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SDV FAQ

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

  1. Hcour

    Hcour Member

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    Argh! I periodically come to this forum to check on the SDV dongle and everytime the info is vague. It was Q1 of this yr, then Q2, now "later this year". I'm so sick of my SA8300HD, the only thing keeping me from buying a Tivo is that dammed dongle.

    I WANT MY DONGLE!

    Harold
     
  2. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    I don't recall it ever being Q1. It started out targeted for availability in the "first half of 2008", which is essentially Q2. Ostensibly, they've met that deadline by starting beta tests. ("Availability" may not necessarily mean what any of us consumers necessarily want it to mean.)

    I sympathize with your SA8300HD plight: I had occasion last weekend to have my first extended experience with the SA8300HD... gosh it is so much worse than the Motorola DCT/H-series DVRs. I was shocked about its clunkiness and how many features provided by the Motorola DVRs (and by TiVos, of course) that were missing or broken in the SA DVR.
     
  3. Flyinace2000

    Flyinace2000 New Member

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  4. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Yeah. The CATV companies are still playing it fairly close to the chest. Even their published intent to deliver the units has been very noncommital.

    I can relate. I had an 8300HD for six months prior to the release of the Series III, and I've had root canals which were more fun. I had originally intended to keep the CATV company DVR until the prices came down on the S3, but after 6 months of agony, I went ahead and pried open my wallet to shell out the full $1000 for the S3 with lifetime service.

    Are you hesitating because you don't want to have to maintain two boxes, because you don't want to lose channels, or because you want to make sure the TiVo will work with the dongle? If it's the third reason, I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you. If it's the second, then you might want to think about taking the plunge and keeping the CATV DVR just to handle the stations the TiVo can't get. You also might take a very close look at what is SDV and what isn't on your CATV system. On mine, there are only about 6 or 8 channels (all HD) I can't get with my TiVos that I would really very much like to have, and I can live with the situation until the adapters come out.

    I swear I never touched your dongle. :D
     
  5. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    It's not the Cisco DVR per se, it's the software running on it. Both Cisco/SA's own SARA (Scientific Atlanta Resident Application) and TWC's new "Digital Navigator" suck so hard they threaten to implode. SARA's design is just crappy--I personally believe it to have been a "Reference Platform", not originally intended for deployment to subscribers. Digital Navigator's not that bad as designed, but it is soooo very buggy, particularly the version of it re-written in Java, intended to be downloadable to third-party <tru2way> devices when they hit the market, but now running in newer CableCARD-using Explorer 8300HDCs with twice the normal memory.
    (Note that Scientific Atlanta is now the Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group--see this. The assimilation process is nearly complete :)).

    Before I moved from a TWC neighborhood to a Cox one, switching me from Passport Echo to SARA, I was very happy with the TWC box. If I still had Passport Echo on an SA8300HD, I never would have bought my TiVo Series3. Of course, TWC San Diego has switched to the buggy Digital Navigator, so chances are I would have bought the TiVo anyway :rolleyes:.
     
  6. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    Cox in nearby Orange County has Motorola headend and uses Passport Echo on Moto DCH3416 boxes. As you say it is fairly decent software as far as cable DVR software goes. The Moto DVR boxes (DCT6412 models initially) had their share of problems for the 1st couple of years but several firmware upgrades finally have made them fairly reliable and not too sluggish. However I switched to Tivo anyway initially just to get more hard drive space and for MRV, TTG capabilities with all the other Tivo advantages being icing on the cake. During NFL season 120/160GB drives just are not sufficient for me seeing as each game with padding is about 4.5 hours of HD mpeg2 easily consuming about 30-40GB per game.
     
  7. Hcour

    Hcour Member

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    Dec 24, 2007
    I don't want to hassle w/2 boxes. A lot of the SDV channels are the channels I record the most, so I'll just wait it out.

    H
     
  8. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    CableLabs has certified both the Motorola and Cisco Tuning Adapters. You can see an article about it here.
     
  9. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    So the question now begs... what's next? My guess is that Tivo will now go through a beta testing cycle assuming they can get their hands on enough of these from both Moto and Cisco to distribute to beta testers.
     
  10. SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

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    TiVo 9.4 FW is already in early release and appears to have Tuning Adapter support. The entries are in the menus.
     
  11. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    True, but that doesn't necessarily indicate Tivo is ready to support these as a general release yet without first going through beta testing. For example, MRV/TTG capabilities were available in software long before the general release was made. It's possible beta testing already happened, but I would think Tivo would wait until after CableLabs certification to do that in case some issues cropped up during certification.
     
  12. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    (As I posted in another thread...) I'm sure that's pretty much up to the providers. Both Moto and Cisco have high manufacturing capacity and could turn out millions of these simple gadgets a month, if there was a demand. Right now, they only need a total of a couple hundred thousand nationwide (only subs with TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD have any use for them, and some of them are non-cable-subscribers or core basic cable subs who won't need them).

    The providers have to stock these things, decide whether or not they'll allow self-install (probably not) and train both their sales CSRs and field techs on them. Unless they've done training using the pre-certification prototypes (possible), that'll take a while.

    TiVo has been working closely with the cable subscriber equipment OEMs (Cisco, Motorola) and will have tested their code against every version of their Tuning Adapter hardware, including the prototypes that CableLabs just certified; their code is probably good to go. (They showed up at The Cable Show a couple of months back with a demo working with Moto TAs). TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD probably need CableLabs certification as Tuning Adapter clients--I think that they were submitted for that in the same certification "wave". Presumably they passed as well.
     
  13. vstone

    vstone New Member

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    Plus: apparently Comcast will not be doing widespread SDV before 2010.
     
  14. mklitt

    mklitt New Member

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    Who can I write to be part of the Beta testing group? I have had an HD Tivo for several years now and am a long time Tivo user. I am in San Antonio and I have the HD Tivo with two cable cards.

    The last few times a tech came out, I asked to be part of any beta testing. I also asked a supervisor I talked with, but you know none of that means I will actually come to the attention of those doing the testing.

    Before SDV almost everything I watched was in HD. SDV cut through that so completely that I rarely record anything in HD. I think they would have a real problem doing what they did to San Antonio in a larger market.

    There are so few cable card setups here that I had three cable trucks parked out front as they were troubleshooting my lack of HD. Finally they talked to someone who knew about SDV. Months after it was implemented we got a letter advising we would lose the ability to watch in HD if we used cable cards.
     
  15. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    An HD Tivo, a Series III, or a TiVo HD? Although the HD TiVo is several years old, the S3 and the THD are not. You mention CableCards, and only the S3 and the THD have CableCards. The THD is only a year old, and the S3 is less than 2 years old. You have definitely not had a CableCard based TiVo for several years.

    Name 5 HD channels in San Antonio which are now SDV but were formerly non-switched HD.

    Like what? San Antonio has one of the largest, if not the largest, CATV systems in the United States.

    It's also the 9th largest city, so no matter how one dices it, there aren't many larger markets out there.

    TWC San Antonio has also been much more conservative in its SDV rollout than many other operations. Only newer channels are SDV.

    I haven't seen that letter, but in any case at this stage of the game no one is losing any HD channels. The TiVo owner cannot receive any of the new HD channels, but all the pre-existing HD channels are still non-switched.
     
  16. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Just FYI--According to stats on the NCTA's site (here), TWC San Antonio is the 10th largest system in the nation, with 317,557 subs (which certainly qualifies it as one of the largest systems). The largest is Cox Tempe, with 892,306 subs, which comes as a shock to me--I wouldn't have guessed that the total population of Tempe was that big. Of course, I've never been there, or to any place in Arizona other than the Pheonix airport :).

    Interestingly enough, it looks as though San Antonio is actually the 7th largest city, according to 2007 Census Bureau estimates (see this); it's the 28th largest US metropolitan area (here).

    One of these days I'm going to learn to resist my pedantic impulses :rolleyes:. We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion :D.
     
  17. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    'Sounds plausible. Historically, the larger CATV systems were often not in the largest cities, because the large cities were often divided up by several different CATV companies. In the last few years, however, the large MSOs have been buying up their competitors, so many cities which formerly had two or three CATV companies each serving its own part of town now are served by a single company.

    It's also been true historically the smaller cities and towns had much better subscriber penetration than the larger cities. Small cities and towns generally have fewer broadcast stations, giving the people a greater incentive to subscribe, and it's also generally much easier and cheaper to build plant in smaller cities, giving the investors a greater incentive to build in those areas.

    <sigh> Yeah, the city keeps growing. The last time I had checked, it was 9th.

    Yeah, unlike New York, Chicago, and others, San Antonio butts right up against several other fairly large cities, so people living in those areas are not considered to be part of the San Antonio metro area, despite some of them living within sight of the city line. People living in San Marcos, Austin or (I think) New Braunfels are not considered in the count, despite the fact they live closer to the center of San Antonio than those who are included n the counts of, say, metropolitan Los Angeles or New York.

    I see no reason why you should. These fora are intended to be fun, and if you enjoy engaging in an occasional pedantic explosion, what's the harm?
     
  18. Firekite

    Firekite New Member

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    San Antonio, TX
    Well while we're at it, "fora" is not a legitimate plural of forum. It's the internet-kids-and-wannabe-hackers-trying-to-sound-smart form, kind of like people who say things like "he gave the package to James and I," and since I know you're not that, perhaps the standard "forums" would be better.
     
  19. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    As I suspected may be the case, at least this provider (Brighthouse) plans on a testing phase of the tuning adapters before customer release:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=6504300#post6504300
    Good to see the word is out and there is awareness about these by cable companies. Hopefully Tivo is staying on top of this and pushing the providers to get these things tested and deployed.
    I shall have to send an email to my provider (Cox Orange County) to see where they stand.
     
  20. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    You'd best believe that all of the providers will test them on their systems before distributing them to customers. Service providers are extremely cautious with new equipment and software (though you wouldn't think so, given the troubles with TWC's new Digital Navigator IPG :rolleyes:). They'll probably still be kinda rushed out, though. With CableCARD TiVos being the only thing that they can do practical testing with, there's only so much they can do.
     

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