1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

SDV FAQ

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

  1. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,924
    0
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    Yes, but a factor of two or three is virtually nothing compared to the resources made available by SDV. Even if their entire 870MHz is nothing but digital QAMs, that represents only 300 or so HD channels, each and every one of which must start and stop at one fixed moment. Using SDV, the "pool" of available programs can be literally unlimited. Hypothetically it could be millions, or tens of millions. In a practical sense, it means that more than 1/3 of the 1,000,000 or so receivers in a large urban market could be watching something different than what anyone else in the market is watching at that moment. If the node size were small enough, that could be bumped up to allow each and every subscriber in the entire system to be watching something different, but analyses of the traffic patterns of subscribers show diminishing returns when the average number of receivers on a node dips below a moderate multiple of the number of available SDV streams. As long as the average sub doesn't encounter the dreaded channel unavailable banner more than once or twice a year and not for more than a few minutes, they aren't going to complain.

    Note again the largest utilization of bandwidth across an entire market is not any number of scheduled events, nor even of any highly specialized events, but rather interactive events which require what most often is the same content thousands of other subs may be watching stream out a few seconds or minutes earlier or later than all the other copies of the exact same program. Every time an SDV sub hits <Pause> or <Rewind> on his STB, the server has to split off that sub's stream from the rest of the system watching The Apprentice. Every time an SDV sub pulls up VOD and orders Real Time With Bill Maher at 11:07 instead of 11:00, it requires a unique data stream dedicated only to that customer. No matter how much bandwidth the provider has, in a linear broadcast model this just isn't possible.

    Now, it's true these two particular (very popular) features of SDV are mostly made moot by having a DVR instead of an STB, but even those subs who have a leased DVR probably don't have two or more, and yet would like those capabilities on the sets which don't have a DVR attached. Most of the myriad of other services engendered by SDV cannot be duplicated on a non SDV DVR. They also cannot be duplicated by any other non-SDV equipment, which right now includes satellite services and FIOS. It would be singularly odd for either of those industries to overlook this fact. Unless they can come up with a very inexpensive 2-way satellite alternative, the satellite companies are ultimately SOL in this respect. FIOS is another matter, however. It won't cost FIOS any more to convert to SDV than it is costing the CATV providers.
    I'll be totally shocked if FIOS doesn't have a significant SDV or similar offering within 2 years.
     
  2. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

    63
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I stand corrected :)


    Wait...the law of diminishing returns is true?? Ridiculous! :p

    See, I really do think that is ridiculous. I can't imagine why this would even be necessary. I've never understood the appeal of this kind of thing or why CATV providers (well, at least TWC in my area) push it as this amazing feature. That's what a DVR is for. I don't know the business math behind it, but until they rolled out such a feature, I can't imagine that people were clamoring for it. It was a completely new, heretofore unheard of feature. If they just never bothered rolling it out and instead suggested that the DVR would be the best option, would people really complain? I mean, satellite can't do that, can it?
     
  3. ilh

    ilh New Member

    377
    0
    Dec 21, 2007
    lrhorer,

    I thought VOD with FiOS uses IPTV for the on-demand delivery, so that would not seem to require SDV with FiOS. Apparently PPV is not over IP. Since it seems like the largest growth is likely in VOD, including all the pausing and asynchrony of video streams to homes, putting that over IPTV instead of the 870MHz "cable" stream should help a lot, no?

    --Lee
     
  4. lgerbarg

    lgerbarg New Member

    68
    0
    Jun 26, 2000
    Troy, NY, USA
    FIOS already delivers interactive content via IP, in the 1490nm spectrum. Their 870MHz cable spectrum is separate at 1550nm. Deploying SDV buys them no additional interactive or IP bandwidth.
     
  5. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
    0
    Nov 27, 2002
    That´s what you get when you talk to a TiVo employee. :p

    My question is whether there is any info on the availability of the dongle thingy since I last logged in here feb 1st. I took the comment on the earnings call that progress was continuing to be made without a reiteration of the "second QTR" time frame as an indication we are looking beyond June in the absence of any other info.
     
  6. Apr 1, 2008 #1286 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,924
    0
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    I am not all that familiar with FIOS, so you and ilh may well be correct. It is the switched nature of SDV which makes it efficient, and if FIOS' IPTV offering is switched at a point where a significantly small number of users are sharing the bandwidth, then it enjoys the same benefits as SDV. Note, however, this still requires a 2-way host, whether CableCard based or otherwise.

    Employing SDV does free up bandwidth, no matter what, and since it is interactive it does by definition buy them additional interactive bandwidth. Depending upon the number and nature of their 1550nm carriers, however, and how many subs receive the same set of carriers, it may be unnecessary.

    Note also that as time goes by and eventually the number of users taking any significant advantage whatsoever of the linear channels, there will eventually come a point when the entire 870MHz RF spectrum will beg to either convert to a switched protocol or shut down entirely. 'No reason to maintain something nobody watches.
     
  7. Apr 1, 2008 #1287 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,924
    0
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    Yeah, point taken. At least he was genuinely enthusiastic and very helpful. Those qualities are sometimes hard by which to come in support personnel.

    'Nary a peep that I have seen or heard.

    Let's just say I'm not holding my breath.
     
  8. Apr 2, 2008 #1288 of 2401
    lgerbarg

    lgerbarg New Member

    68
    0
    Jun 26, 2000
    Troy, NY, USA
    Verizon boxes are all two way, though they use IP over MoCA for their return path. Since they have been using MoCA based boxes, I am not entirely certain their ONTs support any sort of QPSK/QAM/DOCSIS based return path (some ONTs can act as a host and then tunnel it over IP back to the headend). Not sure how that will effect their ability to support tru2way and such.

    Sorry, let me rephrase that. Given the inherent segregation of their various services, moving to SDV does not free up bandwidth that can be used for IP traffic, or for their existing interactive (IPTV based) services. SDV is a two way service, but I would not call it interactive in the sense that people generally use the term.

    Anyway, suffice it to say, their network is built wrong for deploying SDV, and the bandwidth savings they would get from it could be not used to enhance their current services, beyond the ability to have more linear mapped channels. Given that they can already have more channels than anyone else due to their IP and IPTV being out of band, it seems unlikely they will ever need to deploy SDV as such. I could easily see them ending up totally IP based at some distant point in the future, but I suspect that 1550nm is going to remain an 870MHz non-SDV QAM based system until it is shut down.
     
  9. Apr 2, 2008 #1289 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

    7,308
    0
    Jan 10, 2002
    NJ
    I'll take this as an opportunity to make some points about the relative importance of tivo subs.

    first- all customers are NOT equal to cable. Directv as an example recently found that a large portion of their profit comes from a small portion of their customers at the top end.
    check out http://dtv.client.shareholder.com/events.cfm look at the powerpoint presentation from the feb 22,2006 meeting and look at slide 64.
    Basically directv figures the top 33&#37; of their subs account for 63% of their profit. I'd venture to say a tivo cablecard sub is very likely to be in the top 33% of cable's customer structure. Directv also figures the bottom 35% only account for 13% of their profit. (with the bottom 15% acounnting for just 3%)


    I'm not certain but my guess would be that DBS's incremental cost is a bunch less then cable's since there is no wireline infrastructure or nodes to maintain- one satellite serves 10million subs just as well as 11 million but cable needs to use a bit more infrastructure to add additional subs. Also- cable's top end revenue generators might even account for more profit since cable has the ability to sell broadband and telephone that DBS just doesn't have. So it stands to reason that cable cares even more about their top end subs then dbs would.

    (Flip side to all this is DISH loves the bottom feeders so maybe directv's math is wrong- LOL)

    Because of all that- verizon "cherry picking" is even bigger then someone just competing across the board. Verizon going after the affluent high-end subs that buy TRIPLE PLAY is just the damage that that cable doesn't want. An analog sub is somewhat less likely to have triple play then a digital sub. And cable seems to be making all their recent gains selling the other services besides cable.

    Also- clearly people with HD tivo's have a bit of disposable income. So again they as a whole are likely to generate more revenue for cable.

    So TiVo cablecard subs are probably more profitable and therefore more important then any random sub. But the question still remains does any one tivo cablecard sub produce enough additional profit to offset the loss of X amount of analog subs that need to be sacrificed to keep the tivo sub happy. That's the 64 thousand dollar question.

    To kind of place a ballpark number on it and making a few assumptions (not to be taken as gospel but to put numbers on things to get an idea of scope)
    Assuming cables profit bands fall in the same tiers as directv. Then basically you can piss off 9 or 10 subs in the bottom 15% in order to keep one sub in the top 33%. MY OPINION- one can assume a tivo cablecard sub is in that top 33%, but the problem is pulling analog channels probably offends many more then 10 people for each tivo sub. And to make it worse- likely plenty of the people that cable is likely to piss off are in the middle bands- not the bottom end. Many people seem to have digital cable yet still have analog outlets for their secondary sets.

    Bottom line- Tivo subs probably have a more clout but the costs to keep them happy by not doing sdv and instead taking analog channels away is likely pretty high and therefore not worth the effort.

    On the other hand- keeping the cable subs without cablecard that are in that top third is very important. They probably have HD in higher numbers then the bottom tiers and to keep them happy and away from fios and DBS you need to increase the HD. And the easiest way to do that seems to be SDV.
     
  10. Apr 2, 2008 #1290 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,382
    43
    Nov 9, 2003
    Georgia
    Good point, but without a similar study of cable customers it is as likely as not to be the case that the proportions are the exact opposite for cable, i.e., that the high-end customers flock to satellite (or FiOS, since that's exactly the kind of customer that FiOS is evidently cherry-picking for), and therefore represent a much greater contribution to the whole. Since satellite doesn't provide analog service, and doesn't provide regulated lifeline service ($8.50 per month, here, imposed on cable, per regulation), it stands to reason that 100% of those "low-end" customers choose cable over satellite.

    Wal-Mart is poised to become the top seller of HDTVs this December -- Ask yourself, which "end" of the market will they be serving? And they'll make many times more money per store doing so, just this year, than the entire Cambridge Soundworks chain made selling HDTVs in the entirety of its existence. There is a place -- a very specific and significant place -- for both "ends" of the market, and neither end is "better" or "worse" to pursue: $1,000,000 of profit, made $1,000 at a time, is just as good as $1,000,000 of profit, made $10,000 at a time.

    Note that DirecTV doesn't even support TiVo CableCard subscribers -- they don't consider such folks to be in their intended target market. There's no reason to think that that specific group will be considered worthwhile of pursuing in earnest by any supplier: That specific group has already pre-determined their supplier, in most cases, and so the desires of that specific group is thereby devalued by the reality of the situation.

    Cable has already incurred the cost to wire most everyone, whether they're customers or not. Turning service on incurs a very small incremental cost.

    I think that's true for a different reason, but only with a proviso: A high-margin customer is always better than a low-margin customer, but only as long as the costs to attract each is held constant. Otherwise, the math gets a lot more complicated.
     
  11. Apr 2, 2008 #1291 of 2401
    Firekite

    Firekite New Member

    63
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I was really hoping those underlined bits were links to sources. Can you provide them? It's interesting stuff.

    I tell you what, having worked retail before I can tell you I'd much rather be making it at $10,000 at a time ;)
     
  12. Apr 2, 2008 #1292 of 2401
    bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,382
    43
    Nov 9, 2003
    Georgia
    Uh read it again. Some of it hasn't happened yet. I don't have a time machine. ;)

    That's the difference between a sales person and a business manager.
     
  13. Apr 2, 2008 #1293 of 2401
    jbmdharris

    jbmdharris New Member

    5
    0
    Apr 2, 2008
    I'm considering buying a TiVo and getting rid of my TWC SA8300HDC with awful Navigator software. The gotcha is SDV and I know very little about TiVo. (Never owned one... but have used cable-company provided DVRs for several years.) I've been scanning this and other TiVo forums and I know there's a dongle that someday may come out enabling TivoHD to get SDV channels... but given the history of troubles in this area, I'm not counting on it any time in my lifetime or that something else won't come up that gets in the way of it working.

    So what I don't see in all of my searches is any discussion of any kind of component or technology that exists *now* that will allow a TiVo HD (or heck, any HD DVR product) to record an HD output from and drive a cable company-provided HD set-top box like the series 2 TiVos can do with standard definition set top boxes. Does anything like this exist? (But of course, recording an HD signal instead of just the SD signal.)

    Is there any kind of third-party device that can convert HDMI or component output back to a coax input that TiVo HD can record in HD? What about a software update and device that enables TiVo HD to send out remote control sequences to the HD cable box to change the channel?

    It seems to me that the ability for TiVo to record from and control cable and satellite provided set top boxes has been the single key technology that enabled TiVo to exist and be viable in the marketplace. Why on earth would this function be removed from the newer models even with the cable card capabilities.
     
  14. Apr 2, 2008 #1294 of 2401
    bxojr

    bxojr New Member

    51
    0
    Mar 4, 2005
    Pittsboro, NC
    Others may be able to answer more authoritatively, but my understanding is that there are basically three reasons why the answer is "no":

    • A high-definition digital signal represents a MUCH larger volume of data than a standard-definition signal. Encoding that much data on the fly is simply not practical with current technology. I have seen news stories about other companies (not TiVo) developing a "component-in" HD DVR, but no such product exists yet; and it would likely be very expensive.
    • Recording the video output from a cable box would mean that the digital signal is sent through another generation of encoding and decoding, which would unavoidably entail some loss of quality. Which is probably not what you want, if you're going to the trouble to watch HD in the first place.
    • Such a scheme would also bypass all of the copy-protection schemes that exist in the digital data stream, which would tick off the content owners. That's something TiVo has been careful to avoid doing (same reason there's no thirty-second skip by default).

    My guess is that such a DVR may be just possible technically, but it's very unlikely we'll ever see one from TiVo.
     
  15. Apr 2, 2008 #1295 of 2401
    Firekite

    Firekite New Member

    63
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    *eyebrow*

    You make some rather authoritative forecasts that sound like you're very confident in them and then mention some other specifics about current and past stats. Where did you get any of that information?
     
  16. Apr 2, 2008 #1296 of 2401
    ajwees41

    ajwees41 Active Member

    2,010
    1
    May 7, 2006
    Omaha,NE
    why would you want to do that? The S3 or HD Tivo only need cable cards to decrypt the signal
     
  17. Apr 3, 2008 #1297 of 2401
    jbmdharris

    jbmdharris New Member

    5
    0
    Apr 2, 2008
    Cable cards can't pick up SDV broadcasts. I'm a Time Warner Cable customer in an area where SDV is being rolled out. We have some SDV channels on my system now that I would not be able to get. More and more digital channels will be converted to SDV this year to make room for new HDTV channels. Until the SDV dongle is complete, available, proven to work, and guaranteed to work into the future, any TiVo HD I buy would continue to be crippled more and more throughout the year until the dongle is available... assuming it works and Time Warner doesn't do something else to break TiVo in the meantime.

    Depending upon your cable system and digital lineup, TiVo HD may not be any better than the TiVo unit able to record standard definition broadcasts on analog TV... and I'm trying to replace Time Warner's unreliable HD DVR which gives me access to all the digital channels... even the SDV ones.
     
  18. Apr 3, 2008 #1298 of 2401
    jbmdharris

    jbmdharris New Member

    5
    0
    Apr 2, 2008
    Good point... I hadn't considered this. Given how long it takes to produce a digital home movie in DVD format should have clued me in to this. So TiVo (and I guess other DVRs) mpeg encode analog signals but just copy the raw digital signal to disk (since it's already mpeg encoded coming down the pipe)?

    I would prefer not to have quality loss... but I'll take quality loss over no ability to record at all.

    This is probably the "nail in the coffin" so to speak. In order to make such a device and have the media industry not completely block it in litigation, it would have to honor the digital copyright data in the stream. And given other posts I've seen on this newsgroup where people complain that they can't copy recorded shows off of their TiVo units to their PC because of incorrect copy protection bits set by cable providers or networks... the device probably couldn't actually record much.

    So, I'm guessing this means that TiVo is able to do what they are doing without any more legal problems than they have because their device records the data stream for a specific purpose (time shifting) and there is a way to prevent distribution of the recording (the copy protection information provided by the content provider, network, or cable system).

    What this all seems to boil down to is there really is no alternative DVR solution for customers of cable systems using switched digital video technology right now... Well, except for completely switching to satellite. And since I choose not to use satellite (for reasons I won't go into here) and since Time Warner is replacing decent DVR software (Aptiv Passport) with awful, buggy software (OCAP Navigator) on all of their HD DVR boxes this year, I'm stuck until either Time Warner fixes the problems with their DVR software, or the dongle comes out so I can actually use a TiVo HD if I were to buy it.

    I wish I had come to this realization two weeks ago before I bought my new TV and switched out my service. Now I've got a DVR system that doesn't have features I've come to rely on, I'm spoiled by the new HDTV and don't want to return it, and can't really switch to a TiVo HD DVR just yet. I guess the rest of you guys are now saying "join the club" huh?
     
  19. Apr 3, 2008 #1299 of 2401
    ADent

    ADent Active Member

    2,130
    0
    Jan 7, 2000
    Denver, CO
    An S2 TiVo would do analog quality.

    Cable boxes are supposed to have a FireWire output, and there are some firewire recorders - but nothing (that I know of) with a TiVo like interface to control the cable box. See http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=42 .
     
  20. Apr 3, 2008 #1300 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

    2,390
    2
    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    Digital cable STBs are supposed to have 1394/DTCP (Firewire) connections--it's a bidirectional communications link. They should not require a TiVo-like IR repeater for control, since they are further required to implement a subset of the defined AV/C commands for tuners: the device recording them should be able to send them messages over 1394 to get the tuner's status and configuration and to turn the tuner on and off and change the channel.

    This interface and these specific capabilities are required by Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, §76.640(b)(4):
    For some reason, the CE OEMs who make most of these boxes and their firmware have found it difficult to produce compliant products, so there are very few products which do comply and very few cable providers have them. But every box that they purchased for the past two years, eight months should have had working 1394/DTCP connections.
     

Share This Page