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SDV FAQ

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

  1. Apr 8, 2008 #1361 of 2401
    ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

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    If you ran a company and had the great opportunity to build a product that will sell in very low volumes and customers want for darn near free, you'd want to put as little energy into it as possible. A modified DCT-700 fits that bill to a T.
     
  2. Apr 8, 2008 #1362 of 2401
    hsfjr

    hsfjr (no subject)

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    Sure. Could end up being in that case and I don't disagree with two posts above. I actually was trying to point out that folks have thought that it was actually a picture of the final [Motorola] device. Zatz had only bulleted:

    "Motorola’s form factor similar to small DCT700 cable box (shown... "

    And "form factor similar" very well might be 'industry slang' for "that new stuff shoved into this old case"...

    And I don't believe there would be any need for a message indicator light on the front display (as the picture has).

    And No I would't actually put it in the wall. Was just saying there didn't seem to be a need for it NOT to be hidden away behind something (or on the floor under the cabinet).

    I see they are also using the "tuning adapter" term there...
     
  3. Apr 9, 2008 #1363 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    my point would be that it's different. The fringe stuff that would have been channel 999 is better server being bit torrent or youtube or vod. But the content on the channel ranked #1 doesn't work well that way.

    I think there's a place for the several hundred linear channels that exist and that VOD/youtube etc are a different beast. That different beast might kill off a chunk of the borderline channels but in the end I think there's a sweet spot for linear broadcast- someplace in the current order of magnitude. Anything live like news and sports for one screams for broadcast. Then the top tiers of TV like is shown on the big networks- it's probably just more effective to gain eyeballs to play a popular show every monday at 8pm rather make it availible for download every monday at 8pm to watch whenever. There's a certain amount of water cooler talk about certain shows that make them more popular- if everyone is watching at a different time that goes bye bye.

    Other channels there's really not much point to being linear- kids channels might be one genre - they tend to play the same popular cartoons over and over and over again and kids dont mind repeats or care to wait around for a new one- so you could just put up 300 episodes of lilo and stitch cartoon for vod rather then showing 6 different episodes every day. But even disney channel has original programming in primetime - I THINK.

    So I dont think we'll get to 1,000 linear channels ever and I dont happen to think at this moment that we'll have just 10 linear channels and the rest vod anytime soon either.
     
  4. Apr 9, 2008 #1364 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    I read an article once that ATT (the old ATT that actually was a research organization) studied things and time and again they found that when bandwidth is involved. 90% of the people are happy with 10% of the volume. They found that building their networks (local, long distance, dial up, and then broadband)- the last 10% of the users are a pain and need 90% more. They argued unsuccessfully that unlimited internet plans were a huge waste of resources and that they negatively effect the providers profits BUT ALSO- the 90% of the people that are forced to subsidize the last 10%.

    Not sure if it's the same ratios with TV. But for phone and internet at least you can satisdy 90% with just 10% of the cost. Certainly when you get to the bottom of the pile of channels there are tiny percentages of people watching them.
     
  5. Apr 9, 2008 #1365 of 2401
    Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

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    It's quite possible. I can't find the articles, but ISTR that most households watch somewhere between 15 and 30 channels regularly, despite there being considerably more available.

    I think with Tivo, the channel lines become blurred as I think more of watching Heroes than watching NBC, and when a non-Tivo person asks what channel something is on, it's sometimes hard to remember!
     
  6. Apr 9, 2008 #1366 of 2401
    dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

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    And if you get rid of those 10% of users you'll find the remaining ones still fit into the same pattern; 10% of the remaining ones are using 90% of the bandwidth in use among them all.

    It's a nice statistic but really pretty pointless to try to use to justify cutting off customers; there'll always be 10% of customers you can cut off to reduce bandwidth usage. You'll always need to be looking at creating a bigger pipe for your customers.
     
  7. Apr 9, 2008 #1367 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    The original news break was back in August. Sometime around the beginning of November 2006, the CEA had complained to the FCC that, after years of waiting, what they got from the Cable industry for bidirectional interactive CableCARD was a scheme which integrally included OCAP, an expensive-to-implement and overly complex mechanism which could not possibly be included in television products on the lower end of the price range. Added to that was the fact that cable was rolling out SDV, presenting most new HD programming and some existing services in that fashion; the only avenue for creating retail devices capable of accessing SDV that the cable industry offered was a full implementation of OCAP. They proposed that the cable providers be made to implement a simpler, easier and cheaper to implement scheme in addition to OCAP, which they called Digital Cable Ready Plus (aka, "DCR+"). This would be a mechanism for accessing three interactive cable apps: Impulse Pay Per View, Video On Demand and SDV.

    That following August, in response to the FCC's request for comments on the CEA's Digital Cable Ready Plus proposal, the NCTA filed a counter-protest, claiming that implementation of DCR+ would take a very long time and cost a very great amount of money, all coming out of their pockets. Moreover, it couldn't possibly be ready to roll in time for the analog shut-off (though why they thought that was important is beyond me :rolleyes:). Additionally, in partnership with several OEMs, they'd been working on a solution to the tuning-SDV-in-low-end-products problem, which they called the Tuning Resolver. It was this August 2007 FCC filing which first mentioned the Tuning Resolver (now, apparently, "Tuning Adapter").

    Since then they've contrived to implement and begin distributing the tuning resolver without waiting for the FCC to make a decision on the DCR+ issue, in the apparent hope that an existing solution would stop them from ordering implementation of DCR+, since the worst part of the problem that DCR+ solved would have a real solution already deployed.
     
  8. Apr 9, 2008 #1368 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    that's interesting if true- I didn't see that bit of the study (it was like hundreds of pages so I just skimmed a summary). I took it to mean there is basically a hard line between the 10% and 90% but I could have just assumed that.

    is that a given or an educated guess on your part?

    I dont know if the study was really trying to analyze patterns- moreso it was making a point that unlimted offerings are wastefull becasue the 10% keep themselves in check when they have to pay. I guess the equivalint in the payt tv world would be stop with the all or nothing system and go a la carte.

    also- I'm not sure it's not wise from a business point of view. There's plenty of businesses that make money by trying to do one thing well, or aiming at a particular market, instead of being all things to all people. So it's possible from a business point of view it is wise at some point to say enough is enough as the returns aren't there. I suppose that for cable they ARE AT that point in regards to increasing bandwidth- they went from ~500 to 750 or now 870mhz. Jumping to 1000 might just be a huge expensive undertaking that yeilds little for the fringe- and so along comes SDV to change the whole paradigm becasue you dont need to increase the infrastructure's bandwidth anymore you just use it more efficiently. And that's how we are where we are today.
     
  9. Apr 9, 2008 #1369 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    I wonder if the CEA doesn't argue that SDV is nice but what about VOD and PPV. PPV has been around since the law was passed in 1996 and the first regs came out in like 1998. So it's been 10+ years to get to a point that PPV will work on a 3rd party device- seems a little excessive to me. But I guess the cable response will be the old standby: "OCAP , er um true2way, is almost ready and can do all things for everyone"
     
  10. Apr 9, 2008 #1370 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Cable has already argued (in that 8/07 FCC filing) that <tru2way> is here already and already widely deployed by them (all the SA boxes bought by TWC whose product designation ends in "C"--Explorer 8300HDC, 8240HDC, 4250HDC, etc--are <tru2way> compliant, most all of them running the absolutely horrific OCAP Digital Navigator IPG). They will argue that services like IPPV and VOD are not compelling or necessary for low-end products. What they cannot argue is that <tru2way>--particularly a useful OCAP platform (if that's not an oxymoron :D)--is very expensive to implement. Requiring OCAP for SDV will cut all low-end products out of access to any service they present as SDV, which is something they can hardly desire themselves. The CE OEMs have a real point--at least as far as SDV is concerned--and its not one that the FCC can ignore.

    Of course, <tru2way> won't always be so expensive--within a few years, we'll likely have a Cell processor, 1st and 2nd level cache and 128MB of RAM on a single carrier for $25/part, in lot quantities of 10K. But the cable industry has to live with the situation today :).

    If the scenarios that we've been discussing come to past, VOD will be much more important in the future, eliminating all but a relatively small range of linear video services. But you can't expect the OEMs, cable providers and FCC to be that far-sighted. Look at the "Unidirectional Digital Cable Ready" boondoggle they all so blythely bought into, obsolete nearly before it shipped.
     
  11. Apr 9, 2008 #1371 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    neither the law not the regulations exempted access to ippv or vod.

    The law is very broadbased basically saying anything they offer needs to be open.

    not sure how far they would get with the ippv and vod not being compelling- when they use VOD as a selling point and their csr's use both as a reason not to use a tivo or other cablecard devices

    But in the end I guess, it all depends on who has the better lobbyists. (as the fact that DBS is still completely exempt shows)
     
  12. Apr 9, 2008 #1372 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    So far as I know, nowhere in FCC regulations are they required to provide an open method for access to any and all programming on the cable. If you know differently, please point out the specific regs.

    In any case, cable will argue that they have provided access to IPPV and VOD services to third party devices: make your products compliant to the <tru2way> specs and they'll download their IPGs into it, and your customers will be able to access IPPV and VOD services through it, as well as a whole world of currently-difficult-to-imagine-yet-virtually-indispensible services :rolleyes:. Certainly nothing in FCC regs compells them to provide an inexpensive-to-implement mechanism through which retail devices can access their core interactive services--I'd like to see a draft of a regulation which tried to require that :).

    They wouldn't argue that access to IPPV and VOD weren't compelling in general--they'd just argue that low-end product by definition lack costly-to-implement features found in high-end products and that access to IPPV and VOD are features that can reasonably be omitted in the low-end. If someone who can only afford a $150 television wants access to IPPV and VOD, they can pay for that access incrementally at the ever-so-reasonable lease rate of a cable company provided STB :).
     
  13. Apr 9, 2008 #1373 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    the LAW says not just programming but SERVICES also- check out the law. I dont recall it specifically saying every channel- but the law seems pretty clear to me it includes all channels- but I'll let you argue that they are allowed to give just some channels or services.


    i didn't say anything about inexpensive- that's not written anyplace I know.

    In fact NO ONE has ever said that cablecards are inexpensive to mandate. The only argument is how expensive it is. The FCC never seems to respond to the NCTA's complaints about cost.


    you can start your reading here- 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

    and here's the FCC press release about it.

    http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Cable/News_Releases/1998/nrcb8013.html


    some quick snippets:



    like getting only some channels perhaps?



    in the order they basically crowned cablelabs to make the standards- the FCC wanted nothing to do with it. And despite others requests for an independant third party the FCC said cablelabs was basically the only one ready to move at that moment in time. But I think this bit above says something to the effect if cablelabs doesn't bring tangible choice (eg the CEA doesn't agree like has happened so far with OCAP) then perhaps the FCC will jump into the fray. (as the CEA probably argues they should do to make DCR+)

    just some snippets. Feel free to read the whole thing- I just skimmed so I may have taken things out of context.

    there are specific provisions that the FCC wouldn't make rules that stifle new technology- and that's exactly the point of SDV- it's new. Forcing cable to come up with DCR+ or OCAP before deploying SDV wouldn't be helpfull to progress so it's allowed to exist. I get see the point- can't stop progress and all.

    I'll even take that VOD is "new".

    Put program guides and IPPV existed in 1996 when the law passed- it's crazy in my mind that there is no real world deployed standard for either yet. So maybe the CEA should get their way with DCR+. The tuning resolver/adapter might not be the magic bullet if DVR+ did PPV and VOD but it doesn't. Cable better get true2way on the ground AND IN RETAIL for that "tangible choice" if they want to really show the train has left the station.


    That's the whole point of the law- the boxes have to be availible to purchase in retail- who cares if TW is using OCAP if the CEA refuses to built consumer devices- actually i think the actual law says "commerically availible"
     
  14. Apr 9, 2008 #1374 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    MichaelK --

    FCC 98-116, the FCC Report and Order that you quoted above, doesn't seem to be on your point. What it "ordered" was the inclusion of a new Subpart P of Code of Federal Regulation Title 47, Part 76--it ordered that in July of 1998 (with signficant amendments made to it since), just before ATSC broadcasting began in the United States and 5 years before FCC 03-225 was issued, which ordered the inclusion of modifications to the regulations codifying the plug-and-play-DTV-over-cable scheme. Note that only the stuff in Appendix A of FCC 98-116 are regulations--the rest of it is just discussion of the situation and their justification for making those new rules in Appendix A. The regulations can't be all fluffy and conceptual, like the report part--regulations have to state, as precisely as possible, exactly what they require companies to whom the regulations apply to do, with references to applicable standards documentation that go into excrutiating detail. (Often the regulations aren't nearly precise enough :rolleyes:).

    CFR Title 47, Part 76, Subpart P mostly seems concerned with keeping the cable providers from interfering with the sale of navigation devices at retail, and insuring that they deliver details of their interface to people interested in developing such as requested. It also re-iterates that they must make "equipment that incorporates only the conditional access functions" (i.e., CableCARDs) available to subs and that, after 1 July 2007, they must not obtain new devices for sale or lease which integrate conditional access (one of the recent amendments). Except for that last bit, it has nothing much to do specifically with plug-and-play-DTV-over-cable.

    Cable (in the form of the NCTA) and the CE OEMs (as represented by the CEA) are fighting for/against <tru2way> and/or DCR+ both on the basis of costs. As stated, the CE OEMs basically can't implement <tru2way> in their low-end products; cable doesn't want to implement DCR+ because it will cost them a very large amount of money (quite likely much more than it will cost the CE OEMs) without giving them any further opportunities to profit. They've already spent a major fortune on the development of the elements of <tru2way>; moreover they did it awfully publicly and while the CE OEMs watched and did not submit their complaint to the FCC begging for a cheaper alternative until recently. That complaint made only one inarguable point--it is unreasonable to require implementation of <tru2way> just to support access to SDV channels. Cable has solved that problem with the Tuning Adapter, however Rube-Goldberg-esque the solution may be :).

    I truly believe that, if the FCC were to order the cable industry to work on DCR+, they would drop the Tuning Adapter, since no OEM would then design low-end devices which would use it and the only beneficiaries of their buying and stocking them would be a couple hundred thousand CableCARD-using TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD users nationwide--far too little bang for the required effort and expense.

    I hate coming down on the side of the cable providers--as hookbill suggests, I like to try to think of them as a groups of terrorists :D. However, in this particularly case I think that their side is also the side of TiVo S3/HD owners.
     
  15. Apr 9, 2008 #1375 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    There's a difference between a linear channel and a scheduled program. A linear channel is broadcast to every subscriber. Hypothetically, it could even be a VOD channel, but putting VOD content on linear channels would be hideously inefficient. A scheduled program, however, can still be broadcast on SDV QAMs, and in fact on an average CATV system any time a channel represents less than a 5&#37; or so share of the total viewing public during any significant period of time, moving that channel from a liner QAM to an SDV QAM makes sense. Once that is done (or even without it), there's no reason not to offer the content as VOD for those who get stuck on the freeway and are 10 minutes late, or just want to step away from the TV for a few minutes.

    My original statement was the norm would be VOD. That means something around half the streams going out to the nodes would be initiated by direct consumer requests rather than by scheduled broadcasting. 'Call it maybe 100 scheduled HD programs and 300 scheduled SD programs sent to the entire city and 100 HD programs and 300 SD programs not scheduled to each node. City wide, that would make perhaps 1000 or so HD programs and 3000 or so SD programs at any one time, from a pool of many thousands.

    Right now, in San Antonio, at this very moment, the SDV sub has a pool of well over 1000 programs from which to choose, since every program currently being offfered on any of the 50 or so premium channels is available as VOD. The number of pay-per-view offerings ia also quite large.
     
  16. Apr 9, 2008 #1376 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Pay Per View has been around since the early 1980s. I was working for a CATV company back then, and we deployed our first PPV system in 1983. We were not the first CATV system in the nation to deploy PPV, either. It's been closer to 30 years than to 10 since PPV was developed.
     
  17. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

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    It's still fascinating to me that people--on a TiVo forum no less--seem to have such a hard-on for VOD. Personally it doesn't bother me that it exists, but it's irrelevant to me because I have a DVR. I can't imagine I'm part of some tiny minority, especially since everyone I know and work with seems to have one, too, and has had for quite a while. If I'm 10 minutes late getting to my favorite shows or am on a date or running errands or whatever, it doesn't affect me. Only selected programming is available on VOD anyway, and other than the novelty factor of being able to order up Showtime late-night soft-core on a whim when I first got the service, it's of little use.
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    You are correct that any set with a DVR, particularly a TiVo, has generally speaking little to gain from a VOD offering unless that offering is only available via VOD or some similar mechanism. What you continually miss, however, is that the average user does not own a TiVo, and most sets out there do not have DVRs of any sort attached to them. I personally never use VOD or even PPV at all, but I am not the average user, and neither are you. Indeed, even in my house, only three out of the seven TVs have DVRs - all TiVos - on them, and while I don't make use of VOD or PPV, when my daughters were still in the house they did.

    Then your imagination falls far short of reality. There are only a few million DVRs out there, but over 100 million TV sets. Even so, if you will take a few minutes to browse through the posts on this forum, one of the more commonly asked questions is, "[When] will my TiVo be able to get VOD and PPV?" The fact you or I are of the opinion VOD and IPPV are useless on a DVR does not prevent many DVR owners wanting it, nor does it prevent a large number of them employing VOD and IPPV on leased DVRs. Whether you like it or not, we are indeed part of a fairly small minority at this point.

    In San Antonio, every single channel has video rewind available, which is a form of VOD. Every premium channel has VOD available. Once again, the fact you or I find these features of highly limited interest does not mean the average person does as well. Indeed, many people are drawn to a service with more features in opposition to one with less features for no other reason than it has more features, the fact they may never even use many of the features (or even fully apreciate what they are) completely notwithstanding.

    You are also judging the merits of the platform based upon its current state, not its potential. In the late 1950s, a 5 Megabyte hard drive weighed nearly a ton, and the computer to which it was attached filled an entire room and took months to program even for simple functions. Boy, that was a technology that never went anywhere, wasn't it? Ten years later, a video recorder filled an entire 7' tall bay, and cost over $20,000. One could easily buy a very nice house for $20,000 at the time. Obviously, no consumer would ever want to buy a video recorder, right?
     
  19. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Good points. I think it is really important to remember that for most people the best DVR is the one that they don't have to buy, the one they don't have to hook up, the one they don't have to negotiate with their service provider to support, and the one that they don't have to pay for service on. Like it or not, service-oriented architectures are back, and will become the norm (again) for many different software-oriented services in our society.
     
  20. vstone

    vstone New Member

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    You can thank Gemstar/TV Guide for the program guide mess. They have some patents which have to be dealt with one way or another. I remeber seeing a program guide that started with tomorrow's programming (you could backtrack) to avoid violating a patent.
     

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