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Old 03-31-2014, 08:55 AM   #1
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CableCARD: TiVo Fights The Good Fight

TiVo continues to fight for the retail CableCARD user but the survey results are alarming...

http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2014-03/...ts-good-fight/
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:43 AM   #2
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Percentage of MSOs not allowing CableCARD self-installs went up? WTH?

I am actually pretty happy with Brighthouse with regards to their TiVo support lately ... CableCARD self-installs, free TiVo "kits" (with TA and CableCARD), etc. At this point the only thing I could really want is to not be charged for the CableCARD.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:16 PM   #3
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Percentage of MSOs not allowing CableCARD self-installs went up? WTH?

I am actually pretty happy with Brighthouse with regards to their TiVo support lately ... CableCARD self-installs, free TiVo "kits" (with TA and CableCARD), etc. At this point the only thing I could really want is to not be charged for the CableCARD.
Agreed. BHN is doing pretty well with respect to CableCARDs and TAs... my only standing complaint at this point is the copy control flags which I believe is related to their retransmission agreements.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:02 PM   #4
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I read somewhere that BHN is a subsidiary of TWC, so perhaps their use of the CCI byte comes from their parent company's policies?
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:13 PM   #5
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What is the EchoStar thing they keep referring to in that letter? Was there some case by EchoStar that overthrew some of the CabkeCARD rules?
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:14 PM   #6
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IF "the spirit of agnostic, retail cable content availability is being met via the likes iPad, Xbox, and Roku apps etc" as the columnist ponders then let's get rid of cablecard and go to IP authentication.

IF it is kept then customers shouldn't have to rent a cablecard in perpetuity. $4/month ad nauseum for a cable card? Ridiculous.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:20 PM   #7
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IF "the spirit of agnostic, retail cable content availability is being met via the likes iPad, Xbox, and Roku apps etc" as the columnist ponders then let's get rid of cablecard and go to IP authentication.

IF it is kept then customers shouldn't have to rent a cablecard in perpetuity. $4/month ad nauseum for a cable card? Ridiculous.
Until cable companies are required by the FCC to support any and all 3rd party device apps, I'm not interested in even discussing the possibility of getting rid of CableCards.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:53 PM   #8
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I read somewhere that BHN is a subsidiary of TWC, so perhaps their use of the CCI byte comes from their parent company's policies?
BHN is owned by Advance Publications. They do continue to share some technology and licensing agreements with their former partner, TWC.

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All of the systems now owned by Bright House Networks were owned by the Time Warner Entertainment–Advance/Newhouse Partnership. Under a deal struck in 2003, Advance/Newhouse took direct management and operational responsibility for a portion of the partnership cable systems roughly equal to their equity.

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Old 03-31-2014, 02:58 PM   #9
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What is the EchoStar thing they keep referring to in that letter? Was there some case by EchoStar that overthrew some of the CabkeCARD rules?
In EchoStar Satellite L.L.C. v. FCC (“EchoStar”), the D.C. Circuit vacated the FCC’s Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration, which had the effect of vacating various rules adopted in those orders, including the encoding rules, the technical standards for CableCARD (Sections 76.602 and 76.640), and labeling with respect to CableCARD compatibility (Section 15.123). The integration ban was adopted in the First Report and Order and therefore is unaffected by the Echostar decision.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:02 PM   #10
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Some more from the FCC regarding the Echostar decision in the document granting Charter a two-year waiver on the integrated security requirement...

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We recognize that, in vacating the Second Report and Order, the EchoStar decision eliminated the requirement that cable operators continue to support CableCARD as a means of complying with the integration ban. Charter does not need a waiver in order to implement a downloadable security system as long as such system complies with the integration ban. Prior to the EchoStar decision, the Commission’s CableCARD rules furthered Section 629 by ensuring that consumers could purchase CableCARD retail devices with the knowledge that such devices would work on their cable operators’ digital cable system. After the EchoStar decision, we recognize that there is the potential for a fractured cable set-top box market should different cable operators adopt differing non-CableCARD separated-security standards. In the past, the Commission has encouraged the development of an industry-wide downloadable separate security standard to further the purposes of Section 629. We believe granting Charter’s waiver under the circumstances presented in this proceeding will increase the chance of an industry-wide standard developing. Through acceptance of this waiver and its conditions, Charter is committing to adopt the same downloadable system being utilized by Cablevision. We believe Charter’s adoption of the same system will make it more likely that other operators considering moving to a downloadable security system will adopt the same established and tested technology, which will in turn make it more likely that third party manufacturers will develop retail devices given the expanded market. Therefore, Charter’s expansion of the market for devices operating this particular downloadable system should help “assure the commercial availability” of navigation devices, as Section 629 directs. Moreover we believe that our condition, further explained below, that requires Charter to work with a consumer electronics manufacturer to bring a retail device using Charter’s downloadable system to the retail market, will also further the purposes of Section 629 by mandating that Charter work towards creating a retail market for devices that commonly rely “on an identical security technology and conditional access interface.” In addition, waiver of the integration ban is likely to accelerate Charter’s deployment of downloadable security. As even CEA acknowledges, Charter’s systems “are widely dispersed and are the least densely concentrated among the six largest cable operators.” This footprint presents Charter with additional challenges in rolling out downloadable security across all of its headends. Waiver grant will enable Charter to accelerate adoption of the new downloadable security system, notwithstanding its rural footprint, in an efficient manner that minimizes disruption to consumers and, in doing so, more quickly establish a larger market for downloadable retail devices. As described below, we also adopt a number of conditions that we believe will ensure that this waiver, on balance, will serve the public interest and ensure that the waiver is consistent with the goals of Section 629.

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Old 03-31-2014, 03:23 PM   #11
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What's surprising to me is that, despite being the largest MSO, Comcast has turned out to be one of the most CableCARD friendly companies out there:

Self installs, dedicated CableCARD hotline, proper CCI byte settings, and a full rollout of VoD across all its markets.

I've certainly been guilty of ripping on Comcast in the past, but I have to admit that it's a great time to be a Comcast/TiVo customer.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:25 PM   #12
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What's surprising to me is that, despite being the largest MSO, Comcast has turned out to be one of the most CableCARD friendly companies out there:

Self installs, dedicated CableCARD hotline, proper CCI byte settings, and a full rollout of VoD across all its markets.

I've certainly been guilty of ripping on Comcast in the past, but I have to admit that it's a great time to be a Comcast/TiVo customer.
Once they gobble up Time Warner Cable, they will drop the hammer.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:28 PM   #13
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Agreed. BHN is doing pretty well with respect to CableCARDs and TAs... my only standing complaint at this point is the copy control flags which I believe is related to their retransmission agreements.
*facepalm* Yes! Of course, that too! Can't believe I forgot that major point when posting. I'm very jealous of my sister who can stream everything from her TiVo (with Comcast) to the iOS app.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:55 PM   #14
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Some more from the FCC regarding the Echostar decision in the document granting Charter a two-year waiver on the integrated security requirement...
Just another reason we really need AllVid.

But it looks like the FCC is loosening up the rules, not doubling down on them, so I doubt we're ever going to see it. Sounds like their ex-chairman turned chief lobbyist is doing a good job of buying convincing the current FCC to see things his way.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:20 PM   #15
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Until cable companies are required by the FCC to support any and all 3rd party device apps, I'm not interested in even discussing the possibility of getting rid of CableCards.
Well we do have non-MSO apps like HBO GO and ESPN3 among others that require your cable subscription to be authenticated and don't require cablecard.

Should HBO or ESPN, for example, be required to dump their content thru any other 3rd party app?
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:35 PM   #16
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Percentage of MSOs not allowing CableCARD self-installs went up? WTH?

I am actually pretty happy with Brighthouse with regards to their TiVo support lately ... CableCARD self-installs, free TiVo "kits" (with TA and CableCARD), etc. At this point the only thing I could really want is to not be charged for the CableCARD.
they give you the tuning adapter for free. could be worse.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:40 PM   #17
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IF "the spirit of agnostic, retail cable content availability is being met via the likes iPad, Xbox, and Roku apps etc" as the columnist ponders then let's get rid of cablecard and go to IP authentication.
No, that'd likely be their counter argument - versus how I see it. Cablecos would be fine keeping things locked down, opening up only on their terms, and for/with whom they have partnerships. But, yes, digital makes way more sense - PCMCIA is a hundred years old and doesn't scale well. Plus, CableCARD as implemented doesn't provide retail two way communication. Various players have been tinkering with digital conditional access for some time, but given the vacated order along with the FCC's limited enforcement interest and capabilities, in light of the small number of players interested in seeing this opened up, it hasn't really gone anywhere. OCAP, tru2way, AllVid, where are you now? Will Secure DLNA set us free? Some are looking at it ... (although strangely TiVo isn't a DLNA member yet).

Regarding fees, they'll find ways to hit you. Both DirecTV and DISH are/will charge like $6/mo for RVU TV or PS3 access. I assume a "soft" TiVo running inside Roku would also come with a fee.

Some footnotes... OCAP/tru2way were still likely to rely on CableCARD for auth, but provide a software framework to harness the guide and hopefully provide two way communication. AllVid was proposed as a successor to all of this. Which withered and died as far as I can tell. New and interesting is the Comcast-backed RDK that several others may be latching onto and something TiVo is cognizant of.

Last edited by davezatz : 03-31-2014 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:25 PM   #18
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TiVo should take it upon themselves to develop an AllVid type device to show the industry how it could be done. They could move all the tuners and the CableCARD(s) into a centralized network device, ala the HDHomeRun Prime, then create DVRs and Minis that could access those tuners as needed. By moving the tuners into a central box like that they could also allow users to mix cable and OTA, or switch between them, without having to replace the entire DVR. They might also be able to exploit their relationship with DirecTV and develop a gateway for them as well, creating a unified experience for all users. And if these cable companies get their way and are allowed to deploy proprietary downloadable security systems then TiVo could simply offer different gateways for the various standards rather then having to offer complete DVRs for each market.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:41 AM   #19
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I read somewhere that BHN is a subsidiary of TWC, so perhaps their use of the CCI byte comes from their parent company's policies?
BHN is a separate company, but those systems were former TWC which BHN co-owned with TWC, but BHN took direct control over the systems they owned. There is still a partnership between TWC and BHN where BHN uses TWC platforms and engineering standards and is also included on all TWC programming agreements. So, operationally they are indistinguishable from TWC.

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Well we do have non-MSO apps like HBO GO and ESPN3 among others that require your cable subscription to be authenticated and don't require cablecard.

Should HBO or ESPN, for example, be required to dump their content thru any other 3rd party app?
That's different. That's a value-add, and out of home streaming isn't regulated. The FCC's power is limited to linear video delivered over a coaxial cable to your house. They have no power over things delivered over the internet.

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TiVo should take it upon themselves to develop an AllVid type device to show the industry how it could be done. They could move all the tuners and the CableCARD(s) into a centralized network device, ala the HDHomeRun Prime, then create DVRs and Minis that could access those tuners as needed. By moving the tuners into a central box like that they could also allow users to mix cable and OTA, or switch between them, without having to replace the entire DVR. They might also be able to exploit their relationship with DirecTV and develop a gateway for them as well, creating a unified experience for all users. And if these cable companies get their way and are allowed to deploy proprietary downloadable security systems then TiVo could simply offer different gateways for the various standards rather then having to offer complete DVRs for each market.
I think if TiVo were interested in doing that, they would have already done it. Obviously the latest DirecTV TiVo was simply an afterthought and TiVo is doubling down on the partner with MSOs model. They'd have to get DirecTV and/or Echostar on board to make it worth it, and neither of those companies is going to be particularly interested in such a model.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:21 AM   #20
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As I posted in Zatz's comments thread on this, the FCC granted a waiver until 2014 for the industry to come up with some sort of IP standard for HD streaming. I've seen nothing since, and their AllVid proposal was essentially abandoned after the MSOs told them to pound sand. And then they grant the ridiculous Charter downloadable security waiver.

Things don't look good on this front which is why Tivo continues to fight. I'm not sure if anyone at the FCC cares.

http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=6017143898
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:30 AM   #21
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Is there any chance that the MSOs could do something in the near future that could potentially turn our TiVos into paperweights, or are we still protected for now by the FCC? I assume even the newer hardware platforms like Comcast's X1 still use CableCARDs.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:35 AM   #22
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Yep, they still use cards and they're not going away for a very long time. They're not going to shut them off if that's what you're asking. But as mentioned in the filing, support for third-party devices using them may become more problematic until/unless the FCC takes action.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:41 AM   #23
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Is there any chance that the MSOs could do something in the near future that could potentially turn our TiVos into paperweights, or are we still protected for now by the FCC? I assume even the newer hardware platforms like Comcast's X1 still use CableCARDs.
More than anything else, we're protected by the fact that there are tens of millions of CableCard set tops from the MSOs themselves in use, and there's no way that they would be shut off overnight.

You'll see it coming with at least a couple of years notice before digital QAM-modulated linear video with CableCard CA is turned off.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:48 PM   #24
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But it could get to a point where they are no longer required to offer new CableCARDs. So if the one you have dies they will not be required to replace it.

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As I posted in Zatz's comments thread on this, the FCC granted a waiver until 2014 for the industry to come up with some sort of IP standard for HD streaming. I've seen nothing since, and their AllVid proposal was essentially abandoned after the MSOs told them to pound sand. And then they grant the ridiculous Charter downloadable security waiver.

Things don't look good on this front which is why Tivo continues to fight. I'm not sure if anyone at the FCC cares.

http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=6017143898
Wow I hadn't ever heard about that mandate. That actually sounds like they are mandating exactly what I want. A gateway type device that outputs video over a network using an open standard so that multiple TVs can access the service without requiring a box. I hope they hold to that. It sounds like the first step toward an AllVid type standard.
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Old 04-01-2014, 03:18 PM   #25
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But it could get to a point where they are no longer required to offer new CableCARDs. So if the one you have dies they will not be required to replace it.



Wow I hadn't ever heard about that mandate. That actually sounds like they are mandating exactly what I want. A gateway type device that outputs video over a network using an open standard so that multiple TVs can access the service without requiring a box. I hope they hold to that. It sounds like the first step toward an AllVid type standard.
The problem is that the "open standard" will be wrapped in all kinds of DRM. It'll be open at the most for TiVo, but open source things like MythTV will be locked out, and by now Microsoft doesn't care. Essentially this is purely for TiVo, no one else.

AllVid is dead, and CableCard will be. You and I want 3rd party retail devices because we like different interfaces or different styles of devices (network DVRs, archiving massive amounts of recordings, TiVo's services, etc) but the FCC "mandate" of buying vs. renting will be satisfied by apps on iPads and Xboxes. Comcast and TWC already hail their apps as negating the need for things like CableCard, even though they solve a different problem than people like me or you have with MSO-provided set tops.

You and I know there's no difference between an Xbox 360 running TWC's app and a TWC set top, but the FCC doesn't care.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:19 PM   #26
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Based on that link it sounds like the FCC has clarified the "open standard" to be DLNA. There is a version of DLNA that supports encryption (DTCP-IP) that has already been approved for use by CableLabs and is supported by several devices. I'm not sure about the control and discovery protocols though. The FFC letter above made it sound like the DLNA was working on a new version that supports all that. For example the HDHomeRun already supports DTCP-IP and can stream live premium channels to DTCP-IP enabled devices. But the way it selects channels is a bit clunky. It basically presents the channels to the device as a list of files. For this to be more user friendly they need a way to use simple channel up/down and manual channel entry, perhaps even a simple guide of some sort. (although that could be presented by the playback device instead being part of the standard)

This may not support everything AllVid would have, but it's a step in that direction. By centralizing the tuners in a gateway device they at least open up the possibility of allowing retail devices to be interoperable across service providers. The trick is getting all the providers to use the same standard. While they favor DLNA they leave it open and will still allow MSOs to choose other protocols as long as their office deems it "open". So there is still some room in there for the lobbyist to work and screw it all up.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:52 PM   #27
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The problem is that the "open standard" will be wrapped in all kinds of DRM. It'll be open at the most for TiVo, but open source things like MythTV will be locked out, and by now Microsoft doesn't care. Essentially this is purely for TiVo, no one else.

AllVid is dead, and CableCard will be. You and I want 3rd party retail devices because we like different interfaces or different styles of devices (network DVRs, archiving massive amounts of recordings, TiVo's services, etc) but the FCC "mandate" of buying vs. renting will be satisfied by apps on iPads and Xboxes. Comcast and TWC already hail their apps as negating the need for things like CableCard, even though they solve a different problem than people like me or you have with MSO-provided set tops.

You and I know there's no difference between an Xbox 360 running TWC's app and a TWC set top, but the FCC doesn't care.
See this article from a few weeks ago...

http://www.multichannel.com/technolo...devices/148924
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:29 PM   #28
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That DLNA CVP-2 sounds awesome! I really hope the MSOs get behind that. It basically sounds like everything AllVid purposed to be. The only part that doesn't sound awesome is this...

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CVP-2 also supports ad insertion
I hope they don't use that as a way to force us to watch ads.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:35 PM   #29
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That DLNA CVP-2 sounds awesome! I really hope the MSOs get behind that. It basically sounds like everything AllVid purposed to be. The only part that doesn't sound awesome is this...

I hope they don't use that as a way to force us to watch ads.
It sounds from that description that the cable companies want to keep the DVR upstream of their outputs. So they will still retain total control of their UI and the DVR.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:55 PM   #30
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The FCC mandates that the IP stream be recordable. And part of the CVP-2 specification is something called USI (Usage State Information) which basically mimics the CCI byte used for CableCARDs and allows the DLNA server to set the stream to Copy Freely, Copy Once and Copy Never so a CVP-2 capable DVR can record the stream and apply the proper protection.

Now I assume that a DVR which records from a DLNA stream will still need to be approved by some sort of standards body, so this wont be a free for all where open source DVR software can record protected content. But it might enable them to access Copy Freely channels. And it will allow bigger companies like TiVo to get certified and be able to record everything just like they do now with CableCARDs.

The main purpose of this spec is to centralize the tuners, 2 way communication and UI elements like the guide, VOD, etc... into a single gateway device and then provide a simple set of standards that a playback device or DVR can use to access them.

For a DVR like TiVo they could ignore the guide and continue to use their own built in one, but still allow access to VOD by simply displaying the VOD RUI which is just HTML5. Although I guess the cable companies could push for mandated use of their RUI guide too, like they did when developing OCAP, but I hope that doesn't happen.

TiVo could also use this same same set of protocols for their multi-room sharing so that we'd no longer need a dedicated Mini to access recordings on our TiVo. Instead we could use any DLNA CVP-2 device to watch our recorded shows. (TiVo may not like this part though)

The best part of this is if it catches on then the FCC could force the DSS providers to start using it too and we'd essentially have AllVid.
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