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SDV FAQ

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

  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    NJ
    not to wander off track but the fcc actually mentioned that people should be able to get the program guide from the cable company using whatever standards cablelabs developed. That was in like 1998 when they issued the regs to enforce the 1996 law. IT's amazing to me that 10 years later and still you can't get a 3rd party device that gets guide data from the cable headend. Maybe later this year with ocap/tru2way but still that will be 10 long years.

    So it's no wonder if you cant get guide data 10 years later that SDV has proven to be a problem....
     
  2. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Ontario Canada.
    My understanding is that the cable providers have the idea that guide data is an interactive feature requiring two -way capabilities.
     
  3. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    San Diego,...
    What the FCC ended up codifying in the regs is that cable providers are supposed to place PSIP loops in any QAM carrier which has a rebroadcast of an over-the-air channel in it. The FCC seems to be primarily concerned with over-the-air rebroadcasts on cable and very little with the rest of the commercial stuff, except to prohibit the cable providers from acing us out of being able to record it at all.
     
  4. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

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    They hold the supply. The CATV providers hold the demand and apparently are the sole customer of companies like Scientific Atlanta, almost a reverse monopoly. If I have only one customer, and that customer is pumping millions of dollars into my company to keep food on my table, then why is it that the customer who allegedly wants so desperately to get out of the business and let me deal directly with the consumer instead doesn't seem to have any problem with the status quo in reality and doesn't put up a fight for open standards and instead fight against the standards that eventually forced upon them as a result? I don't think it's so much that the lack of compromise the cause so much as one of the many symptoms manifesting from a lack of competence. And I'm paying these people nearly $200/mo for the privilege (no premiums or PPV or anything, just cable, internet, and basic phone).

    I can't wait until something new like AT&T's U-verse (which does charge $10/mo for HD but delivers more HD channels) finally rolls out to my neighborhood, and hopefully Verizon will finally move into south Texas and FiOS will add another source of competition. TWC has the cable monopoly in the area and has had for far too long.

    No, they don't. They could hash out an open standard for two-way communication and get the hell out of the STB business, as they've allegedly been chomping at the bit to do for years, now. Cable didn't used to be digital. They decided to move to digital. Fine, no problem. Except they didn't feel it was important enough to come up and implement with an open standard for doing so that would allow them to finally offload this allegedly burdensome STB/DVR business altogether.

    No, actually. They are not required by anyone to force new and proprietary systems on customers. They are not required to broadcast HD channels via CableCARD-incompatible SDV. Not even to remain competitive. Giving me the middle finger isn't being competitive, giving me only one choice for DVR isn't being competitive, and according to lhorer the monthly fee I pay for that one and only DVR choice is more trouble than it's worth to the cable company. That doesn't sound like they're working on a competitive edge, there, does it?

    What? You're telling me that when they decided they wanted to implement digital cable that they were unable to design a working, open standard for it? That the old-school analog cable channels prevented them from installing what would've been a new, open standard for digital cable? I don't think so. You might as well tell me that DVD was impossible because home video manufacturers were producing VHS and any new system would have to work with those old manufacturing lines.

    So they're either pitiably poor businesspeople and are painfully shortsighted or lhorer's wrong and that they're actually loving being the sole provider of fully functional STBs and DVRs?

    Which is what they did when they moved to digital... Would've been a lot smarter to do it just once, don't you think?

    I'm sorry, but massive, monopolistic (or at best oligarchical) businesses running roughshod over consumers and then claiming to be the hapless victim in all this is really, really hard for me to accept. They either don't care or are ridiculously incompetent. They're not getting much in the way of sympathy from me either way.
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    some interesting thoughts about the reverse monopoly. But it seems like one side always has the upper hand when it comes to negotiations even when both sides need each other. Look at how the players union makes MLB look stupid time and time again. The both need each other to survive but the players always seem to win.

    good look with ATT u-verse. Apparently it only has the room for one HD show at a time and cant use cablecards anyway. So you can throw your daul tuner hd tivo in the trash to use that.
     
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    here's the link to the fcc order that I think created all the enabling regulations

    http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Cable/Orders/1998/fcc98116.pdf

    seems pretty clear that they thought "program guide equipment" should be opened up with a standard that all could use. So even if it is 2-way then cable should have made a standard that others could use by now. (rereading I suppose since it's not a "focus" that means you can take decades to get around to it.)
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    I THINK that reg was from a different proceeding or topic. I think it was meant just to enable or help out the transition from NTSC to ATSC. I dont think it was them washing their hands of their earlier thinking about commercial availibility of cable devices.

    Also I dont think they have to place PSIP in for any over the air channel- my understanding is if they get a feed with the PSIP in it then they must pass it on. But if they are being fed by the station over a fiber or something without PSIP then they can go without the data embedded. The onus seems to be on the station to get the cable headend a feed with the PSIP in tact.

    at least thats my understanding of that bit- I've been wrong before so if someone has links to that ruling I'd love to read it.
     
  8. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

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    Sure, and even the individual people engaging in the negotiations can be significant. But surely it would need to be agreed to by the uppermost echelons of management. And the CATV provider is the one that has the choice in the matter. This is a rather extreme case where if Time Warner tells them to get lost, where else do they have to peddle their proprietary product? Obviously it's not enough of a concern for them to move forward with a better system.

    It's being returned anyway at this point. I don't want to do away with Discovery and several other channels. And if I were willing to do that, I would probably be canceling service altogether, as I would be left with primarily locals only anyway (that interest me, at least), and just go over the air. I've seen the U-verse hardware (well, software) a few times, and while I don't think it's as good as TiVo, it's good enough that I would be satisfied with it.

    If the unavailable channels were as few as TWC claims, I would suck it up and just wait for the mythical dongle. Unfortunately, that list is vastly incomplete and/or out of date. "Time Warner San Antonio's Programming for CableCard is outright lousy. The only channels available in HD are TNT, ESPN, Discovery HD Theater, Fox SportsNET, MOJO, and Universal HD... Meaning I'm not getting 19 channels that should be available." No thanks.
     
  9. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    San Diego,...
    The regulation of which I speak is Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, §76.640(b)(1)(iv):
    (It goes on to describe the minimum content of the PSIP loop). I have to believe that if the content provider has a PSIP loop in his over-the-air transmission, it doesn't matter how they provide their content to the cable company, that information is "available". Of course "available" is, like so many of the terms used in wording these regulations, imprecise and undefined. Perhaps the information could be considered "unavailable" because the broadcaster chooses not to provide it at its whim :rolleyes:.

    I KNOW that this regulation was added as part of the plug-and-play DTV-over-cable "Second Report and Order", FCC 03-225 A (the order to add §76.640 to Title 47 starts at the bottom of PDF page 48; their discussion of PSIP is at the bottom of PDF page 11, in section "C. Tuning and Guide Information").

    EDIT: As I re-read that paragraph from the regs, I see that I was wrong about one thing--it's not just streams including rebroadcast over-the-air content that they're supposed to add PSIP for, but any service carried in the clear. All of the over-the-air rebroadcasts have to be carried in the clear as part of the core basic cable tier (you cannot buy any cable at all without getting all of those channels, and none of them may be encrypted, scrambled or marked to in any way prohibit free copying). Typically, there are several other non-over-the-air channels in that tier, all of which have to be carried in the clear. However, they explicitly don't have to broadcast PSIP for a service unless it's available from the content provider and it seems unlikely that the providers of any of those channels would have PSIP available for them (typically stuff like TBS, WGN and CSPAN).
     
  10. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Nope. My Mitsubishi 62" DLP gets TV Guide data from digital streams using the CableCard. It doesn't work exceptionally well, but it does work.
     
  11. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    San Diego,...
    When you say "TV Guide data", you're referring to the Gemstar "TV Guide On Screen" stuff? In what fashion do you believe that it uses the CableCARD for this (also, what specific model do you own)? As I said, my Mitsubishi panel is picking that stuff up just fine without a CableCARD.
     
  12. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Ontario Canada.
    Almost sole. They have other customers, but those are insignificant compared to the cable providers proper.
    Also a lot of the headend and plant (made by much the same companies) is such as it wouldn't matter.

    Because your customes have an investment in the current system, including STBs in the field. What they are trying to do is come up with a system where they can retain as much of their existing system as possible, and try to make the 3rd party boxes open to their system.
    Currently, either "fiber" provider has exclusive territory.
    Their competition is satellite and other content sources.
    It isn't they were technically unable to develop a standard, it is that they didn't want to, or have to, at the time they developed digital cable. By the time it came to "open"their systems, they were well entrenched.
    It is a bit of both. They love having a "system" box, as it allows them to sell value added services and otherwise have a strong degree of control a straight 3rd part box does not offer, or worse, they feel it "steals" from them, revenue a "system" may otherwise ran them.

    They cannot change their system now though. Hindsight is 20/20 though.
    They don't care, as long as the can protect their revenue.
     
  13. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    Rogers and Videotron (major Canadian users of Scientific Atlanta gear). Or get out of the proprietary STB business and get into the open STB business.
     
  14. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    You still seem to be missing the point there isn't just one customer. There are no fewer than 50. Of course that's a lot fewer than the 100 million CATV subscribers, but it's also a lot more than one.

    The term "desperately" is inaccurate. The CATV providers certainly have items much higher on their list of agendas than implementing separable security. That doesn't mean it isn't on their list, however. I'm sure that the vast majority of Americans want very much indeed for gasoline costs to drop back down below the $2 mark, but how many of us would be willing to give up our jobs, our homes, and our health to accomplish that goal?

    Whihc is precisely what they did. It's called Open Cable Specification 2.0, and it was penned quite some years ago.

    Yes, they did and they did. The standard is completely workable. The problem is it is unacceptable to 3rd party manufacturers and to consumers. Now that we're a couple of years down the road, it's also becoming unacceptable to the majority of CATV equipment manufacturers and to the CATV system which have installed systems which are incompatible with CC 2.0.

    He did not say it was an individual or a company. It is market pressures which are forcing them to try to be competitive with satellite services.

    At this point by definition any new system is proprietary. It's also the case that delivering additional services requires a new system. Ergo, the only choice is between not delivering new services, thereby ceding a large share of the market to DirecTV and Dish TV, or deploying proprietary systems. If you were faced with the prospect of losing 25% or even more of your income or ticking off less than 1% of your customers, which would you do?

    SDV is not incompatible with CableCards. SDV is 100% compatible with CableCards, and every single CableCard is compatible with SDV.

    It most certainly is when the revenue stream being impacted by their actions only represents an extremely tiny fraction of the potential loss by their not taking action. Fewer than 1% of CATV customers own TiVos, but more than 50% of CATV customers are taking the move to satellite or FIOS services under advisement.

    Yes, it does. Re-read my posts. The revenue from STBs and DVRs is small, but the revenue from the services provided by STBs and DVRs is huge, and the marketing value of those services (even those which are not revenue generating, such as Video Rewind and VOD) is huge. Provided overriding issues such as security and the cost of support are handled reasonably, many senior management teams of various MSOs would be thrilled to be able to hand off the heartburn of delivering STBs and DVRs for their customers. There's another catch, though. No matter how ubiquitous 3rd party equipment might eventually become, the MSO is still going to be required to supply leased receivers. Since they are never going to be able to completely get rid of the headache, and since support of 3rd party equipment brings its own headaches (and costs), the impetus to encourage 3rd party devices is just not what it otherwise might be.

    No, he's not, because they did.

    No, the fact that no CATV equipment manufacturer produced any such devices and the fact the FCC said they had to implement CC 1.0 equipment did.

    Do you know anyone who purchased a Betamax system? CED disc? LASERDisc? HD DVD? An 8 track tape player? How happy are those people with those purhcases?

    It's been nearly 30 years since separable security was first seriously proposed, and nearly 25 years since 2-way digital services were first deployed. Given that some MSOs could potentially face bankruptcy within the next 3 years if they don't do something about the threat from other providers, and given that there is little reason to believe another 25 to 30 years won't pass before a unified standard gets ratified, just how are they being short sighted? This especialy since better than 98% of their custojmers and potential customers couldn't care less about whether the channels are delivered on SDV or linear systems, but do care about the number of channels available - just like you seem to do. Be honest with yourself for a moment. If your TiVo were able to receive all the SDV channels, would you care in even the tiniest measure that MythTV owners still cannot?

    All else being equal, yes, but taking the real-world situation into account, no. Notice also, it wasn't a choice they had available. It is simply a fact no such system was available for widespread deployment at the time. It should have been, but it wasn't.

    They couldn't care less about your sympathy. Heck, I couldn't care less about your sympathy, and I very much want a solution to this mess which leaves me able to receive all the scheduled programming regardless of it's broadcast protocols. All they want is your money. Actually, they don't even want that if it means they lose more of someone else's money than they get from you. Like it or not, no consideration of any type which impacts a minority of customer dollars is going to override a consideration which impacts the majority of customer dollars. Get 30 or 40 million people to buy S3 TiVos, and the situation will be very, very different I assure you.
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    I think it's a bit more complex- first what happens when time warner tells them to go screw and then time warners head end breaks? What happens tomorrow when time warner needs to buy 100,000 dvr's while they wait for OCAP to show up? Basically telling moto or sa to go screw instantly ruins there ability to remain a going concern. TW would go out of business and comcast would buy the systems up at firesale prices.

    Now why dont comcast and TW and cablevision and cox stick up to moto and SA together? I'm pretty sure the FTC would arrest all the CEO's for collusion. Beyond that I'm not even sure you could get the big boys to play nice together ling neough to collude.

    so there's some reality to work with.

    Cables end game is to have OCAP and downloadable secuirty so then they CAN tell moto and SA to go screw. Witness comcasts dealing with Panasonic for piles of new OCAP boxes. WIth OCAP theycan buy boxes from anyone. And if You want a new head end and all your STB's are ocap with downloadable security then you can change headend brands at will too. No need to match your headend to the boxes in the feild. So cable is close to their nirvana- and they'll do it all without having to make standards that help anyone but themselves.


    the MAJOR problem I think u-vers has unless they have fixed it is unlike fios they use twisted pair for for the last few hundred feet- so the bandwidth is limited and you can only tune on HD thing PER HOUSE. So it's not just that you cant have a dual tuner dvr- you can't even have 2 HD TV' with their boxes. Maybe that's changed but you really need to look to see what the status is. Verizon actually runs fiber to the house so has more bandwidth then anyone.
     
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    please explain- I have never heard of this.

    what standard is being used between the head end the the tv to enable that? Is it an open standard or just something that maybe Mitsu worked out with Moto in private?
     
  17. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    from what I understand if the tv station gives them a fiber feed it might come from a place in the chain before the PSIP is added (perhaps to get higher quality to the head end). So in those cases there is no pip "availible" in the stream for the cable people to pass along
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Not at this point, they don't. When they bought the systems several years ago, they did, but now they realistically don't.

    You're missing the point. They've already bought their respective systems, at a cost of over $10 billion. Telling their specific vendor to get lost means collectively chucking $10 billion and spending $10 billion for some other proprietary system. Why would they do that, when hone of the available systems are in any way superior in terms of the revenue they will bring to the CATV provider?

    That is your right. You couldn't pay me enough to have to deal with the W$%#$^ SA 8300HD, and nothing else on the market provides even a fraction of the features I consider critical in the TiVo.

    I believe you said you were in San Antonio on TWC. If so, that's false. Discovery is available in SD and Discovery HD theater is available in HD on the Series III platform on TWC in San Antonio.

    That's a considerable exaggeration. There are only 6 locals broadcast in HD, but the list of HD channels available to the TiVo is considerably higher than that. Twice as many, in fact:

    104 NBC - WOAI HD +
    105 CBS-KENS 5 HD +
    107 My Network TV - KMYS HD +
    108 PBS - KLRN HD +
    111 FOX - KABB HD +
    112 ABC - KSAT HD +
    124 ESPN HD +
    127 TNT HD +
    130 HD Theater +
    160 MOJO (NBA TV HD pre-empted on MOJO) +
    162 HDNet +
    163 HDNET Movies +
    164 Universal HD +
    180 HBO HD +
    182 Showtime HD +
    184 Cinemax HD +
    186 The Movie Channel HD +
    187 Starz HD +

    It's true the number of channels not available to the TiVo is considerably higher, but many of them are semi-duplicates of ones you can receive, and others may not as yet have very much in the way of true HD content on them. Many are not HD at all:

    125 ESPN2 HD*
    113 TBS HD*
    115 The Science Channel HD*
    122 NHL HD*
    128 A&E HD*
    129 The Discovery Channel HD*
    134 MHD*
    135 CNN HD*
    136 The Weather Channel HD*
    147 Food Network HD*
    149 TLC HD*
    154 Fox Business Network HD*
    155 Animal Planet HD*
    157 National Geographic HD*
    166 LMN HD*
    167 HGTV HD*
    168 Versus/Golf Channel HD*
    174 The History Channel HD*
    181 HBO West HD*
    183 Showtime HD West*
    185 Cinemax HD West*
    188 Starz West HD*
    265 CSTV*
    267 Sportsman Channel*
    285 MTV Tr3s* (Español)
    294 HITN* (Español)
    295 EWTN en Español*
    296 Toon Disney En Espanol*
    315 Starz West*
    316 Starz Edge West*
    317 Starz InBlack West*
    319 Starz Cinema West*
    326 HBO West*
    327 HBO 2 West*
    328 HBO Signature West*
    329 HBO Family West*
    330 HBO Comedy West*
    331 HBO Zone West*
    333 HBO Latino West (Español)*
    343 ThrillerMAX East*
    344 Cinemax West*
    345 MoreMAX West*
    346 ActionMAX West*
    355 Showtime West*
    356 Showtime 2 West*
    357 Showtime Showcase West*
    358 Showtime Extreme West*
    359 Showtime Beyond West*
    701 TV Japan*
    705 SBTN*
    711 Zee TV*
    712 TV Asia*
    715 DEUTSCHE WELLE - TV*
    716 DW-One*
    720 The Filipino Channel*

    But yet again you seem to be missing the point. None of the latter list would be available at all to anyone if it were not for SDV.

    I think you miscounted a few on both sides, there. See above. By my count there are 12 linear HD channels in addition to the 6 local HD channels. Many markets do not have 18 total HD channels available, period.

    I count at least 22 HD channels not available on the TiVo, but no fewer than 4 of those are merely West Coast schedules of the regular East Coast broadcasts. A DVR makes those rather moot. Of the remaining 18 or so, yes I would very much like to get A&E, Discovery, NGC, Animal Planet, The Science Channel, TLC, History, and maybe TBS in HD, but I do get them in SD, and for the moment that is sufficient, if hardly ideal.

    Frankly I can't imagine anyone actually being upset at not being able to view The Weather Channel, CNN, Fox Business Network, and Food TV in HD. Given the quality of most of their video, I can't get all excited over Lifetime or Home & Garden, either.
     
  19. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Well, since the system I am on is Scientific Atlanta, not Motorola, the latter is extremely unlikely. It's similar to Closed Captioning. The information is carried in the VBI of local broadcasts, usually PBS, but in this case only in digital broadcasts. It is up to the individual CATV provider to decide which of the VBI streams to pass through and which to block, but it requires no new or uncommon equipment. I don't have a CableCard in my TV any longer (they're in the TiVo now), so I can't provide a screen shot. but I assure you it is there and it works. Note the CATV provider is not required to deliver the info, but the technology is available. I tried to find the TV Guide manual on the Mitsubishi website, but they deliver the main TV users manual and the TV Guide users manual separately, and I could not find a copy of the TV Guide manual on the site. The only things I found are very brief references to setting up and using the TV Guide on pages 43, 48, and 60 of this URL.
     
  20. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    That may be true. I believe it is true of OTA and it should be true of cable, as well, except that my TV, at least, can't pick up any of the digital channels without CableCard, and can't employ the Guide on analog channels. This may be a design flaw and may have been fixed in later models. Mine was purchased in late 2005. Since I got an S3 in September 2006, I really haven't looked any further into it. The point is, a guide in no way requires 2-way communications. All Satellite receivers, including DirecTiVos, have guides without 2-way interaction.

    Edit: Oh, to answer your question, I believe it's a WD-62628. It's not on the front panel, and between my failing eyesight and my physical disabilities, getting the info off the back of the set is far beyond the amount of trouble to which I am willing to go for this purpose.
     

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