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Old 12-16-2006, 10:42 AM   #31
ewilts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgould
Comcast stuck on the $6.95 "additional digital outlet" charge a few times, but they've taken it off after some complaints/reminders I have no other digital outlets/STBs besides the Tivo. I only pay the $50 for full std analog cable, $10 for digital classic, and $1.50 for 2nd tivo CCard.
I'm similar to that, but don't pay the $1.50 for the 2nd CableCard (Comcast Twin Cities, MN). I have 2 zero-dollar CableCard line items. They tried the $6.95 ADO charge on me and I had that removed since I have only 1 digital outlet.

Why are people paying a $1.50 TiVo tax when the Comcast FAQ online clearly states that CableCards are free? That's anti-competitive and potentially illegal (but I'm not a lawyer).

.../Ed
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Old 12-18-2006, 01:34 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
Not really. You have also noted that nothing in the regulations state that the security access mechanism that the cablecos use has to be the same as that which they give vendors of third party navigation devices.

That is, they are free to design a security device (cablecards) that their navigation box competitors are forced to use, which is very expensive to install, and may be billed for services in a more expensive way than the cableco provided solution.

But nothing in the integration ban states that the cablecos have to use the same mechanism. They could use a software scheme such as a proprietary DCAS or other scheme that is inherently cheaper and billed differently.
Not quite ...

I've said that cable companies don't have to use CableCard as their own seperable solution. They also don't all have to use the same seperable solution as each other (ie, all cable companies don't have to use the same thing) ...

However, whatever seperable solution they do use must be made available for third party devices, customers, etc ...

After the integration ban takes effect, a cable company can't use DCAS or M-Cards or some other solution that's "inherently cheaper and billed differently" than the current two S-Card solution (along with whatever else the cable company layers on top) without making that same option available to third parties.

Also, whatever seperable solution they use must meet FCC requirements under existing regulations passed to date. I wouldn't assume that "a proprietary DCAS or other scheme" neccesarily would. As noted (several times) by the CEA ... for example:
Quote:
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/r...ent=6518709592

It is unclear whether DCAS, as proposed by the cable industry, meets the statutory requirements of Section 629 and the separable security requirements of the Commission’s rules.
Another example to keep an eye on is CableVision's request to classify their NDS SmartCard solution as meeting the seperable security requirements.
Quote:
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/r...ent=6518614153

As described below, for avoidance of doubt, Cablevision seeks either a clarification that navigation devices with separate security on removable SmartCards are not “integrated devices” for purposes of the integration ban or a waiver that will allow such devices to continue to be placed into service after July 1, 2007.
It'll be interesting to see what the FCC does with the CableVision request.

Might cable move on to use DCAS or some other non-CableCard solution for their own seperable security solution? Yes, sure. However, that solution must a) meet certain FCC requirements and b) must be available for third parties and customers to use.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
I don't see anything in the regulations that explicityly prohibits the cable companies from making third party navigation devices more expensive to own and operate.

Do you?
Yes ... the integration ban when combined with other pricing / equipment regulations.

One without the other ... no. But when combined ... yes.

Last edited by dt_dc : 12-18-2006 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 12-18-2006, 02:55 PM   #33
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I believe some people think they are paying a monthly fee for their cable cards, when it is actually being billed as "Digital Access"- the same fee you pay with any cable box (on top of the actual hardware rental fee). It's not a hardware rental fee - it is a fee that allows you to get access to (i.e. decrypt) the digital channels you subscribe to on another box/tuner/TV/Tivo/etc...

I know it's just semantics, but it's probably an important distinction in the eyes of the federal regulators.
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:22 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by wackymann
I believe some people think they are paying a monthly fee for their cable cards, when it is actually being billed as "Digital Access"- the same fee you pay with any cable box (on top of the actual hardware rental fee). It's not a hardware rental fee - it is a fee that allows you to get access to (i.e. decrypt) the digital channels you subscribe to on another box/tuner/TV/Tivo/etc...

I know it's just semantics, but it's probably an important distinction in the eyes of the federal regulators.
Yes they are, and yes it is ...

However, when they are paying the 'Digital Access' (or 'Digital Gateway' or 'Digital Tier' or whatever their cable company calls it) per CableCard (ie, twice for the S3) ... while people using the cable company's dual-tuner DVR are only paying the charge once ...

That's when people get a little upset / ruffled feathers (understandably so IMO).
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:53 PM   #35
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I chalk it up to cable learned about DBS's "mirroring fees" and saw that the new regulations laws allow them to charge the equivalent for the digital tier.

I think it's rooted in 2 places- one the fees are all charged per card becasue before the s3 their really was no reason not too. So it would require some back office changes to implement the comast like solution of charging a second differnt set of charges for the 2nd ard and for many providers that's a big deal. Second- i just assumed the cable card and 'addiotional digital outlet fees" were based on the effort to authorized the cards at the CO- so a 2 card tivo takes twice the effort (minimal effort to be clear- but still twice) so they charge double.

It offends me somewhat but my triple play is still way less then my previous sum so I grin and bear it.

But I think the relief will come WAY BEFORE the integration ban in the middle of next year (BTW did comcast and NTA or anyone get their waivers?). Cablelabs reated a standard so the tivo can use an M-card. The first batch of tests is scheduled for January. So presumably come February or so, m-cards will work in the S3's. At that point the 2 premises about related to having 2 cards go bye bye. I'll just call my provider and ask for a single M-card instead of the 2 s-cards I have now. Problem will likely solve itself. I cant imagine cable companies charging per stream- is it realistic that they charge DOUBLE for a plasma that has PIP?

So I an pay the extra 3 bucks for another few months before I get too annoyed...
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:10 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTiVo
Shouldn't the FCC be cracking down on TiVo ...
Funny.

Umm, NO. Tivo isn't regulated by the FCC. (well, no more so than anyone else.) They are bound by various specifications and certifications. But none of that is directly controlled by the FCC.

Second, Tivo isn't a monopoly, so they can charge what ever they want. You might not have noticed but there are alternatives to the tivo. You are just as free to choose one of them as a tivo. This is not the case with cable; if I want cable, I have to deal with TW - period.
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:42 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by MichaelK
But I think the relief will come WAY BEFORE the integration ban in the middle of next year (BTW did comcast and NTA or anyone get their waivers?). Cablelabs reated a standard so the tivo can use an M-card. The first batch of tests is scheduled for January. So presumably come February or so, m-cards will work in the S3's. At that point the 2 premises about related to having 2 cards go bye bye. I'll just call my provider and ask for a single M-card instead of the 2 s-cards I have now. Problem will likely solve itself.
chicken ... egg ... chicken ... egg ...

M-Cards and the integration ban go hand in hand. M-Cards became a priority for cable / CableLabs becuase cable companies have no desire to have to pay for two CableCard slots and two CableCards for own their dual tuner DVRs. Yes, the two will (actually) happen a few months apart. But make no mistake ... the two are tied together.

So, you're going to call your provider and ask for an M-Card? Hmm, when / why do you think most cable companies are actually going to make M-Cards available? Hint ... it's when they start ordering and deploying those new M-Card based dual tuner DVRs from SciAtl and Motorola.
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Old 12-19-2006, 12:59 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dt_dc
chicken ... egg ... chicken ... egg ...

M-Cards and the integration ban go hand in hand. M-Cards became a priority for cable / CableLabs becuase cable companies have no desire to have to pay for two CableCard slots and two CableCards for own their dual tuner DVRs. Yes, the two will (actually) happen a few months apart. But make no mistake ... the two are tied together.

So, you're going to call your provider and ask for an M-Card? Hmm, when / why do you think most cable companies are actually going to make M-Cards available? Hint ... it's when they start ordering and deploying those new M-Card based dual tuner DVRs from SciAtl and Motorola.

agreed-

and i dont know if they will have m-cards until the ban as you point out.

But when Tivo is approved for m-cards I just figure I have a much better leg to stand on to complain. At that point my tivo can work with one M-card and it will be their fault that I need 2 s-cards. Right now it's arguing symantics of the laws and regulations. I fear bringing it up just becomes a battle over what the definition of the word "is is?

At the point when tivo is approved for an m-card, I think the consumer just APPEARS to have a higher moral ground. At least my local franchise board and BPU might follow my argument a little better if I have to get them involved. At that point I can clearly point to somethign that the cable company is doing that costs me more then if they would provide an M-card.

Follow my logic?

I guess it's up for debate if it helps me at all, but that's my theory.
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:14 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by MichaelK
Follow my logic?
From an "appearance" / "higher moral ground" standpoint ...

Yes, I can certainly see where you're coming from.
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:15 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dt_dc
Yes they are, and yes it is ...

However, when they are paying the 'Digital Access' (or 'Digital Gateway' or 'Digital Tier' or whatever their cable company calls it) per CableCard (ie, twice for the S3) ... while people using the cable company's dual-tuner DVR are only paying the charge once ...

That's when people get a little upset / ruffled feathers (understandably so IMO).
Exactly. I complained to the local franchise authority weeks ago, but haven't heard a peep.
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:51 AM   #41
Justin Thyme
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dt_dc
Not quite ...

I've said that cable companies don't have to use CableCard as their own seperable solution. They also don't all have to use the same seperable solution as each other (ie, all cable companies don't have to use the same thing) ...

However, whatever seperable solution they do use must be made available for third party devices, customers, etc ...
You realize what you are saying. Each cableco can build their own custom security access scheme so long as they make the scheme available to third parties. Cableco's hate third party devices as much as the phone company hated outfits like Carterphone. Why should they make it easy for third parties to compete with them?

Refusal of the FCC to enforce standards furthers the ability of cablecos to thwart the proliferation of third party navigational devices to their networks, since each device must be adapted to every provider's network.

Cable companies have used the security access provision as a 10 year barrier to entry to third party navigational devices.

And the FCC has been complicit in the defiance of the will of congress expressed in the 1996 Telecom Act.

Behold the wisdom and efficacy of deregulatory regulators in protecting consumer rights. It is a fiasco.

Last edited by Justin Thyme : 12-20-2006 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 12-20-2006, 01:30 PM   #42
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I think the point was that there are alterentives to cablecard (IN THE WORKS- if not really here) like they could skip cablecard and go to downloadable security- as long as it's open and availible to all.

So one compnay could do cablecard while another does dowloadable.
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:14 AM   #43
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Sure but it raises an interesting question. If it is acceptable to do one additional security access scheme, why not two additional? If two, why not 20?

Put yourself in the cableco's seat though. If you wanted to raise the barrier to entry to third party devices legally, why would you observe any standards? If Viacom saw that Cox was experiencing deep penetration of third party boxes in place of their DVR, would they want to step up and say-
"Hey yeah, let's use the same security access scheme so the same boxes can be used with our system. We want to get some of that action where we can make it harder for our customers to pile up additional charges for PPV and VOD services."
Also- this breathless acceptance of DCAS as some sort win win for both the cablecos and consumers is nonsense. DCAS has some characteristics that people need to be a little more critical of. Note that it could be extended as a general content access scheme across platforms. So that you can't play the show unless the portable device has recently connected to a network so that the MPAA mothership says it's ok to keep playing that show.

Last edited by Justin Thyme : 12-21-2006 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 12-21-2006, 04:16 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
Sure but it raises an interesting question. If it is acceptable to do one additional security access scheme, why not two additional? If two, why not 20?
For example ...
http://home.businesswire.com/portal/...90&newsLang=en

From an economic standpoint though ... if every cable operator goes with their own / different non-integrated leased solution ... then the result would be #1 in my post above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dt_dc
However, I do think that changes when the integration ban comes in to play (perhaps July 1, 2007). Ie, when a cable company is renting you a DVR 'capable of accessing the basic tier' consisting of a DVR (box), CableCard(s), Service Tiers, etc ... things start to change as opposed to when they are just renting the CableCard(s). At that point regualtions start coming in to play that (IMO) would either (1) force cable company's to raise the rates of their DVRs or (2) start pricing things more equitably for S3 users. I think the later is more likely ... but ... we shall see.
And as I said ... we shall see ...
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:32 PM   #45
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Tower of Babel Security Access strategy

If you agree that it is permissible under the rules, then the choice for the service provider is simply to balance the cost in lost viewers due to higher DVR rental against the gain in profits from services and products you can be sure are in front of all users since you control the interface they see to your network.

And how bad would the downside of that tradeoff be? Would the added costs be for the "unique" STBs necessarily be outrageously high? How unique do they really have to be? Really, if this is the only real (though unstated) goal, then would motherboards really have to be unique to block development of low cost devices that support a plethora of security protocols? IMHO- the variants would not have to affect hardware or software architectures deeply. And isn't this a game the providers of head end equipment and STBs would be more than willing to play. Doesn't Moto and SA want to keep selling 250K unit orders to the cableco's? It is pretty easy to propagate variations in protocols and chip requirements to generate keys. Actually, it is a huge chore to keep engineers from "improving" things and diverging from standards from minor release to minor release.

The game is played with rules. Businesses are in business to maximize profits. If the rules allow them to make a move that will result in millions more profit, I think it is foolish to expect they will do anything but exploit those strategies.
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Old 12-21-2006, 06:21 PM   #46
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If I already have one cable card in my tv can I use the series 3 with just 1 card. if it needs 2 cards to work can I take the one out of my TV and use it so I only have to rent one more??
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:03 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
You realize what you are saying. Each cableco can build their own custom security access scheme so long as they make the scheme available to third parties. Cableco's hate third party devices as much as the phone company hated outfits like Carterphone. Why should they make it easy for third parties to compete with them?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
Sure but it raises an interesting question. If it is acceptable to do one additional security access scheme, why not two additional? If two, why not 20?
Keep in mind ... I'm talking about whatever solution a cable company chooses to deploy for their non-integrated / seperable solution for their own leased boxes.

Cable companies must still support CableCard (to the extend of current FCC regulations*) to customers who want them.

Ie, yes a cable company can use DCAS ... or CableCards ... or CableCubes ... or CableShamrockClovers for their non-integrated / seperable solution for their own leased boxes ... whatever. Although, again, keep in mind that there are certain FCC requirements for that non-integrated / seperable solution and it isn't a given that DCAS (as it is currently spec'ed / licensed) or any of your other 'tower of babel' scenerios would neccesarily meet ...

But, cable companies must still support CableCard (to the extend of current FCC regulations*) to customers who want them.

* - Heck, technically only cable companies that use QAM are required to support CableCards. So, if a cable company really wanted to ditch all these third party devices they could simply ditch QAM. Use 8VSB or QPSK or even some form of IP instead. Of course, that would make all of their own STBs useless overnight. They'd have to toss all those out and spend millions replacing those. Oh yah, and all that headend and infrastructure equipment. Again, alot of that would have to be tossed on the junk heap and replaced. Not to mention that just about any non-QAM solution that is currently implementable would mean reducing your effective bandwidth and having to drop channels. BUt hey, why not right? These cable companies are obviosly willing to go to any means neccessary ...
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:44 PM   #48
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Think we got lost there. To recap- The regulations seem to permit assymetrical pricing for cablecard services. You proposed that the integration ban solves that. I said not necessarily, if DCAS is permitted, then why not two alternatives. If two, why not 20. Is there any guarantee that DCAS is not simply the first of many alternatives? Isn't a tower of babel strategy permitted under the current rules?

The fact that the tower of babel security access scheme can't be used to replace single stream cablecard 1.0 support is interesting, but beside the point. Whether or not DCAS qualifies as one of the many possible separable security access scheme is also not relevant to consideration of this assymetrical pricing strategy.

Cable companies don't need to do away with cablecards entirely. The goal is simply to avoid playing on the same field. That is, that they not use the same security access scheme as the third party devices.

This allows them to erect all sorts of barriers to third parties based on dissimilar pricing, support or services offered. Double charging is permitted under the rules. This allows them to provide assymetrical services (can't get VOD or other premium services if you use cablecard 1.0 etc.).

If third parties wish to have access to the premier services, then the cable company simply shrugs its shoulders, points to the published tower of babel security access scheme, and suggests CE companies take their pick.
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:20 AM   #49
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Exclamation

I'm resurrecting this thread from the dead for FiOS customers like me with Series3s who are paying through the nose at $10/month to operate the device for two cablecards. It's simply outrageous. Verizon needs to subsidize the cost for a second card for people who require 2 cards to operate a single DVR like Comcast and other cable companies do.

Please voice your disgust and exasperation over at the official Verizon forum in this thread: Eliminate duplicate CableCARD fees for same device
Be sure to vote the topic up, so it gains more traction.
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