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

  1. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    My god. It's like trying to argue politics with a sophomore philosophy major. I realize that you're an apologist for the cable companies, but it's getting so ridiculous that it's difficult to maintain my cool while reading your responses, must less coming up with level-headed responses to all the increasingly tangential and mind-boggling assertions. You really want to know if those who bought 8 track players are happy with their purchases?? And that nonsensical response to a challenge to your assertion that it just wasn't possible for CATV industry to figure out a standard that allowed them to invest in open technologies that let them finally shed the whole STB business? Are you drunk?

    I will note that in trying to put the best possible face on cable, you're dancing so fine a line between technical and semantical truth that you're occasional stumbling into lies, such as that no SDV channel would be possible without SDV and even worse the bald-faced lie that "SDV is 100% compatible with CableCards, and every single CableCard is compatible with SDV," and into the willfully misleading and stubbornly hard-headed like insisting that Discovery is available via CableCARD--because the old SD channel hasn't been cut off yet, despite it having been made crystal clear that this discussion isn't about SD, but about HD, the entire reason for getting a S3 or HD TiVo rather than just an S2. You're also willing to go so far into hyperboleland that you're insisting that any solution for stranded CableCARD customers would mean instantly dumping every single piece of technology they have now and then acquiring all new technology and having to install it overnight, and that they couldn't possibly have figured out where the industry was going 15 and 20 years ago and choosing to entrench themselves in a superior solution that would've given everyone what you claim they've wanted all along: the providers, the CE manufacturers, and the consumer.

    If your vehement assertions are accurate, then the CATV industry (and TWC in particular) have made some really, really dumb decisions along the line, and they apparently do not feel enough pain in the way of STBs, DVRs, regulatory compliance, and angry customers to do anything about it, nor do they apparently feel compelled to demand a better DVR product from their vendor.

    EDIT (to cover your most recent reply): No. You're wrong. TWC themselves say you're wrong. Unless you're using their STB, you will not get the program guide, even info on which channel you're tuning to and what is showing at the moment. You can only decrypt the channel itself if all you've got is a CableCARD. So you'll receive the channel, but nothing else. You can pull it from other sources if your equipment can do so (e.g. TiVo pulling it over the net), but any such solution is done separately from TWC's signal being decrypted by the CableCARD.
  2. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    It's gotta be far enough along the chain that local ads and programming have been grafted in and the feed has been transcoded down from the typical 45 Mbps that it comes off the network satellite transponder at. (So far as I can tell estimating bit rates from the size of recordings, the local channels that I can pull in at my location are at very, very close to the same rate on cable as they are on the air). In any case, if its not in the version of the stream that they give to the cable providers over fiber, it's coming from somewhere when they put it in their broadcast stream and could be provided to the cable system separately if they wanted to go to the trouble. Again, that word "available" is useless vague.
  3. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    I am not an apologist for them. Not to put too fine a point on it, I hate them. I hate their politics, I hate the way they treat their employees, and I hate the fact they seem to be almost completely incapable of telling the truth even at the best of times. I think their services are overpriced and their policies aggravating at best. Their technical support is horrible and their customer service vomitous. These, among other things, were major reasons I left their employ, quite some years ago. Now they are one of my most ardent, as well as sleaziest competitors. None of that, however, eliminates my understanding of the economics, logistics, and engineering of the systems which I helped to evaluate and deploy many years ago and their descendants.

    Let me acquaint you with the notion of a rhetorical question. It is asked in order to provoke thoughtful consideration on the part of the individual being asked the question. No, I certainly don't need you to tell me how those people feel. I know all too well from personal experience. The point which you so blithely seem to have missed is once an entity purchases the infrastructure and a significant amount of delivery media for a particular technology, one is stuck with either trying to live with a dead-end technology or spending a tremendous amount of money to obtain replacement infrastructure and media for which they have already paid once. A consumer might possibly go out and re-purchase their entire library on a whim, but a business cannot.

    1. Drop the sarcastic ad-hominem, and I mean NOW.

    2. Please bother to read what I write. Not only did I never say it was impossible for them to figure out a standard, I specifically pointed out on more than one occasion that they DID figure out and publish just such a standard. 'Three fully compatible standards, actually: CableCard 1.0, CableCard 2.0, and Open Cable 2.0, which includes OCAP. The fact the latter two are self-serving and have sections in them politically or economically unacceptable to other parties doesn't mean they did not create them or that they are technologically infeasible or unworkable. They have already done precisely what you say they should do. Could they have done a better job? Perhaps. Should they have accepted compromise solutions to the proposed specifications? In my opinion, surely. That doesn't mean it wasn't created at all, or in fact that the solution is in any way technologically inferior. It isn't.

    I'm not trying to put any face on cable. They suck big time. It's just they do not suck for any of the reasons you claim. Straw man arguments and false accusations help no one. Criticize them for what they did wrong or didn't do right, not for things beyond their control.

    I have posted several thousand words in this thread and others concerning SDV, and I never once made that claim. Quote the sentence where I said that or retract the claim. The closest I came to anything resembling this (and it's not even close) is that none of the 50 or so new regular schedule SDV channels could be delivered if not for SDV. I didn't mention the 300 or so On Demand and IPPV channels, but it applies to them, as well.

    I will allow, however, that you might have been confused by statements which require more than a superficial understanding of general logistics to be able to verify, so I will rephrase:

    None of the 50 plus new regular schedule offerings and several hundred VOD and IPPV channels (including more than 2 dozen HD offerings) could have been added without deploying SDV unless a similar number of linear channels or a large fractional number of analog channels were removed. 'Better?

    I'll quantify it for you even more: The existing CATV plant in San Antonio has an upper limit of 750MHz on the distribution side. The lower 547MHz of that spectrum are being used by analog channels, FM radio, upstream communications, etc. That leaves 203MHz or room for 33 QAMs. If we arbitrarily divide each QAM into 24 slices, then the most common rate shaping requires 2 slices for each SD channel and 11 slices for each HD channel. That's a total of 66 HD channels and 33 SD channels, or a compromise offering 5.5 additional SD channels for each HD channel removed. VOD is essentially impossible without SDV, and the number of IPPV channels would have to be severely limited.

    So you tell me (and don't dodge the questions), after we eliminate SDV we only have room for perhaps 50 HD channels and 210 SD channels, with no VOD or Video rewind. What do you eliminate that will please not only you but also the other 300,000 subscribers? Why should they lose their VOD and Video Rewind features just to make you happy? How much extra are you willing to pay for your service to make up for all the lost IPPV revenue and customers lost to Satellite services because cable can't offer as many HD channels?

    With SDV, the cable company can ultimatley offer hundreds of HD channels and possibly thousands of SD channels, each potentially bearing revenue. Why should they give that up to make you (the TiVo owner) happy, when it doesn't do anything to make anyone else happy?

    Not only is it not a bald faced lie, it is 100% accurate, under severe penalty of law should any device not conform to the spec. You think it's wrong? Please provide the make and model number of any CableCard which cannot be used with any CableCard compliant system, system bugs aside. Or the flip-side, name any SDV system which is incompatible with CableCard specs. There aren't any. (Here's a clue: there are only three of them.) No Cablecard would ever be approved by CableLabs unless it met their specifications for CC 1.0 or CC 2.0, which again by law requires the devices to work with any and every digital host and every digital transport system in the United States except a very tiny number of small grandfathered systems. That includes all SDV systems.

    How many times must I repeat this?

    It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
    It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
    It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
    It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
    It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
    It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
    It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.

    Is that enough? Exactly what do you not understand about the fact all CableCards are 100% compatible with SDV systems? Do I need to repeat the above another 100 times before it sinks in? Exactly what do you not understand about the fact SDV is expressly a 2-way protocol fully compliant with CC1.0 and CC 2.0, and while every CableCard is 100% compatible with SDV, no unidirectional host is compatible with SDV? That includes the TiVo. That does not include the CATV provider's STBs and DVRs, which use precisely the same CableCards your TiVo does. It would not include any device made by any manufacturer which was compatible with the local 2-way protocols, but outside the CATV equipment manufacturers, none such exist.

    Fine, consider it a nit-pick if you like, but your statemement - both in and out of context - made it sound like we could not receive the Discovery Channel at all.

    That might be your entire reason. It most certainly was not mine. My list is extremely long, and while CableCard support is definitely on the list, I waited patiently for nearly 5 years for TiVo to come out with an acceptable upgrade to the Series I. The Series II did not qualify, by a long shot. (And I suppose the fact an S2 sooner probably rather than later isn't going to be able to receive anything at all is not a good reason to decide against one?)

    Don't be silly. Unlike you, I have been through quite a large number of staged technology rollouts in a CATV system, so I know precisely what is involved. This one, however, would be unusually painful and eqpensive. The moment any single QAM in the network is converted from, say, Motorola SDV to BigBand SDV management, that QAM becomes unuseable for every user in the city. To most intents and purposes, jumping from Scientific Atlanta to Motorola means all 200 or so QAM modulators (at something over $85,000 each) must be replaced in very short order, and every STB and DVR must be replaced as well.

    Nor did I suggest there is only one solution. There are lots of possible solutions, but none of them are good and none of them are going to be liked by everyone in the mix. The best solution is a unified standard for all bidiectional hosts, and that does indeed mean most CATV providers would have to replace or retrofit all their SDV equipment. The only ones who would not, if any, would be those whose plant employs the system chosen to be the standard.

    For that matter, the system we have right now works, it just means no 3rd party solution can be delivered which works fully with every CATV system. Neither consumers nor 3rd party manufacturers are going to want to deal with purchased devices which only work on a fraction of all systems.

    You seem to be unwilling to get this fact through your head. A Scientific Atlanta STB / DVR will not work with a Motorola headend, and vice versa. There is no STB or DVR currently available to any CATV provider which will work with some other manufacturer's equipment.

    Read my lips: There was no such solution at that time. There still is no such solution at this time. No one can buy something which doesn't exist. No one can install something which hasn't even been engineered, yet.

    Wanting something doesn't mean one can go buy it off a shelf. Wishing a manufacturer would produce a product does not make it profitable for them to do so.

    I thought you said I was a CATV apologist? That is precisely what happened, although limiting it to TWC isn't fair, because they haven't made any particularly different decisions than anyone else. Also, "intransigent" and "thoughtlessly intractable" might be better terms than "dumb". Also, the CATV industry wasn't the only one who made ultimately detrimental decisions, although I wouldn't argue if you wanted to say theirs were the worst. The only candidate in my mind for a worse decisions was the FCC who decided again and again to do nothing.

    There are almost surely fewer than 5000 Series III / TiVo HD customers in San Antonio, possibly fewer than 2000. Yet there are more than 300,000 customers, total. That means that more than 295,000 customers couldn't care less about this issue, but given TWCs record, I'm willing to bet over 100,000 have some other gripe. Which group should be allocated the most resources?

    Once again, you're wrong, at least in the case of Scientific Atlanta DVRs. The number of complaints about the 8300HD is record setting, and SA (Cisco) did procure new software for the 8300. It's called Passport Echo, and it's been deployed in a number of systems around the country. The catch is the SA 8300 comes with SARA software, not Passport Echo. The CATV company has to pay extra - quite a bit extra I'm given to understand - for the Passport software. I don't know whether TWC has decided corporate wide not to purchase the Passport software or if it has left the decision to the local company, but San Antonio and Austin, at least, are not getting the Passport software. Although still not a TiVo by a very long shot, the Passport software is reportedly vastly better than SARA.

    OK, we're talking at cross purposes on this one, and perhaps that's my fault. The exact same interactive guide provided with the SA boxes is not available. Channel 77 (non-interactive) is, and other interactive guides such as the TV Guide on my Mitsibishi are. Since all grid guides are worse than useless, I don't consider it an important point, however.

    Oh, and BTW, the odds any information you get out of TWC is accurate are vanishingly small. The number of people there who habitually lie continuously is only exceed by those who haven't a clue about what they are speaking. This whether the statements are verbal or in print. Those who don't lie and do know their business are extremely difficult to find.

    Nope, you're wrong, or half wrong. The CableCard decrypts the steam - all of it. What the receiver can do with that stream depends on what is in the stream and of what the receiver is capable. The TV Guide Interactive Program Guide available on some TVs performs the exact same functions as that of the SA STBs. Note the CableCards in the SA STBs don't provide the guide, either. They just descrypt the stream which is used by the box to create the Onscreen Guide. The SA boxes are able to do so only because they are compatible with the SA gear in the headend. Unless they've changed the protocol lately, however, it's not an SDV protocol. Whether the PBS signal carrying the guide is technically "TWC's signal being decrypted by the CableCARD" or not is some pretty fine hair splitting, if you ask me, but OK, if you insist, I'll agree it is being "pulled from other sources".

    'Truth be told, since I never use any onscreen guide of any sort, I really couldn't care less about this particular issue.
  4. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    Thank you for the additional information, as it helps put some much-needed perspective on your posts and affects the tone in which they're read (at least for me). I think in the end we simply disagree about the economics and logistics involved.

    I'm well aware of the point you were attempting to make, however badly. I'm pretty sure everything's moving to Blu-ray now that HD-DVD is dead, and yet it doesn't look like Warner's going bankrupt for betting on the wrong horse, to use one of your examples. Regardless, one isn't stuck if one's only buried up to one's ankles. That seems an odd time to dig furiously so that you can be in totally over your head, and you seem to be drawing a false dichotomy between bending over for your vendor, to whom you've sold your soul, while thanking them for it and the polar opposite of severing all contact with them and heading in an entirely new direction. There are options in the middle, not the least of which is what some people call "migration."

    Are you really convinced that's the best approach, exaggerating (if not outright mislabeling) an alleged offense and then ordering the alleged offender to do your bidding, as though you had the authority to do so?

    I have bothered to read what you write. The problem is with what you write. See, that's a great example of my problem in attempting to discuss any of this with you: you're attempting to take any statement with a child-like literalism that's truly frustrating. First with things like the insistence that I would not be locked out of Discovery by pretending not to know we're talking about HD in the S3 forum and listing off an SD channel and a separate HD Theater channel, and now this. Yes, they technically came up with a standard, but they did so without taking into account consumers or CE manufacturers. Even you admit that it was a thoroughly self-serving standard that is politically or economically unacceptable to everyone else. By the way, that necessarily makes them "unworkable." They didn't come up with a real, workable open standard that worked for everyone, which you know damn well is what we're talking about. You also tip your hand to your mindset when you make statements like the following:

    After all that, even after all your admissions regarding the things entirely within their control that they did wrong, you're insisting that...they did them right and that they were also out of their control? That doesn't make sense.

    Here are two:
    Moving on...

    I'll just give you the benefit of the doubt that your arbitrary number is the optimal number and point out that I really don't see how this makes delivery of additional HD content impossible without SDV. It especially wilts when held up to the fact that there are only a (relative) handful of markets using SDV in the first place, and somehow the rest of the markets are delivering the content without SDV. Perhaps it's magic, a supernatural achievement by the Wizard of Cabletron that allows Dicovery Channel HD to be delivered without putting in this brand-new SDV system.

    You wouldn't necessarily have to eliminate SDV if you really wanted to deliver obscure, nearly-no-demand, special-interest channels like all the 700's you listed, there (The Filipino Channel and such). I'm not sure I would consider the Discovery Channel, History Channel, ESPN2, and others to be obscure, special-interest channels. My problem isn't strictly that SDV exists. My problem is two-fold: 1) that no open, workable industry standard was developed to allow 3rd parties to make use of this allegedly panacean solution that is the only possible solution in existence, and 2) their choices regarding which channels are moved to SDV. There are only 40 HD channels available today, and that includes each and every HD channel regardless of their SDV status, including the fairly useless ones and the premium-only channels you have to explicitly pay for individually like Cinemax and Starz. I have no problem with VOD, IPPV, or other such specialty services being on SDV. Frankly, if we assume that every single other variable in the equation is some sort of cosmically immovable object, then SDV in that case makes sense. It would've been much better if a proper open standard were available to allow 3rd party hardware to make such services available to consumers, but that's very low down on the priority list. With TiVo, for instance, VOD goes from being a slow but interesting idea to a novelty accessory at best. But I don't think people would be so upset if PPV events required a cable box. No, they could easily arrange things such that all subscribers would be served satisfactorily while not actively forcing everyone to use their own proprietary hardware.

    And you continue to insist on false dichotomies wallowing in hyperbole, that the only option is to either have things arranged exactly as-is or eliminate SDV altogether along with VOD and IPPV. Why do you do this?

    To use your own numbers and assertions and assuming they're correct, 50 HD channels and 210 SD channels all without SDV should be enough to please nearly every single customer they have. Everything else (music channels, VOD, IPPV, truly obscure channels) can ride the SDV wave as much as they'd like. Personally, I'd like to see a much heavier emphasis on HD than SD, and I truly doubt I'm the lone exception on my local node. As was pointed out by MichaelK, demand for HD is not some fringe thing.

    As many as it takes until you realize you're wrong. The situation is that no 3rd party CableCARD device, whether my TV or TiVo or anything else, can receive SDV channels. One day this may be remedied, but no such remedy exists today.

    This is getting so ridiculous that I'm having a hard time believing you're not winding me up. You're now building an argument of semantics on the foundation of your aforementioned child-like literalism. The introduction of SDV broke cable systems' compatibility with unidirectional hosts. SDV is incompatible with unidirectional hosts, meaning any and all CableCARD devices in San Antonio that aren't the exclusive proprietary systems owned and leased to customers by TWC. No semantics game you try to play can change that fact. It is my fervent hope that since my area has now moved to SDV, a workable two-way, SDV-capable solution such as the mythical USB dongle will be made available, even though that will still only work with a relative handful of existing devices. Until such time as that happens, any non-TW CableCARD device continues to be hamstringed by SDV.

    I could maybe, MAYBE accept that from you the first time around, that you simply weren't thinking and therefore failed to grasp the deep and difficult meaning of my labyrinthine words. But even after it was made clear to you, you continued to insist on feigning ignorance.

    OK, I'm willing to grant that you might be an exception. But when people walk into Circuit City or whatever and decide which TiVo to get, they can either pay little to nothing (after rebates) for an SD-only Series2 or pay vastly more for a Series3 (perhaps with the additional option of still significantly more for a TiVo HD). If they want HD, they have no choice in the matter. They must choose a TiVo Series3 HDTV DVR, which is the topic of this section of the forum where this discussion is taking place. If they don't care about HD, there's no compelling reason to spend so much on the newer version. If someone takes their viewing so seriously and has the money and the want-to to pay for a Series3, I can't imagine that they wouldn't be hooking it up to an HDTV, that they're going to be buying it for an old SD unit. Like I said, you may be an exception, but perhaps taking some of your own advice regarding assuming you are the typical case is a good idea, here.

    I'm trying desperately not to be. It's hard, however, when you say things like, "Telling their specific vendor to get lost means collectively chucking $10 billion and spending $10 billion for some other proprietary system."

    Yet more of your deliberately misleading if technically correct statements: every user in the city is NOT served by a single QAM. Additionally, I'm fairly certain your TiVo boxes will still somehow magically not become unusuable. The latter point means your hyperbole is incorrect, and the former means that there's migration is not only possible but very likely preferable.

    By the way, 200 times $85,000 equals $17,000,000, not $10,000,000,000. I'm doubting the replacement of every single STB and DVR would come out to the remaining $9.98 billion. And even then your argument is based on moving from one proprietary system to another rather than to an open system.

    Thank you for admitting that.

    It's interesting how you'll make a statement and then nearly completely contradict it in the same sentence. And you're right in that last sentence, which is the whole freaking problem, our being forcefully required to use only with TWC hardware.

    ... What about the Pace and Panasonic boxes, to name just a couple? You'll go so far into the gray-lie zone that it's starting to look inky.

    Yes, because they neglected to come up with one. And for god's sake leave your lips out of this.

    And yet your pro-CATV arguments still can't manage to keep them from looking terrifically stupid.

    OK, on this one I'm curious as to whether you're truly taking this stand or playing the role of a TWC marketing exec, the Director of Spin, hoping desperately that the person you're talking to is your average consumer who you can confuse and befuddle. I AM ONE OF THOSE THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TWC CUSTOMERS. I DO NOT HAVE A SERIES3 TIVO. WHY? BECAUSE TWC MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BE BOTH WITHOUT GIVING UP A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THE SERVICE YOU PAY FOR. Your entirely random number of 5,000 based on pure and utter out-of-the-air speculation is not only very likely incorrect, but it's also meaningless in the context of your argument. TiVo customers in San Antonio aren't the only ones who couldn't care less. Rather, they're the only ones who care so much, who are so hardcore that they're willing to take it in the rear from TWC in order to keep their TiVo. To say that anyone who isn't that hardcore necessarily "couldn't care less" is a falsehood, whether a deliberate lie or an honest mistake due to some mixture of being so biased and so thoughtless that such a thing didn't occur to you. If you were to present the Series3 and HD TiVos alongside whichever TWC DVR they're using currently, I would be shocked if over 98.3% of them would choose the SA DVR over the TiVo as you claim they would.

    So they're not demanding a better product. They accepted utter crap and they're now accepting paying "quite a bit extra" for a proper product. Doesn't sound like they're demanding anything, actually, and as you point out it's a moot point in San Antonio because they're not doing it at all.

    But it's not that of the SA STBs. Like I said, if any such solution exists, it's from an entirely separate source.

    I disagree with your assertion on the "hair splitting," but it's pretty tangential to the argument and not the real issue at hand, so I don't really consider all that big a deal. If you hadn't brought it up and insisted to the contrary, I wouldn't have even bothered with it.

    You don't? Really? Not even with your TiVo? I wasn't even aware you could avoid it.
  5. Budget_HT

    Budget_HT Heavy User (of TiVo)

    Jan 2, 2001
    Renton, WA
    It sounds to me like one of you is describing the ideal end state, while the other is trying to explain the complexity and costs (orders of magnitude) of getting there from where we are today.

    Even a startup company that has the opportunity to select industry-standard, state-of-the-art transport media and terminating equipment will at some point be saddled with OLD technology, since the end-state goals and supporting evolving technologies are both moving at a very fast pace.

    Owners of existing plant are always looking for cost-effective ways to stay competitive and profitable while keeping their mainstream customers (who generate the greatest amount of revenue) happy enough to not leave.

    Billions of dollars of sunk investment in geographically-specific plant must be considered in any strategy to leap forward from present capabilities to a next-generation set that satisfies owners/investors and customers. Owning and operating fixed plant to deliver services is VERY different from manufacturing and distributing widgets to be sold outright. Sure there is after-sale support, but that is not a ball and chain that prevents rapid introduction of newer, better widgets. There may be some retooling needed in the manufacturing facility, but, IMHO, that investment hardly begins to compare to multiple instances of plant placed over hundreds of square miles as needed to deliver to every passed home.

    I don't see how the two of you could ever agree, considering you're looking from very different perspectives.
  6. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    It's not a question of being saddled with old technology. SDV is new. It's a question of choosing the wrong technology due to shortsightedness, greed, obstinacy, and just plain poor business dealings, failures that continue through today and will doubtlessly endure through tomorrow. I'm condemning the CATV providers (specifically TWC in San Antonio) for this, and lrhorer is arguing that the failures I'm pointing out are not actually failures, that they do not suck for the reasons I'm saying they suck. And in defending these companies he himself allegedly dislikes and disrespects, he goes so far as to draw ridiculous false dichotomies, straw men, fling red herring all over the room, all while prone to hyperbole, being willfully misleading, and being deliberately obtuse and hyper-literal as though context and reading comprehension were unknown to him, which they surely are not.

    It's not just a question of different perspectives.
  7. ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Spoken like a great armchair quarterback who is responsible to no one. I'm sure your cable company would have done much better making decisions over the last 30 years. Oh, I guess we'll never know.
  8. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    No, we won't. What a pointless post you've made.

    It does kind of amuse me, though, that there are still people who insist that no person or business is open to criticism from objective observers unless those observers have personally done a better job in the past. If you're painfully aware of a band's poorly executed, formulaic music, you must be a better and more accomplished musician yourself to have an opinion (or ears, apparently). If you see a pretty poor painting, you have to have had a string of successful gallery openings to comment. If you see a poorly run business, you have to have made the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine to recognize it as such--while others on the internet who know nothing about you make ridiculous assertions that unless you've run a CATV provider business 30 years ago you cannot comment on the wisdom and effectiveness of their choices. I forget...what's the Latin name for this fallacy, again?
  9. ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    OK, since you are being objective (with terms such as shortsightedness, greed, obstinacy, and just plain poor business dealings) could you please tell me what you would have changed in the MSOs buildout and what that change would have cost the shareholders of the company. What kills me is people tossing around inflammatory terms judging companies business decisions when they have none of the pressures of delivering value to shareholders. Tell me again what they did wrong and what you would have done different to increase shareholder value.
  10. Surrealone

    Surrealone TiVoOnThEmInD

    Dec 8, 2006
    WOW I came here to get info on SDV.
  11. Eccles

    Eccles Mostly harmless

    Dec 27, 2001
    Austin, TX
    Try the first 20 pages; the last 20 have devolved into a dicksizing contest.
  12. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    True. I would say it's beyond the ankles, but not beyond their hips, yet. The thing is, it gets a bit deeper every day, and since there is no solution at this time, and the previous solution took nearly 20 years, what does that say about the situation? Let's try this on for size. Exactly what do you suggest they do? You are the one who is so convinced there is a simple solution. 'No more hand waving. Give me dollars and cents, and explain why it's a good idea for the CATV companies. The fact you like it is irrelevant. Why should they like it?

    That's easy to say when one hasn't a clue of what one is speaking. Obviously, you are a qualified engineer with 25 years in the industry, while I am a complete novice, so lay out the plan for me. How many QAMs will they convert per day, and how many of their customers will be left without how many channels for how long until they are done? How much does each new receiver cost, and what will they do with the 800,000 converters which are useless when they are done? What about the $6 or $7 million dollars worth of QAM modulators? Finally, and most importantly, from whom will they buy this magical new system. Scientific Atlanta doesn't sell it. Jerrold doesn't sell it. Magnavox doesn't sell it. C-Cor doesn't sell it. RMS doesn't sell it. Motorola doesn't sell it. Pace doesn't sell it. Blonder Tongue doesn't sell it. Clearly you know some CATV equipment manufacturer of which I am unaware who can easily deliver nearly a million boxes to San Antonio alone. Who is it?

    Just as you are suggesting a course of action which takes only your desires into account. They did a vastly better job than you are doing at making allowances for the other parties in the mix.

    This is why I insist upon literal interpretations of your messages. I said nothing of the sort. You accuse me of hyperbole, yet when I make a statement such as "They want separable security", you pretend to quote in rebuttal, "who allegedly wants so desperately". I say, "The fact the latter two are self-serving and have sections in them politically or economically unacceptable to other parties", and you change it to "a thoroughly self-serving standard that is politically or economically unacceptable to everyone else." The standards are not "thoroughly" self serving and they are not unacceptable to "everyone" else.

    There are two sections of OCAP which are unacceptable to people like me. Most people probably don't care, but even if they do, it represents a deal impediment which could very easily be modified. CableLabs has no reason to do so, however. I want to be able to say, "No" to downloading software into my equipment should I so decide, but the spec doesn't require the CATV company give me the choice. They can give me a choice if they want and would still be perfectly within the spec, but they are not required to give it to me. People who check the "get updates from Microsoft automatically" probably don't care about this. They also probably make up the bulk of the consumer base. I'd be happy if not.

    I also want to be able to obtain 3rd party software and load it myself onto the TiVo, but the spec would allow them to refuse to provide service to me if I did so, which consequently pretty much eliminates the likelihood any such software would ever be developed.

    There are also a couple of small sections in the hardware spec that 3rd party manufacturers don't like much, but a little leaning from the FCC or even consumers and that could easily have gone away, as well. If the FCC had been doing their job, this all would have evaporated 15 years ago.

    None of it was insurmountable, or in fact is even yet insurmountable.

    Note there are very real security and support issues for the CATV company surrounding the problematic sections of the specs, and they would have been foolish in the extreme to blithely open their network up to malicious or inadvertent attack from 3rd party software and hardware. Failure to take proper precautions in those areas could easily result not only in serious impacts to their ability to provide service, but also severe threats to their customers. What would you say if because of delinquent OCAP specifications, someone was able to hack into the CATV system and completely erease the hard drive on your TiVo, making it worthless? Worse, what would you say if they were able to hack into your home network and steal your identity? There are very good reasons why those specifications were written. It's just when they solved the problem the provisions allow them to be more restrictive in their administration of the network than is necessary or should be, and nothing would prevent them from going to that length.

    It is workable from every standpoint. That someone objects to it is inevitable. That it should have been ratified, hopefully in a modestly modified form, but wasn't is far from entirely their fault. The simple fact is there is no way the equipment manufacturers will even accept any unified standard unless they are forced to do so. Cable does not have that authority.

    What the FCC does is not within their control. What the CATV equipment manufacturers do is not within their control, except in the very most indirect and strictly limited fashion. What the CE manufacturers do is not within their control. Cable providers collectively most assuredly must take the blame for some of the failures in the negotiations for a spec for separable security, but then so must the other parties. By the way, the other parties were just as free to come up with a published spec for separable security. Mostly they did not, and the few who did came up with impractical or unworkable solutions. Yet you insist the CATV company is entirely to blame because they didn't unilaterally come up with the solution? Why didn't the 3rd party manufacturers come up with the solution? They are the ones who have to make the equipment for consumers. Why didn't the CATV equipment manufacturers com up with a unified solution? They came up with three equally workable proprietary ones. All they had to do was agree on producing one, rather than three. How is that somehow not malfeasant, but CableLabs's effort, which was equally workable but failed to offer any opportunity to corner the CATV equipment market, was? Unless the government forces them to, there is no way the CATV equipment manufacturers would ever accept an open standard. How is that cable's fault?

    Do you know what arbitrary means? There is no "optimal" number, and the number has nothing to do with SDV. The MPEG2 HD streams broadcast by the networks require approximately 5.5 times the bandwidth of an SD MPEG stream. I used the number 22 because it is evenly divisible by both 5.5 and 2, and results in an integral number of slices allocated to both SD and HD streams. Use whatever number you want.

    ...Because you apparently haven't a clue what SDV is or how it works.

    No, they aren't. Name one linear market anywhere with a 750MHz system, 77 analog channels, 51 HD channels, and 300 plus SD channels. There isn't one. Add VOD and Video Rewind, and the number of unique streams soars to several thousand.

    Not just one, but no fewer than 3 of them exist. You're saying no standard exists over and over doesn't make it so. Get somone with the clout to force all the CATV equipment manufacturers to settle on a single one, and Bob's your uncle. Hmm, I wonder who has that clout? TWC? Motorola knows TWC isn't going to buy their hardware, so why should they be the ones to cave? Cox? They've given Scientific Atlanta the middle finger, so why should SA abandon their standard just because Cox says so?

    Leaving the fact you can't count aside, you simply have no idea about what you are speaking. VOD and Video Rewind up the number of "channels" in use manyfold. With VOD and Video Rewind, there may easily be 200 or 300 streams carrying Thursday night's episode of ER, each one shifted by a few seconds or minutes.

    Because I'm stupid and haven't a clue about what I am speaking. Because I am not an engineer. Because I have no idea what digital video is or how it works. Because I've never had to purchase CATV equipment and don't realize that it's virtually free. Because I don't know how SDV works or what its advantages over classical transmission systems are. Yeah, that must be it.

    Then why is DirecTV crowing about having 150 HD channels online by the end of this year? At the rate TWC is going, they'll have more than 75. Why should other subscribers give up 20 or 30 HD channels just so you can get them as well? Having you disconnect altogether makes much more sense.

    1. Every single video channel carried by TWC San Antonio has Video Rewind available. This automatically allocates several thousand channels for SDV use. Obviously you are volunteering to take all calls from customers who are irate because they've lost Video Rewind.

    2. By a "much heavier emphasis on HD", I presume you mean more HD channels? Any time the number of channels grows, by inevitable consequence the average market share of each channel must drop. The CATV system enjoys significant monetary benefits any time a channel whose penetration does not equal 100% on a node by node basis is placed onto SDV. I doubt that more than 5 or 6 of the HD channels have a 100% penetration on a node by node basis, and it's very unlikely any new ones will even come close. If half the city had HD sets, it would be a different matter, but they don't.
    Yet again the kettle speaks. While "fringe" channels are most certainly excellent grist for the SDV mill, the CATV provider can enjoy significant benefits from moving channels with market shares in excess of 5% to SDV. By the statements in the article, less than 50% of viewers currently have HD, so on average that means if a channel enjoys a 10% market share, the HD version of it only enjoys a 5% market share. The fact HD sets tend to be clumped into specifc areas of town makes the market share on a node by node basis even smaller. If there are 50 channels broadcast in both SD and HD, then the vast majority of those channels must have less than a 2% market share, and the HD versions of those must have less than 1%. The CATV engineering staff would have to be idiots not to put the majority of those channels on SDV. The fact you don't like it is irrelevant.

    (Emphasis added by me.) No, actualy, it looks like I may have gotten through a little bit. It is the 3rd party devices, not the CableCards, which are incompatible with SDV. Shall I say it again? No? I don't know if you think your mouth will burst into flames if you say it, or something, but it is the 3rd party devices that don't work with SDV, not the CableCards. 'Stick it into an SDV compatible device, and the CableCard works famously with SDV. Yet until now you continually insisted CableCards don't work with SDV. The statement is simply and completely false no matter how one slices it.

    SDV and other 2-way protocols long predate the existence of the first 3rd party unidirectional CableCard host. TiVo and everyone else knew fully well the S3 wouldn't be compatible with systems already online and those soon to come before the first schematic of an S3 went on a TiVo engineer's desk. That's not to say it's TiVo's fault, either. They waited to deploy the S3 as long as they could and then some. If anything, TiVo breaks SDV, not the other way around, although that isn't accurate either. Whether you like it or not and whether you understand it or not, the situation is far more complex than pedestrian platitudes can quantify.

    I wouldn't dream of playing with that statement, because it is the first nearly fully accurate one you have made in this entire dialogue. You should have said "CableCard hosts, not CableCard devices, because the CableCards themselves are devices and are not proprietary, but even I'll allow that's a very tiny nit.

    OK, so I'm baiting you, right? Wrong. I want you (and everyone else) to quit screaming about CableCards, quit screaming about SDV, quit screeaming about their local CATV company and start screaming at the FCC to get off their arses and enact a unified standard for bidirectional hosts. Demanding that TWC or anyone else get rid of SDV accomplishes nothing good but does do a great deal of damage. The problem is the hosts. Get it? Fix the hosts and we're all good. Get it?

    And you criticize the CATV companies for being shortsighted? First of all, from a technical and engineering standpoint the USB dongle is the second worst of the practical methods of delivering SDV to an S3 TiVo. More importantly, however, the fact is the existence of a dongle only entrenches the proprietary protocols even deeper. If the CATV companies are collectively loathe to abandon their respectively chosen technology now, how much more so are they likely to be so when they've bought several million dollars worth of dongles on top of their current expenditures?

    I have news for you. The TiVo HD is typically $100 - $150 cheaper than the S3. What's more, there are other OTA HD DVR options, just no other CabeCard options. Certainly it's much cheaper all the way around to go with just analog basic SD cable and OTA HD.

    Once again, I never said that. I'll allow I wasn't specific, but I knew perfectly good and well when I purchased my first S3 in September 2006, my second one in June 2007, and my TiVo HD in December 2007 that they were not directly compatible with SDV,and that SDV would be widely deployed within 1 or 2 years. It was no secret.

    That is exactly the situation. The CATV industry has spent over $10 billion in the last several years on proprietary technology. Abandoning those technologies means chucking $10 billion in investments. Since there is no ratified unified open standard in existence, their only choice would be to purchase proprietary systems. If a standard does get ratified, then those who don't have the proprietary standard on hand will have to chuck their gear (or retrofit it). The lucky ones who have purchased the system which does get ratified won't have to do anything.

    I didn't say they were. I said every channel on that QAM becomes unusable to every subscriber served by that QAM.

    The TiVo isn't useable for SDV services right now, or hadn't you noticed?

    It means nothing of the sort. What it does mean is that some 60 or 70% of the channels would go dark, and IPPV, VOD, and Video Rewind would quit working altogether.

    Boy, I sure am stupid aren't I? I guess I just can't count. $17M is the amount TWC spent on QAMs. Add the cost of buildings, HVAC systems, generators, UPS systems, fire supression systems, fiber installation, fiber nodes, 10G transport systems, video server farms and close to 800,000 STBs / DVRs, and the number for TWC San Antonio was well over $50,000,000. The $10B number is what has been spent by the entire CATV industry.

    Since there is no open system to which to move, upon what else should I have based my argument? I live in the real world, not fantasyland.

    Is that why their revenues of more than $3,000,000 a month have plummeted to nothing? Oh, wait...

    Unethical they are. Dishonest they are. Unscrupulous they are. Overpriced they are. Stupid? 'Not so much.

    If they are so stupid, and make you so angry, why are you a customer?

    So disconnect service. Then you won't be paying them a cent.

    No, you see I do actually know how to count. Take the number of S3 class units sold to date. Multiply by the total number of CATV subscriobers in San Antonio. Divide by the total number of CATV subscribers in the nation. Add in a fudge factor just to make sure one isn't underestimating the number of TiVos in the city.

    The remainder of your rant is so abusive and utterly ridiculous I won't even bother with it except for this:

    'Haven't bothered to look at one for anything other than testing purposes for nearly 8 years. That you are unaware of it somehow fails to surprise me.
  13. bicker

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    I cannot believe that you're focusing on the trivial parts of my message and ignoring the main points, so I'll reply based on the assumption that you're objecting to the main points: Do you really want me to prove that America has become progressively pro-business since Ronald Reagan took office? Do you really need someone to contrast the commerce-related decisions regulatory authorities like the SEC and judicial authorities like the Supreme Court, pre-1980 versus post-1980? It seems to me that that's just a sleazy debating tactic, insisting on evidence of facts that all reasonable folks know and accept to be true, just to waste someone's time. With respect, if you really are unaware of this, do your own research.

    And that's the only part of my statement that matters. Face it folks: The business of America is business. Get used to it. And get over it.
  14. bicker

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    Which part didn't you understand? :confused:

    Okay. Now please explain what this has to do with the comments you were replying to. Many CE manufacturers offered CableCard equipped televisions and were not adequately rewarded by consumers for doing so.
  15. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    I can't believe that you consider trivial elements of your post to be the main points. The Devil is in the details, by the way. Anything is possible if one needn't bother with the details.
    No, because it's irrelevant. I'll stipulate to it, if you like. (Although I submit it may have been as much the comments by the Japanese and widespread comparisons to them which had as much to do with it as who was falling asleep at meetings in the White House.)

    Statements about the state of the regulatory environment - no matter how accurate - don't prove that a document written by an industry which negatively impacts the industry including those who wrote the document was deliberately written in that fashion. It also doesn't prove the regulatory authority (the FCC and Congress) were smart enough to figure out exactly how their actions would impact business. Indeed, having stipulated the environment is pro business, and taking into account the situation is bad for the majority of the businesses and the huge majority of the revenue involved, exactly how do you reach the conclusion it was deliberate? With the exception of the CATV equipment manufacturers, the industry would have won big time if the FCC had ratified OpenCable 2.0 several years ago.

    You are claiming the results of the current situation prove the intent of the participants at the outset, but in so doing you are insisting the actions of the participants produced exactly the intended results, and that is a very difficult thing to accomplish even in a simple situation. This is far from a simple situation, and I submit almost every business interest involved wishes it would just go away.

    Oh, horrors. Someone has actually asked you to back up an opinion with supporting evidence? Oh, yeah, that's sleazy, all right.

    Actually, I would be happy with specific statements of premise connected by valid logical elements. "America is pro-business so the failure must have been intentional" doesn't even come close to qualifying.

    Facts all reasonable folks know and accept to be true rarely are in fact true.
    Ask any moderately sophisticated question concerning history, philosophy, religion, law, business, math, or science, and you'll get a wrong answer from upwards of 90% of the respondents.

    That has never been my intent. I may (perhaps foolishly) waste my own time if I so choose, but deliberately wasting anyone else's would be highly unethical.

    I've never felt you were failing to offer the proper respect, but kudos for being polite. Of course I have done my own research and will continue to do so. For some reason you seem to think doing so will cause me to agree with your conclusions. It's possible, but not likely. After all, I agree with your facts. It's your conclusions which are flawed.

    No, it isn't. Logic and supporting statements - both lacking here - are the important part.

    Now that's just silly. Clearly by your own statements things do change, and although you didn't specifically state this, the implication would seem to be we made the change to a pro-business environment ourselves. If we changed it once, we can change it again. No one should get used to it or get over it. It is not only our right but our obligate duty to try to change things we feel are wrong. That said, many of us feel some aspects of the situation don't need changing, so it is also our right to support the status quo.

    All of that is beside the point, however. When two roughly equivalent business interests are at odds with each other, one cannot point to a generalized pro-business regulatory environment to explain why one is favored over the other by a regulatory situation, and one certainly cannot do so when both are damaged by the situation. In this case we have dozens of business interests and at least 4 major industries involved in the mix, and only the smallest one is benefiting at all. Certainly some aspects of the regulatory environment played a significant role, perhaps even a deciding role in producing the current situation, but leaping to the conclusion the results were deliberate rather than unintentional crosses an invalid logical gap.

    To bring this back to my original point, it's entirely possible the intent behind this whole mess was to produce this very mess. I cannot definitively prove otherwise, but it is unlikely in my estimation. Entropy and chaos - not to mention stupidity - just play too big a role in history for any group to have that accurate an influence over a long period of time. In addition, the situation is just far too detrimental to the businesses for it to have been the expected result of a pro-business regulatory environment. For some reason you think it is likely, but you probably won't be able to prove it definitively, either.
  16. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    As I already mentioned, it's not the only solution. Comcast has a perfectly wonderful one. [/sarcasm]

    See this link for details. I presume you think this would be a much better solution?
  17. DaveDFW

    DaveDFW Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Richardson, TX
    Time-Warner is already putting 3 HD channels per QAM, and they are the biggest deployers of SDV.

    Low quality and Tivo incompatibility combined!

  18. cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    I don't know where you heard this, but in my area that is an outright falsehood.
  19. DaveDFW

    DaveDFW Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Richardson, TX
    TWC North Texas is putting 3 HDs per qam, that's a fact.

    And we're getting SDV channels this week. Nothing I said was incorrect.

    I won't know what the SDV channels' bitrates will be until they show up on Thursday or so. I doubt they'll be as compressed as the HD channels I already receive.

    Below are the qam-to-hd channel mapping we have currently:

    Channel 106 687 Mhz
    106-1 cinemax hd
    106-2 starz hd
    106-3 discovery hd theater

    Channel 107 693 Mhz
    107-1 ktvt hd
    107-2 tnt hd
    107-3 ktxa hd

    Channel 110 711 Mhz
    110-1 kdfw hd
    110-2 kxas hd
    110-3 weather +
    110-4 abc news now

    Channel 111 717 Mhz
    Hbo hd
    showtime hd
    espn hd

    Channel 112 723 Mhz
    hd net

    Channel 115 741 Mhz
    115-2 kdfi hd
    Hd net Movies
    espn2 hd

  20. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    Well, you said they were combined, which isn't strictly correct. It sounds to me like the reduction in bitrate on linear channels was a stop-gap measure to get more HD online until they get SDV up and running. Once SDV is fully implemented, there's no point in limiting the quality of HD material that severely.

    I doubt it, as well. I suspect they'll drop to 2HD + 1SD, which is what many systems are deploying.

    Warning: The following is strictly speculation on my part. I have no factual data to back it up. It is absolutely nothing more than a guess.

    So no flames, please. Feel free to dissent.

    I suspect what's going to happen in a large majority of CATV systems next year is the CATV provider will take the OTA digital conversion as an excuse to drop many, or in some cases perhaps even all analog channels from their offerings. Some CATV systems have 100 channels of analog video. Each of those is eating up space which could be occupied by 2 linear HD channels, 11 linear SD channels, or a dozen or more SDV HD channels. Of course, it's likely to tick off a large number of basic cable subscribers, but they can claim the FCC conversion mandate is forcing them into it. It isn't true, of course, but it isn't quite a bald-faced lie, either.

    OTOH, keeping at least a significant number of analog channels might keep a large number of people who currently have no service of any sort from turning to satellite companies.

    It's a fine line to walk, and I wonder which side of it, if either one, the majority of CATV providers will choose to walk.

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