillips and bicker make a good point. If you're participating in this thread, you probably aren't a Dish or DirecTV customer. For whatever reason, you've chosen (or have been "limited to") cable and you have a HD TiVo product.

    I think the crux of the issue for many of us is the (relatively) sudden change that limited the functionality/usability/value of our TiVo HD devices.

    Personally, I invested about $1,400 in TiVo HD Equipment and services (two $300 TiVo HD's, one $200 DVR Expander, two $300 3-year service commitments). Just a couple months later, my cable company (Bright House) finally delivered additional HD programming, but they did it with SDV, so I can't access it with my TiVo (yet).

    The problem here is that this doesn't feel "fair" to most of us. We bought our TiVo's with the understanding that we'd be able to receive ALL HD programming if we (subjected ourselves to the pain of) installing CableCARD's. That isn't how it is working out (at least so far).

    Unfortunately, being "unfair" isn't illegal. Being "unfair" just sucks and that's where it ends.

    There are plenty of threads that review the pros and cons of all of the various TV sources, so I won't rehash them here. I think what most of us are feeling (and many are expressing) is a profound frustration at the complexity and compromises that seem to be so tightly linked with trying to get a reasonable selection of HD programming.

    I think that most of us just want access to as much HD programming as possible and we want to be able to view and record that HD programming on whatever device we choose (implicitly a TiVo HD or TiVo Series 3 if you're reading this thread).

    So (shouting at the wind and waving my fist in the air): I want my TiVo's to work with my cable to give me access to all of the HD programming that I pay for. That's it. End of story. End of rant. Good night and good luck.
     
  14. Jan 4, 2008 #974 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Do keep in mind that this doesn't matter one bit. How much you pay for something doesn't have any bearing on anything. I think people misdirect their outrage stemming from just how much they've spend, outrage that perhaps is best directed at themselves for spending more money on something for which they had no real guarantee would provide them the value they wanted for as long as they wanted. The is a strong aspect of personal responsibility that comes into play, here.

    It doesn't feel "fair" -- granted. Again, I believe that's a distortion of the reality. It is fair: Every party involved is doing what it is supposed to be doing (except perhaps for overzealous governmental regulators). The only gap is between what the customers took it onto themselves to foster expectations for, and the reality those customers encountered.

    And let me explain why I believe that even considering it "unfair" is off-target. Rather, it is "unfortunate", not unfair. The word "unfair" carries with it a connotation of nefarious intent. It may be because some of the most common definitions of unfairness are explicit about that, such as, "Contrary to laws or conventions, especially in commerce; unethical". If you mean the kind of "unfairness" that is simply a lack of equity due to unfortunate circumstances, without fault, then I can agree with that description. Again, no one is to blame here, except perhaps those who expected more than we were explicitly promised (and again, government regulators, for their self-centered brinksmanship).

    This is really an important point. This whole space is unnecessarily complex, because the government insists on interfering beyond the bounds of what is reasonable and necessary. Lifeline cable (broadcast local HD channels) is all that is necessary for government to get involved with. Beyond that, government should never have gotten involved, except to sanction localities that obstructed reasonable requests by new service providers to begin operating within their borders. Here is wonderful example of something good regulated into badness.
     
  15. Jan 4, 2008 #975 of 2401
    jimhutchins

    jimhutchins New Member

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    I have to disagree here. I spent $1,400 with the expectation that I'd be able to watch all the HD the cable company has to offer with my HD TiVo's if I got CableCARD's for them. I based my decision to purchase a THREE YEAR subscription on (I think) a reasonable assumption that I would be able to use my TiVo HD's as advertised and as intended for at least those three years. I was perfectly willing to fork over ~$39/month (net effective cost) for that functionality. I was not and am not willing to pay $700/month (the net effective cost of the two months where I had full functionality). My objection here is that the functionality has been truncated VERY early in my TiVo's projected life and during my subscription. That changes the value proposition and thus the cost becomes a valid factor.
     
  16. Jan 4, 2008 #976 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Did you give all that $1,400 to the cable company, and receive from them a guarantee that in return for that money you would be able to do what you suggested? No. Of course not. You gave most of that money to TiVo, who didn't even have the power to provide you such assurances, even if they were willing to do so. So this goes back to you creating an expectation. Therefore, if you want to assign blame for things not living up to that expectation, you need to assign it to yourself. Again, personal responsibility.

    Again, TiVo never advertised that it would work with SDV. TiVo's lawyers have made sure that their assurances, in contracts and in advertisements, kept them clear of any responsibility for things beyond their control, like SDV. It's a very hard, cold truth, but we have to learn to live with it.
     
  17. Jan 4, 2008 #977 of 2401
    jimhutchins

    jimhutchins New Member

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    May 25, 2004
    I voluntarily gave (TiVo) my $1,400. For that, I take full personal responsibility. TiVo (like nearly all corporations) made no guarantees. HOWEVER, if you go to TiVo.com, the information that TiVo provides says that the TiVo HD "Works with any cable provider using CableCARDs" they even have a double-asterisks that warns "TiVo® HD and Series3™ HD DVR: Does not support satellite service. Two CableCARDs™ may be required for dual tuner functionality and to receive dual digital cable channels. Cable service required to receive cable channels."

    Even if you dig into the Product Features, Product Specifications, Product FAQs, and CableCARD FAQ's on TiVo's site, there is STILL no mention of the SDV limitation.

    So, yes, I believe that TiVo (to whom I gave all that money) created an EXPECTATION that THEIR product which they describe as having been "Designed specifically for cable customers" will (fully) work with my cable service.

    I don't begrudge my cable provider using SDV. They have service issues that I DO hold against them, but SDV was a reasonable business and technical decision for Bright House to make.

    SDV has been an issue for more than six months (note the date on the beginning of this thread). TiVo's web site, advertising, and literature STILL lack any mention of the SDV limitation. For that, as a consumer, I can certainly hold TiVo responsible. The implementation of SDV is beyond TiVo's control, the non-disclosure of TiVo's inability to (currently) support SDV isn't. They could modify their web site before you post your next reply to me. I'm betting they won't.

    So, the bottom line for me is that TiVo has a corporate responsibility to disclose this technical issue (whether beyond their control or not). TiVo's lawyers had them put footnote after footnote on the bottom of nearly every TiVo HD web page. I can and do hold them responsible for failing to add a footnote about SDV.
     
  18. Jan 4, 2008 #978 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    See, that's part of the argument that I don't get. It's all new HD programming that you didn't have access to before, yet somehow you feel that you're paying for it. When you invested in TiVo, there was probably a ton of content already on the cable that you couldn't access with them, but which was available to cable STB lessors, on free and subscription VOD channels. Theoretically, you were paying for that as well, since those box lessors weren't charged anything more for access to that, other than charges ostensibly being paid for their box. The only reason why the expansion of channels as SDV services bugs you is because you want access to this new content whereas you didn't particularly want that other stuff.

    The cable providers are in a no win situation. They only way that they can make a significant addition to their HD programming offerings to combat satellite's "up to 150 HD channels" advertising onslaught is to dump a huge portion of their analog tiers (almost of all of it, if they wanted to eventually offer 150 HD channels) or go to SDV. Any other way of expanding their bandwidth would have required drastic equipment updates throughout their systems, taking years to complete, costing probably billions of dollars nationwide and resulting in new services that couldn't be accessed by Series3 TiVos or any other current digital cable tuning devices, since it wouldn't have expanded their tuning range beyond 870 MHz. Dumping large numbers of analog channels was going to enrage their analog TV using customers and going to SDV would piss off their CableCARD customers. There are an estimated 300 million analog-only televisions currently in use in this country and an estimated 300 thousand CableCARD users. So, who would you choose to piss off?

    I'm sure that the cable providers who've deployed SDV are prepared to lose every last one of their CableCARD-using subs (but hoping that it won't come to that). They're not prepared to immediately lose large portions of their analog television dependent subs.
     
  19. Jan 4, 2008 #979 of 2401
    lew

    lew Active Member

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    Very well said. The cable companies need to add more HD stations and SDV is the only way to do it NOW.

    Analog OTA will soon be history. Cable companies may be able to go all digital at that point, customers will sort of understand they need some kind of box for their tv sets to work. The problem is cable systems may not be able to wait a year. The second problem is some cable systems may see the need to keep some or all of the analog channels.




     
  20. Jan 4, 2008 #980 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    So sue them. Seriously. If you really believe TiVo actually promised you what you're implying that they promised you, then sue them. You won't win, because you are pointing to only one piece of information TiVo made available to you; other pieces of information TiVo made available indicated otherwise. Remember, you were never able to get PPV or VOD with TiVo. That's not covered in that statement you quoted, and folks haven't been able to access those aspects of cable service since the beginning.

    And let's be clear, I wish what you're alleging was correct. I'm disappointed that it's not.
     

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