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SDV FAQ

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

  1. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    The CE industry has stated what they want, but what they want doesn't help existing owners of TiVo S3 and TiVo HD. The CE industry wants "Digital Cable Ready Plus", a light-weight alternative to <tru2way> which will allow them to add access to SDV, VOD and IPPV services to low-end cable products. The thing is, if they actually do get DCR+, I don't see where they have much incentive for them to create any plethora of <tru2way> products, which is what the cable industry wants them to do.

    Cable will argue that the biggest part of the problem is that the high cost of including <tru2way> complaince currently forms a barrier to low-end products accessing SDV channels and that they solve that by making the tuning resolver available to customers; access to IPPV and VOD content isn't all that compelling in the low-end. Compatibility with the tuning resolver will only cost a few bucks to add to a new product--it's a USB port and a tiny bit of software.
     
  2. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Only where all channels are SDV.

    Regardless, the separable security mandate is a failure, now -- rejected by CE manufacturers. Samsung pulled CableCard from most of its HL-S models (as compared to HL-R). Other manufacturers have also made it clear that they have no interest in serving this market. Customers are simply not willing to pay enough to make it worthwhile. Ask yourself why Motorola, even, isn't selling DCH- series boxes to customers.

    So there really isn't anything left for the FCC to protect with regard to what the separable security mandate was all about.
     
  3. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Fascinating. We both apply precisely the same logic to the same situation and yet arrive at different conclusions. Of course, neither of us is either "right" or "wrong", we just have different criteria applied to what we consider "best". In short, what's "best" for me and what's "best" for you are two different things. "Vive la differance", I say.

    "Mythical" is a good term for it. Until it's sitting on the counter waiting for me to pick up, it's vapor.

    I think the answer to that is it's not very likely we're going to see one any time soon - soon being defined as "within the next 6 months". Hopefully I'm wrong, or else they'll see the light and come up with a better solution.

    Probably the local CATV provider. I can't see TiVo wanting to stock a half dozen different devices which won't work with Customer X's TiVo unless they knwo which one to order and will quit working as soon as Customer X moves to another city.
     
  4. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    In the context of your question, yes, although it depends on the geographical size of the CATV system. Large CATV systems may have more than one headend, and they usually have more than one hubsite. The hubsite is where the QAM is created and injected into the fiber. Each individual datastream is created at the headend or headends and usually sent as a raw broadband data stream to the hubsite, where each individual program stream is extracted and muxed together with two or more other program streams and modulated into a QAM. A hole bunch of frequency division muxed QAM signals are combined into the RF spectrum along with the analog videos and any other signals on the CATV system. The entire 750MHz or 1GHz spectrum is then AM modulated onto a 1310nm lightware carrier using a semiconductor LASER. That is injected into the fiber and carried to the node. I bleieve some systems actually make use of two downstream fibers each with half the RF spectrum embedded into its carrier.

    Small CATV systems whose plant area is not more than 5 miles or so in radius may not employ hubsites and almost surely have only one headend.
    Each cable sheath leaving the headend or hub as the case may be may carry as many as 288 individual independant fiber strands. There is a single (or as I mentioned in some cases two) continuous strand of fiber in the fiber bundle carrying the information out to the node, and usually a single fiber carryng the information from the node back to the headend. It is posssible, however, for a single fiber to carry both upstream and downsteam signals, but the economics make it more attractive for most systems to use two fibers.

    The two services are based upon identical technologies, yes.
     
  5. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

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    I keep my music channels on the list, but just give them all 3 thumbs down ;)
     
  6. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    No, but they can refuse to give you the CableCard if you don't get the HD tier, in which case the user won't receive the HD local channel.
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    I think it's more like where a significant portion are SDV- significant being in the eye of any one particular consumer.

    Agreed it hasn't done what they wanted it to but mostly that's because it was too little too late and so was behind the curve- security wasn't the problem it's the fact that there were no open standards to even provide the services from 5-10 years ago (like ippv and program guides) never mind the services of today like SDV and vod . I could guess 25 reasons why moto doesn't sell the box in retail just like you could guess at 25 reasons why they don't. I haven't seen them say why they don't. My #1 guess it that without a guarantee of the 2 way services running on the box they would need to disable all those features or deal with a torrent of returns and worse from customers who live or move into areas with SA or other headends that wouldn't permit the 2 way features to work.

    not really sure what you are saying. Isn't OCAP/tru2way going to still use separable security? (at least for the time being). Isn't Panasonic pretty much in that space? And if I'm remembering 1996 when the law was passed retail cable boxes weren't exactly being produced by all the major CE's. Ditto about all the differnt dates the FCC ruled on the issue. So not sure the law or FCC have been attempting to protect any incumbants in the market so much as create a new market for others. (and who knows the real reason for that- to benefit consumers, benefit ce, put the screws to cable, allow best buy to get in on the cable box action....not sure anyone really knows the truth except the pols and bureaucrats as well as the lobbyists that swayed them themselves- and not sure if any of them will tell the truth publicly anyway.)
     
  8. bxojr

    bxojr New Member

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    This may already have been answered, so any pointers are appreciated.

    I'm curious about whether anyone with the required technical knowledge has dug through the spec for the tuning resolver and can say whether it could theoretically support video on demand, if the cable companies decided they wanted to support that. (I realize that's a big "if.")

    Or are we going to have to wait for the Series 4?
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    I've asked before and the concensus is it's not going to happen. To complicated apparently with billing involved and getting "guide" data down to the tivo.
     
  10. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    There surely can be. I don't know the specifics, but assigning them to an SDV QAM would be one reason why. OTOH, I can't imagine why the CATV provider would do so. Nonetheless, when I first got CableCards, I couldn't get the music channels, then for a while I could, and now I can't again.
     
  11. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    That depends on how many you actually want. As I said, there are maybe half a dozen or so I'd like to get.

    Trust me, the loss of a few HD channels pales compared with the releif at not having to use the 8300HD. POS is an understatement.

    Well, I can't test the PPV / VOD channels one way or the other, and I might have made a mistake or two, but I think the list is pretty accurate, or was when it was posted. Several channels have been added, deleted, and moved since then. Some might have been moved from linear to SDV.
     
  12. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I wouldn't really call a year and a half ago "fairly recently". It was announced at CES more than 2 years ago, and development began long before that.

    Whatever the letter or the wording, the intent was to benefit consumers, electronics makers, and CATV providers. As I've mentioned again and again, a lack of separable security has been a major pain to all three. That the FCC botched the attempt has nothing to do with the fact everyone wanted it. They all just wanted different versions of it, and couldn't agree on one version despite over 15 years of negotiations. That's when and why the FCC finally stepped in, and then blew it. Rather than developing (or forcing CableLabs to develop) a broadly based standard based upon superior engineering without undue regard for what CATV vendors, consumer electronics manufacturers, Hollywood, or consumers wanted, they tried to soft-pedal their interference and acquiesce to everyone's desires. The result: a huge hole into which no 3rd party manufacturer wants to step - for excellent reasons, and both consumers and CATV providers left virtually where they started. The only one really benefiting in the least from this mess is the CATV equipment manufacturers.

    It's not the cable companies who are actively attempting this, despite the fact their actions are indeed having that result. They really have no choice, certainly not in the long term. After allowing for theft, loss, and breakage they make very little or no net profit on delivering STBs, and their margins are thin on DVRs. Add to that the massive headache of trying to keep track of hundreds of thousands of boxes sitting in environments and locations which are completely out of their control, and the large payments they make to customers who claim the STB caused a fire in their house or electrocuted them, and it is a revenue stream (or lack thereof) with which on the whole they would just as soon not deal. If every customer were to purchase a 2-way receiver with separable security, the CATV companies would be very happy indeed never to have to purchase another single STB. It's the revenue stream the STB allows them to produce they want, not the minuscule revenue from the STB itself. That and the fact the additional services allow them to compete more successfully (at least from a marketing and PR perspective) with satellite services.

    If the CATV equipment manufacturers had been forced to a single standard from the outset, we wouldn't have this problem. The only ones who actively want the TiVo and other 2-way devices strong-armed out of the business is the CATV equipment manufacturers. They want to sell their own STBs and DVRs to the CATV companies. It's true CableLabs obstinance is allowing them to do just that because of a very different agenda of their very own, but that's a different matter. Believe me, the CATV companies would love to be able to buy equipment from more than 1 manufacturer, rather than being locked into a single proprietary system. They would not necessarily do so, but the fact they had the option would allow them to bring purchasing pressures to bear against their equipment provider.

    They've done a terrible job, period, to the detriment of everyone including the CATV providers, the 3rd party manufacturers, and consumers. Even the CATV equipment manufacturers are very likely going to be negatively impacted by this mess, although as of yet they have not been to any significant extent.

    You need to look around. TWC is not the only cable service provider. There are more than 50 CATV companies in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Forty-eight are members of CableLabs. There are two of them here in San Antonio (TWC and Grande Communications), competing directly with one another. It's true most consumers only have a choice of one, even though I and many others in San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Austin, and surrounding areas have a choice of two.

    It's not even a tiny fraction of the pain in the rear it is to use the Scientific Atlanta 8300HD.

    I don't know what market you are in, but here in San Antonio under TWC the STB is most certainly not free. Each STB costs $7.95 a month. What's more, comparing their STB with the TiVo is comparing apples and oranges. The SA 8300HD DVR rents for $17.90 a month, plus $9.94 for each additional DVR.
    For me, that would be over $45 a month just for the DVRs.

    This is not usually the case. Most if not all CATV providers have not reduced the number of channels - including HD channels - the Series III class DVRs were able to receive at the time they were released (except for those which have been removed entirely, of course). The new channels are almost all going on to SDV, but most providers are keeping the older channels on linear QAMs. Of course, your local CATV provider might choose their lineup differently, but the fact is for the most part at this point in time the older channels are also the most popular and as such derive the least benefit (or none at all) for the CATV provider if delivered via SDV. It's very low market share channels and things like VOD and IPPV which benefit most from SDV.

    The largest number of SDV channels are VOD and IPPV. VOD is made almost totally moot by having a DVR (especially a TiVo) in the first place. IPPV by definition is not charged to the consumer until they watch the ordered event, so by definition, you aren't paying for them. The point everyone seems to be missing, however, is that if the providers weren't deploying SDV, the consumer would still be paying the same amount (or more) for their cable service and yet still would not be getting those channels. For the most part, SDV hasn't lost most consumers anything. Yes, in SDV systems those of us who have TiVos are getting somewhat fewer channels than those who do not, but we're also usually paying less. My CATV bill dropped nearly $40 a month by going with TiVos, and the service I am getting is worth a great deal more than what I had with CATV provided DVRs and STBs. Balance that against the 6 or 7 channels I don't get but would like to get, and it's not a bad deal.

    Oh, and yet once again, CableCards have always been able to receive SDV. CableCards are not, not, NOT!!! the issue, and neither is SDV itself. The issue in its entirely is the lack of any single standard (or the existence of multiple standards, if you will) for bidirectional hosts. If there were a unified standard for bidirectional hosts, then Tivo and anyone else on the planet who wanted to could manufacture a 2-way host compatible with over 98&#37; of the CATV systems in America - including SDV and every other 2-way protocol, barring only those few grandfathered under exclusions for CC 1.0. As it is now, while every box produced by the CATV equipment manufacturers is 100% compatible with every single one of their customers' systems, no consumer electronics equipment manufacturer can produce a 2-way box which is compatible with more than 40% of their customers' systems, and that is just not an acceptable situation for the 3rd party manufacturers, including TiVo. The CATV equipment manufacturers' customer is also not going to pick up their equipment and move to another city with an incompatible system, but the 3rd party manufacturer's customer is not unlikely to do just that.

    If anyone wants the CATV systems to get behind an effort rather than attempting to block it, then they need to push for a unified standard for bidirectional hosts, not try to get SDV shut down. Writing to the FCC complaining about SDV (or complaining about it in this forum) isn't going to help in the least. Of course, pushing for a unified standard may not help, either, but it has a vastly greater chance of suceeding and accomplishing the same effective goal.
     
  13. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Only if you're a TiVo user, and only because you need the channel map downloaded to the CableCARDs in order to use the TiVo guide data. The user should be receiving the channel, and can tune it with any clear-QAM-capable receiver, including TiVo; I have used the "raw" channel and subchannel number to manually tune local DTV channels on my TiVo while waiting to get service set up. Even in places where TWC advertises themselves as "the home of free local HDTV", I don't think that they'll give you CableCARDs for free.

    Again, this is only a problem for TiVo users, so far as I know. It's really TiVo's problem--they should develop a way to keep track of channel mappings on various cable system (actually, the cable providers are required by regulations to keep valid PSIP loops running in QAMs containing local DTV rebroadcasts, but I get the impression that few of them are compliant with that requirement).
     
  14. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    You said, "It makes any separable security mandate almost moot in regions where SDV is deployed." The mandate isn't moot in a region because one particular customer perceives it to be. Individual perception only affect individual experience.

    I will grant that we can say that SDV nullifies the effect of the separable security mandate in areas where the majority of the most popular 20 cable channels are on SDV.

    Sorry, but that sounds like nothing more than empty euphemisms. Let's stick to hard, cold fact for this: CE manufacturers offered it, and enough people simply didn't want to pay extra for it. What we in this thread might think is important Average Joe simply might not care about.

    I doubt two way features would be the #1 reason: Ask the folks at TiVo how they like handling calls from customers having trouble getting CableCards working, and/or keeping them working as time goes on.

    I was saying that since CE manufacturers have given up on separable security, for market-driven reasons, there is no reason for the FCC to continue to ban integrated security. JMHO.
     
  15. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    And I believe that was deliberate. We have a divided country. While we've been trending in one direction for thirty years, towards a pro-business environment, there is still enough consumerist mojo out there that entities like the FCC still need to project the appearance of placating consumers on occasion. However, when they do so, they do so in a practically inoperable manner, i.e., the separable security ban.
     
  16. mike_camden

    mike_camden New Member

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    I'm on Comcast and have received the music channels without problem on a TivoHD. Even when they messed up the channel mapping and I was unable to receive the vast majority of digital channels, I still received the music channels. The first time they tried to fix my channel mapping, I lost a bunch of channels (including the music channels) for a couple of hours, but they eventually fixed it all, and I have had all of my subscribed channels including music choice channels since late August.
     
  17. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    bicker-

    while i would agree the ban on integrated security has done nothing positive at this stage- i dont think the availability of separable security should be a problem for anyone. That wasn't exactly a surprise and they had years and years and extension after extension to implement.

    In my mind it should have been a ban on any proprietary systems (2-way, ppv, vod, sdv, whatever)- see irhorer's post. As he put it so well- why would moto want to sell their dch boxes when at best it would only work in 40&#37; of the markets because the 2 ways standards dont exist?

    For example - it's hard to argue that europe's consumers, telco's, and handset manufacturers haven't benefited with the single GSM system they have for their cell networks.

    But even assuming the ban is silly- I dont think the rules forcing separable security (cablecards) to be available is a problem at all. At some point it is just more efficient for the cable company's and the consumers and the CE people all to have one system they can gravitate to (see gsm). For example- they will use M-cards for tru2way- right? Panasonic and comcast at least seem to be heavily into that and I think it just might wind up being an end game (or at least a significant stop towards the end game for this time period).
     
  18. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    How can you, presumably a TiVo S3 or TiVo HD user, possibly say that? Without the ban on separable security, neither product would exist (nor would this subforum of TiVo Community).
     
  19. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    I think you are wrong.

    tivo s3's existed well before the integration ban came along- and at a point when it wasn't even clear the integration ban would actually be implemented widely.

    there where 2 stages to the regulations

    the first stage some years ago required all cable companies to provide cablecards to all that asked. THAT helped make the tivo S3 possible and in my mind was a great thing.

    the next stage was last July the FCC basically said that cable MUST use cable cards themselves. To me I haven't seen a single benefit to that. There used to be other cablecard devices to be bought. Now you can essentially buy tivo or a closeout of some sort. I have to agree with bicker on this one- there has been no positive change to the market between when cable had to provide cards and when cable had to use cards themselves. In my head forcing cable into using cards themselves does nothing without forcing them to also use some universal open standard for 2-way.

    Perhaps one could argue that forcing cable to use cards too made M-cards actually show up. That might be a positive difference I suppose. But OCAP/true2way would have forced that and that's not an FCC regulation (yet). Also the FCC was already riding cable about M-cards independantly of the ban.

    look at cablevision for example- they are one of the big 4/5 cable company's. They have a ban exemption (or at least a cablecard exemption) They do not need to use cablecards in their own devices. Yet the rule requiring them to rent people a cablecard does apply. So people can use their S3's or THD's in cablevision areas.

    Thinking some more I guess one could argue that the cable company's using cablecards themselves got them to figure out how to use cablecards themselves. But that seems unclear.

    1) just reading the comcast thread regularly seems they still don't know how to set up cablecards in tivo well.
    2) it seems that once tivo came on the scene with a viable cablecard product many cable company's quickly worked out the major kinks in their systems.
    3) Third cable still treats tivo's different from their own cablecard installs- there seems to be plenty of headends that you can pick up a rental box (which might have a cablecard preinstalled) but still can't pick up a cablecard to self install- mines one of them.
    4) if there was an improvement in any particular area maybe the ocap/true2way would have made it occur anyway in a few months...

    that's just how I see it. I'm willing to listen if you have some thoughts as to how the integration ban (not the initial order requiring cards to all that want them) has had a positive effect.


    actually- by my current thinking I think I have to give Bicker an attaboy. He said all along beforehand that the ban was stupid and wasteful. I disagreed- looks like at this point he was correct. i thought that forcing cable card would have made the cable people learn to install them in tivos and made it so tivo's were treated the same. That never came to be universally.

    to be clear- the original rule requiring cards to all who want has had a HUGE positive effect,
     
  20. DaveDFW

    DaveDFW Member

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    I just read that the 11 new HD channels for Time-Warner in Dallas are going to be SDV.

    Time for FiOS! :)

    TTYL
    David
     

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