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

Why can’t TiVo build a box with the TA built in?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Johncv, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Johncv

    Johncv Active Member

    1,545
    1
    Jun 11, 2002
    Chula Vista, CA
    Can someone explain to me in plain English why TiVo can not build a box with a tuning adapter built into the TiVo? :confused:
     
  2. MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

    1,133
    0
    Jul 12, 2000
    In an effort to give you a quick answer.. that I have high confidence in, but am not 100% sure of .... I believe the reason would be that all Tuning Adapters are not created equal. In that what works on one cable company's system, would not work on another .. and thus, it has to be provided by the Cable Co.
     
  3. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,924
    0
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,998
    18
    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    There are at least two different TA boxes, Motorola and Cisco and a given cable system is compatible with just one of them. Although integrating the TA should simplify installation and maintenance, I'm not sure it will improve reliability (which is unacceptably poor for many of us). Assuming that STB's or DVR's supplied by cable cos are actually more reliable (which may be debatable), this may be the result of custom adjustments by the cable co prior to installation, which still would not be available for TiVo DVR's. Thus the primary advantages might only be dealing with one box and only having to reboot one box.

    When a problem occurs, the cable co can always say it must be the TiVo at fault and this would still be possible even with the TA's (and CableCARDs) integrated in the TiVo. In cable systems that sell or rent TiVo's themselves, this dodge presumably vanishes (and they are probably doing custom adjustments on the TiVo/TA/CableCARD system prior to installation).
     
  5. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

    2,350
    6
    Jan 14, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    1) Without an FCC mandate, Cable Cos would not allow a 3rd party device to "directly" communicate with the headend using proprietary protocols. If the Cable Cos would agree to a standard IP based upstream communications protocol TiVo would include SDV capability into their device.

    TiVo did attempt to get the FCC to mandate a standard IP based protocol, but it was not approved. Cable Cos actively fought this attempt, even though it would have most likely saved them money over the long run, not having to provide TAs.
    http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=198476&site=lr_cable
    http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020387456

    2) There is not one single upstream communication protocol standard. So TiVo would have to support all possible protocols, and be able to update software as protocols change/evolve. Huge expense and CableLabs certifications would be required.

    a) SA/Cisco TAs can use at least 2 protocols of their own,
    most all use the legacy DAVIC OOB (Out-of-Band) mode @ 75.5MHz,
    but there is also the DSG (DOCSIS Set-top Gateway) mode, used by Cablevision, which is more like a cable modem protocol.

    b) Motorola TAs upstream communication protocol is different from SA/Cisco and is not interchangeable.
     
  6. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    1,990
    4
    Sep 15, 2000
    TAs are also a really nasty hack - essentially they're a cablebox without video outputs and controllable via a host device like TiVo or other thing. Their sole purpose is, after all, to tune SDV channels

    And yes, cable providers will prefer to use their own boxes and force you to buy/rent them if they had the choice. Trust me when this is the case, it really sucks not having a TiVo and have to deal with crippled DVRs that can't do anything right, other than maybe put a channel on their outputs.
     
  7. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    4,358
    5
    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    First, not all cable systems use TAs so including them in a Tivo would increase costs unnecessarily for people subscribed to those systems. As previously stated, all TAs are not created equal so there's no "one size fits all" solution.

    What would be nice is if they could develop a standard for TAs like they did with cablecard and allow users to simply plug the device into a built-in slot rather than have to use an outboard box. Better yet, convert all coax systems to fiber optic like FIOS and you won't need TAs.

    Comcast and other providers already use a fiber optic backbone in most areas, but it terminates at the street level and uses coax to get the signal into the house, which severely limits bandwidth. They could convert their systems so a fiber optic cable could carry the signal to the house and use an ONT to split everything out inside the house, just like FIOS. This would give them the bandwidth they need to eliminate using TAs altogether. Of course, I'm simplifying things a bit and I'm sure it's not a straight conversion, nor an inexpensive one. OTOH, I'm pretty sure they can still use the same STBs as they're using now.
     
  8. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,389
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    I was under the impression that they themselves do no tuning, they just do the job of sending the message from the TiVo "I want this channel now, add it to the ones on the cable".
     
  9. Johncv

    Johncv Active Member

    1,545
    1
    Jun 11, 2002
    Chula Vista, CA
    Hay, that my question. :) For that matter why put f**king thing another box? Why can’t it put into the cable card?
     
  10. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,389
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Can cable cards communicate back up to the head end?
     
  11. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    20,743
    4
    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    Because it came out after cable cards were designed?

    AFAIK, the only reason tuning adapters even exist is because Tivo (and others?) complained to the FCC after cable companies started (or at least started talking about) doing SDV. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about that.

    I'm glad I don't have to deal with the hassles of SDV, but I do think it's a clever way to use a limited resource (bandwidth) without doing IPTV, which is more bandwidth intensive and you don't even get as good of a signal (necessarily).
     
  12. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    17,877
    0
    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    Cablecards have no communication. As it is, retail cablecard devices only receive the cable signal by themselves. They need the TA to achieve the back channel, but a really dumb back channel as far as the host device does. Yes, it is essentially a headless cable box that asks for SDV channels, and reports where to find them to the host device.
     
  13. lessd

    lessd Active Member

    7,697
    5
    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    They (cable cards) must have some communication as some time ago when i was trying to active a cable card (and having a problem) the Comcast CSA could tell if the card was in or out of the TiVo, I would pull the card and the CSR would tell me that it was now out of the system, when i told him I put it back in (and i didn't) he said he could not see it, then i put it back in and now he told me he could see the card.
     
  14. dstoffa

    dstoffa New Member

    265
    0
    Dec 14, 2005
    New York, NY
    A missile launch key has no communication, but it must be inserted in order for the missile to launch. CableCards work the same way.

    Cheers!
    -Doug
     
  15. lessd

    lessd Active Member

    7,697
    5
    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    I guess i don't follow you, a missile key goes into a lock without any connection to the lock itself, including any mechanical connection ?? Something has to report back to something for the missile to launch or the Comcast CSR to know if my cable card in it my TiVo, the communion may be crude but it must exist!!, or am i missing something.
     
  16. dstoffa

    dstoffa New Member

    265
    0
    Dec 14, 2005
    New York, NY
    The missile key allows the launch to take place, by making the required connections possible. By itself alone, it cannot perform any communications.

    The missile launch key and the lock in which it is inserted are useless without each other.

    A CableCard by itself is useless without a device that can make use of it. It doesn't communicate on its own. That is why the CSR told you he could not see it until you inserted it into the STB.

    The CSR can only talk to the STB. The STB can tell the CSR if and what CableCard is installed in it. The STB says that card #128556933 is inserted.

    You could argue that the CC talks to the STB, but the CC does NOT talk to the CSR.

    The launch key does not fire the rocket engine, but the computer that is running the launch sequence knows that the key has been inserted / turned to permit a launch.

    Cheers!
    -Doug
     
  17. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,954
    22
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    A cable card basically works the same way a phone sim card does.

    A cable card has no sending or receiving hardware of functionality. All it does is decrypt/decode the OOB signals sent by the cable company as well as decrypt the MPEG stream for encrypted channels. Technically it is also capable of encoding/encrypting upstream traffic, but since the TiVo has no QAM upstream communication capability, there is no way the CSA could see anything about you removing the card from the TiVo in his system. The only exception to this I can think of is if Comcast and TiVo were testing the TCP/IP back-channel functionality for VoD in your area, but that doesn't seem likely.
     
  18. Johncv

    Johncv Active Member

    1,545
    1
    Jun 11, 2002
    Chula Vista, CA
    If what you say it true, then how is VOD being implement on the TiVo? That need two way communication. :confused:
     
  19. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,954
    22
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    Please re-read the last sentence in the paragraph you quoted.

    Basically, Comcast is setting up one or more public IP addresses that the TiVo boxes can talk to over the Internet for upstream communication. That only exists in a handful of spots and didn't exist anywhere until earlier this year.

    It is unknown if the communication is for anything other than VoD. That is I doubt activating and pairing CableCards in those areas works any different than in areas where the TCP/IP back-channel isn't active. Also Comcast doesn't use SDV.
     
  20. scole250

    scole250 Member

    807
    5
    Nov 8, 2005
    Goldsboro, NC
    Tivo had the choice of:

    A. Integrate the T/A hardware in the Tivo hardware and develop the software enhancements to interface with SDV, having to incur costs for changing software and hardware.
    ..or...
    B. Let cable companies build, deploy and support the T/A and Tivo only has to modify software.

    The choice was B. I don't doubt they considered both options, but I think B leaves the burden with cable companies to make the hardware work and support it.

    BTY...cable company boxes are just as troublesome on SDV. It's not a Tivo problem.
     

Share This Page