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TiVo Petitions FCC to Insure Consumer Access to CableCARD

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by sbiller, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

    May 10, 2002
    Tampa, FL

    Tivo has petitioned the FCC to guarantee that cable customers can continue to use retail set-top boxes with CableCARDS.

    That follows a court decision in which EchoStar won its challenge to FCC rules on the ability to record TV programming. The issue was not CableCARDS, but it raised questions about cable obligations to support consumer access to the cards, according to Tivo, which it wants the FCC to clear up since those CableCARDS also allow access to TiVo recording devices.

    The actual 31 page filing can be read here --> http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520930889

    At the Cable Show in Washington last month, FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake said that one of the "sleeper" issues at the FCC, or more like one that had him tossing and turning in bed, was where to go with navigation devices after the courts essentially threw out the CableCard rules while preserving the integration ban. The question of what downloadable security should be included in navigation devices remains, he said.
  2. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

    May 10, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    From TiVo's Petition...

  3. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

    May 10, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Regarding a CableCARD successor...

  4. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    *Ensure*, not *insure*.. Sorry.. (not really)

    But can you summarize this quoted part?

    This sounds like a reversal of the Sony vs. Universal (AFAIK) precedent setting lawsuit.
  5. Johncv

    Johncv Active Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Chula Vista, CA
    Sam, what happen if FCC rules NOT to extend this?
  6. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

    May 10, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    That was the headline on the multichannel blog... but correct 'ensure' is the correct usage. :)

    Regarding the Echostar ruling, I took a quick look at the ruling.

    The court ruled that the dual mandate went too far and vacated a portion of the 'encoding rules' that includes CableCARD... at least that is my quick view on the ruling. The recent Charter Waiver request from the Media Bureau essentially poured more fuel on the fire acknowledging that the Echostar ruling essentially allows cable operators to provide alternative means of meeting the separable security mandate. In the case of Charter, they could stop supplying CableCARDs to customers once they have the downloadable security in place and 'one retail device' is available in the market (per the ruling).

    More research is needed to fully understand TiVo's 31 page filing and the law associated with the Echostar ruling, etc.
  7. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

    May 10, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I think there is a risk that the US Market could become bifurcated with some larger providers moving to a somewhat proprietary encryption/encoding system that might not be compatible with CableCARD equipped boxes until such time as TiVo releases a new box compatible with the newer technology.

    TiVo has argued and I have supported via my FCC filings that 'common reliance' and a 'national portable standard' is required to ensure retail access across ALL cable operators.

    I think there is a high probability that the FCC does provide some clarity that will ensure continued access to CableCARD for the foreseeable future -- at least until such point that the successor to CableCARD, likely some sort of universal, open, two-way, secure, IP access to the video pipe, is available.

    I think it is likely that we will be using CableCARDs in our TiVo's for a very long time. I suppose it is possible that at some point there could be a Tuning Adapter type device in our home to keep our 'legacy' TiVo's running with 'newer' cable operator technology.

    I do think that the Series 5 might be the last of the CableCARD equipped TiVo boxes and the Series 6 will likely have some sort of universal and embedded security.
  8. bdraw

    bdraw Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Tampa, FL
    Am I the only one who is tried of fighting for CableCARD? I mean, seriously. It never lived up to it's expectation (CableCARD 2.0, anyone) and was always a pain to implement. I understand TiVo's position to stick with what works, but would rather spend my energy on getting the FCC to implement a replacement then to ensure that CableCARD lives for many more years.

    I understand it is important to ensure there is a replacement before letting CC go. If CC stopped working today, I'd sooner stop watching TV then to get a FiOS DVR.
  9. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Agreed, but the problem here is that the FCC is dropping the ball on an IP standard to succeed cards, and rolled over/played dead on AllVid when the MSOs told them it was too much hassle. If the ridiculous and unfathomable Charter security waiver is not proof that they don't have the right people making these calls I don't know what is - basically all Charter has to do is get one STB maker to release an obscure Charter STB (using their proprietary security) at retail and they can dump new card installs.
  10. shwru980r

    shwru980r Active Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    If the cable companies are allowed to eliminate cable cards, are they going to just ditch the millions of cable card set-top boxes they are currently using? Seems like it would take years to phase out cablecards anyway. Then Tivo can sell you a new DVR with the new standard.

    The cable companies want to replace cablecards with downloadable security because it's cheaper. Why wouldn't manufacturers be willing to build third party devices with downloadable security, since they would benefit from the cost savings and pass it along to the consumer?

    Cablecards were horrible and caused Tivo to lose millions of subscribers. Tivo had to refocus their business to providing DVRs for the Cable companies. Perhaps Tivo could recoup some of the third party subscriptions that they lost previously with cablecards with the new downloadable security standard.
  11. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    No, the cable companies would still have to support EXISTING cable cards, but they would no longer be required to deploy "new" ones.

    The end result? EVENTUALLY, a cable company could become a self contained entity once the existing cable cards are phased out.

    ...or at least that's my take.
  12. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Replacing cable cards isn't the issue. What is of concern is having each cable company replace cable cards with software that is propitiatory, which is what Charter wants to do. You could end up needing different equipment for each provider (like the satellite companies now) which could/would kill third party equipment.
  13. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2001
    One of the previous times this came up didn't cable companies want to tie the downloadable security to downloadable UI?

    Kind of hard to make a retail case for buying you expensive DVR service if the UI is still going to look just like a stock cable co DVR. (Or at least large parts of it will).

    Whether 3rd parties want to play along with downloadable security would depend on 1) what it's bundled with, and 2) how standardized the client requirements are (can they make one hardware design and sell it nationwide or does each cable co require a specialized box)
  14. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

    May 10, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    There was an interesting panel discussion called, "The Right Regulatory Approaches for Video Service Providers."

    Bill Lake, the Commissioner of the FCC's Media Bureau had some interesting comments during the discussion. There are other tidbits in here as well but one highlight is quoted below.

    The entire transcript is linked here -> http://www.freestatefoundation.org/images/March_21_2013_Transcript_Panel_II.pdf

  15. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

    Jan 14, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    Did you mean to write Charter? If not, do you have a link to a Cox statement?
  16. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    Oct 30, 2003
    I doubt Comcast would drop CableCards, but if they do, I have 1-800-DirecTV ready to go. The problem is, if they did, the value of my now $1650 of TiVo hardware would plummet. Although if they replaced it with a software system, or even had a software system as an option, I'd be rather happy. CableCards really suck, and seem to randomly lose sync at the most inopportune times.
  17. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    Oct 30, 2003
    It would also be awesome if DirecTV would step up to the plate and support TiVo Premieres through a MoCA-enabled SWiM 5 gateway, but that will probably happen when Hell freezes over...

    I also hope that the next generation of gateways is also applicable to DirecTV and DISH. It would be nice having four options that with TiVo, not just the two cable companies.
  18. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    Just take a look north at Canada where there is CableCard mandate. Yes, the cable boxes have CableCards, but they're locked to the boxes. And the cable companies only activate their own boxes - if the numbers don't match up, they won't activate it. So even if you moved the card over, it won't work. If they didn't sell the box to you, they won't activate it. (Even if it's the exact same box, just from another provider). It's only a matter of time before they refuse to activate "used" boxes.

    That's what the cable companies will do.
  19. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Is you idea of a cable card replacement by software to work on TiVo Series 3 and Series 4 and most likely Series 5 TiVos, if so how, a different type card that plug into the CC slot ?

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