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SDV FAQ

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

  1. May 1, 2008 #1481 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    That's interesting, but the content protection systems on the cable are proprietary and follow their own rules. There's a protection mode in DTCP--the copy protection system for Firewire A/V connections--called "Encryption Plus Non-assertion" (EPN). It required that content so marked be transferred in encrypted form though there was no restriction on copying it. If the receiving device made a copy of the stream, it had to be saved in an approved encrypted form and marked such that upon playback it would be also be marked "EPN". The intent was for the content to be protected without restraining the number of copies made. It was for support of the now-defunct "Broadcast Flag".
    IPPV and VOD (the pay-per-viewing-period kind) are the only two business models that the FCC's encoding rules allow to be marked "Copy Never". Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, §76.1904:
    I'm fairly sure that copy-protection flags can be embedded in MPEG-2 Transport Streams.
     
  2. May 1, 2008 #1482 of 2401
    moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    On my cable system currently there are 8 dedicated QAMs (10 streams per QAM) for VOD and while none are encrypted they do have CCI=0x03 and hence the 90 min restriction for staying on the Tivo. For a long while the CableCard lineup even had channels 1001-1080 and I could scan through them and pick up what my neighbors were watching. Also I can pick them up on my PC QAM tuner.
    Just as an experiment once I hooked up 1 of my ReplayTVs to the S3 S-video output and was able to record from it these CCI=0x03 recordings so there is no analog copyright protection applied to them (i.e. the CCI byte really is 0x03 with analog macrovision bits 3 & 4 not set).
     
  3. May 1, 2008 #1483 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    I have to think that that's a bug in TiVo. I'm sure that the CableCARD and DFAST licensing requires analog copy protection be applied to Copy Never marked content.
     
  4. May 1, 2008 #1484 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    No, not quite. SDV is as the names suggests switched. This means the stream only is sent to the viewers which are supposed to receive the stream (on a node by node basis). It could be one or one thousand. VOD means the stream is specifically started by someone, but that does not necessarily mean only 1 person can view the stream. Indeed, the CATV company can if it chooses queue up VOD requests, so that anyone requesting the same content within a short period of time from the original requestor can also view the content. If one of the viewers pauses the stream, then the stream is split into two, with everyone else viewing the main stream and the single customer receiving the delayed content. That is how providers such as TWC can deliver services such as video rewind. That way, instead of several thousand nearly identical streams playing at once, the system is only required to handle perhaps a hundred or less. In a system with almost 1,000,000 receivers in more than 300,000 homes (like San Antonio) the odds of a significant number of people all requesting the same video within a few seconds of each other is fairly high. The odds of several people pressing and releasing <Pause> within the limits of the buffer of the STB is also significant. If the stream differential exceeds the limits of the buffer, then a new stream must be split off. Otherwise it is possible to continue to serve both customers with the same stream.

    Either way, however, the presence of even a single VOD channel requires the ability to deliver dozens of time shifted copies of that stream. Putting even a single VOD offering on a linear system could easily eat up 30 or 40 channels. It would be insane.
     
  5. May 5, 2008 #1485 of 2401
    MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    nope-

    there are other values that would turn on analog protection

    0x01,2,3 only stipulate digital restrictions not analog
     
  6. May 5, 2008 #1486 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    True. DFAST actually uses 5 bits of an 8-bit byte, collectively called CCI, with the low-order two being EMI, the 0, 1, 2 and 3 values that we generally talk about. If the cable providers want standard definition analog outputs to be protected, they can set two of the other bits, called APS (Analog Protection System). So TiVo can properly output copy-protected digital content over S-video without analog copy protection, if the cable provider doesn't explicitly request analog copy protection.
     
  7. May 5, 2008 #1487 of 2401
    moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Which is why I specifically stated in my post that analog bits 3 & 4 were not set so the 8 bit CCI value does actually correspond to hex 0x03.
     
  8. May 6, 2008 #1488 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Yes you did--I'd forgotten about the APS bits and didn't pay attention to what you wrote. Sorry--I was wrong :eek:.
     
  9. May 7, 2008 #1489 of 2401
    snowbunny

    snowbunny New Member

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    Austin, TX
    Well.... it's over a year since I got my S3 and I finally have an HDTV.

    Since I'm in TW Austin's market, I am wondering if subscribing to the HD plan is worth it (TW Austin uses SDV heavily on both standard and HD channels).

    Anyone know?
     
  10. May 8, 2008 #1490 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    TWC Austin's Channel Lineup page has a "CableCARD Viewable" filter. Just go there, click the "All" filter item to clear all the rest and then click the "CableCard Viewable" filter.

    Looks like you can get all of your local DTV broadcasts (KTBC, KVUE, KXAN, KEYE, KLRU and the KLRU Create TV subchannel). You should be able to get all of the locals without paying anything extra, though you'll have to lease CableCARDs to get TiVo to map the channels. You can also get:
    1617 Discovery HD Theater
    1635 ESPN-HD
    1654 TNT HD
    1656 Universal HD
    1670 HBO East High Definition
    1675 Cinemax HD
    1678 Showtime High Definition
    1687 MOJO
    1692 HD Net
    1693 HD Net Movies​
    No doubt, you have to subscribe to the related premium tiers to get HBO HD, Cinemax HD or Showtime HD and Universal HD, MOJO, HDNet and HDNet Movies are in something called the HDTV Tier which no doubt costs extra (TWC San Diego calls them the "HD VIP Pak" for $7/month). With just extended basic, you only get the locals, HD Theater, TNT HD and ESPN HD.

    The stuff that you can't get with a CableCARD (until the Tuning Adapter shows up) is:
    1611 HGTV HD
    1612 Food Network HD
    1615 TLC HD
    1618 Discovery Channel HD
    1620 National Geographic HD
    1622 Animal Planet HD
    1624 Science Channel HD
    1626 The History Channel HD
    1630 CNN HD
    1633 The Weather Channel HD
    1634 Fox Business News HD
    1636 ESPN2 High Definition
    1639 Fox Sports - HD
    1646 Versus/Golf Channel HD
    1648 Game HD
    1649 Team HD
    1650 HD PPV Sports Events
    1653 TBS in HD
    1658 Lifetime Move Network HD
    1660 A&E HD
    1664 MHD
    1680 The Movie Channel HD
    1684 Starz HD
    1698 HD Showcase
    1699 HD VOD
    1701 HD 1
    1702 HD 2
    1703 HD 3
    1704 HD 4
    1705 HD 5
    1706 HD 6
    1707 HD 7
    1708 HD 8
    1709 HD 9
    1710 HD 10​
    You won't get HD VOD with TiVo even after the Tuning Adapter is available and I assume that the HD 1 through HD 10 channels are schedule PPV, which you may or may not be able to order for CableCARD devices on a web page or over the phone.
     
  11. May 8, 2008 #1491 of 2401
    danschn

    danschn Member

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    Apr 22, 2004
    New York
    While the points of deliberation about the technical aspects of SDV and the dongle solution continue to get debated, the real contentious issue is the business side:

    Will the implementation of the dongle be at all at the mercy of the cable provider? (Will it require resets? Zaps after a call to the cable company to re-synch? Be painfully slow to change channels? Distort picture and audio quality?)

    Will they charge an exorbitant fee to "install"? Monthly charge?

    Will it set back our TiVo GUI advantage over cable companies DVR's?

    Mostly, will cable companies get away with using it as a wedge to continue to exercise their monopoly powers and overcharge for the hardware they provide, and inhibit the use of superior hardware?
     
  12. May 8, 2008 #1492 of 2401
    cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

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    You can get ESPN2 HD with a cablecard here in Austin. Guess that list has one discrepancy.
     
  13. May 8, 2008 #1493 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    The cable industry didn't introduce this Tuning Adapter solution until some 8 or 9 months after the Consumer Electronics Association went to the FCC with a complaint that the cable companies were increasingly deploying SDV, giving no solution for making products which could tune SDV other than full implementation of CableCARD Host 2.0 (bidirectional with M-Card support) and OCAP, which collectively is labelled "<tru2way>". Since you can't do this without adding computing power and memory to a product equal to that contained in a high-end handheld computer, it's not something the CE manufacturers can do with low-end products. They asked the FCC to force the cable companies to implement a straightforward, cheap-to-implement protocol for basic interactive services (IPPV, VOD and SDV), which they were calling "Digital Cable Ready Plus" (or "DCR+"). Several months later, the cable companies make a filing with the FCC saying that implentation of DCR+ would take years and hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly out of their pockets. They argued that built-in support for IPPV and VOD was not compelling in low-end products, but they couldn't sensibly argue that low-end products didn't need to tune channels presented as SDV. They countered with the proposed Tuning Adapter (then called "Tuning Resolver"). Without waiting for any FCC decision on whether the Tuning Adapter is a sufficient answer to the CEA's complaint, they've marched forward with developing a standard protocol for the device which the primary cable equipment manufacturers and TiVo are implementing, with planned introduction sometime in the next few months.

    While I believe that they may charge something for use of the Tuning Adapter (and they'll certainly charge for truck-rolls to install it) it shouldn't be much. For one thing, it's a simple device, no more expensive to produce than a DOCSIS cable modem (probably less), and those can be purchased new at retail and e-tail for as little as $30. If they were to charge something outrageous, the CEA would be all over it, claiming that they were just using it as an opportunity to profiteer and that it was all the more evidence for the need for DCR+, in the interest of protecting consumers from cable provider greed.

    We have no idea how well it will work, but there's no reason why SDV tuning using it should be any slower than SDV tuning through a leased cable box. Both Motorola and SA are bringing their Tuning Adapters to a product show at a cable industry conference this month (I think) and we should hear reports on how they're working from there. TiVo's GUI will remain unchanged, save for the addition of a few prompts necessary for SDV. It won't affect video or audio quality. All the Tuning Adapter does is tell where to find a digital channel; it doesn't touch the contents of that channel. A lease cable box using SDV would be given exactly the same information.
     
  14. May 8, 2008 #1494 of 2401
    danschn

    danschn Member

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    Apr 22, 2004
    New York
    Mike Scott makes a compelling case that the technical chops of the Tuning Resolver shouldn't impair my TiVo usability. And for that I am glad. But it is the business marketing side that has me most worried.

    My provider, Cablevision, has been fairly "kind" to me. I only pay $1.25 per cablecard, and for some reason, they haven't SDV'ed the 15 Voom HD channels yet, as they have to other regions. But the first signal out of the gate was when they attempted to scare cablecard customers over to their STB/DVR with a message that basically said your service will stop working, but have we got a deal for you.

    Yes their costs should be low to obtain the Tuning Resolvers in bulk, but will they pass that on? I said cablecards are cheap to me, because I know FIOS customers are paying $3.99/month. But what do those cost in bulk to Cablevision, that I'm giving them $15/year for? I'd guess $30 to $50, and they're getting 30&#37; to 50% ROI's after getting reimbursed by their customers for the truck roll. $6.95/month for a set top box that has to go for around $150 in bulk. (anyone know this?) These are huge ROI's! Will the tuning resolver buck this trend? Is there any doubt?

    We may have the right to roll our own hardware, but Cable figures out how to get us to pay for it pretty exorbitantly. And that's before I think about how the service bill has inflated over 300% in the 10 years I've been a customer. And almost all of that period was during very low inflation economic times.

    This is why I remain alert to the business decisions around SDV moreso than the technical ones.
     
  15. May 8, 2008 #1495 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Yes, there is doubt. The Tuning Adapter isn't something that they dreamed up to make money--it's something that they dreamed up as a political maneuver to avoid spending money. By their own calculations, if the FCC accepts the Tuning Adapter as a sufficient solution to the CEA's complaint, they save "hundreds of millions of dollars". Even if they gave them away and installed them for free, they'd pay for themselves by avoiding the expense of implementing DCR+. If they charge something outrageous for them, the FCC is that much more likely to side with the CEA's DCR+ scheme.

    Moreover, if the FCC makes them implement DCR+, far, far fewer <tru2way> devices will ever be brought to market, even at the high end, which screws up the cable industry's future plans completely. I honestly don't see any incentive for CE manufacturers to bring any <tru2way> products to market (other than the OEMs who've already invested in development of the technogy, like Samsung). Given a cheap way to make cable-ready products which can tune SDV channels and be used to order IPPV and VOD content without a cable box, there's really little reason to offer <tru2way>.

    This argument over what the cable industry will charge is useless. They'll charge what charge and we can only wait and see what that'll be. I strongly doubt that any TiVo lover in a market where they're heavily using SDV is going to balk at paying it, whatever it is. The one thing that you can depend on is that they will not stop using SDV :rolleyes:.
     
  16. May 8, 2008 #1496 of 2401
    SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

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    Exactly.
     
  17. May 8, 2008 #1497 of 2401
    classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    At the mercy of the authorization system , very likely.
    Slow to change channels, likely not much more than a provider's box on SDV.
    Distort picture and audio, not likely because of the resolver itself, since it doesn't process the video, just passes the RF through. It is more likely an effect of a channel being SDV that may cause issues though.
    Probably a nominal truck roll fee, same as CCs.
    Not at all.
    We'll see how the GUI additions necessary for SDV fare though.
     
  18. May 8, 2008 #1498 of 2401
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    How do you figure? I haven't heard anyone claim that being presented as SDV has lowered the PQ or AQ of a channel and there is no technical reason why it should. In fact, SDV presentation removes the pressure to play tricks like heavy rate shaping, creating "HD Lite" channels on cable, as recently observed from Comcast in some markets. SDV actually makes it easier to transmit services at the greatest possible bandwidth.
     
  19. May 9, 2008 #1499 of 2401
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    'Not only that, but "they" will no doubt have a spectrum of pricing. Providers in some cities may offer them very cheaply while providers in other cities may charge an arm and a leg. Some may allow the customer to pick it up and self-install, while others may insist on a truck roll and charge for it.

    Oh, I certainly would balk. If they want to charge more than $4 a month, they can forget it. Because of the kludged design, I'm going to have to get 3, and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay more than $12 a month.
     
  20. vstone

    vstone New Member

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    Well, you know, by law they're only allowed to get a "reasonable rate of return" on equipment. If charges are all over the map,maybe we can ask the FCC to define "reasonable."

    Of course some of us tend to believe that "reasonable" is not in the Bush Administration's dictionary.:cool:
     

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