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Old 07-19-2007, 09:54 AM   #1
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CableCARD 2.0ish STB in the wild

I filed a complaint with the FCC since I couldn't watch an HD channel with my Series3 that Bright House Networks deployed using SDV. I got a call from the VP of customer service of our local BHN branch and he offered me a free STB for a year so I could watch the channel. At first I told him no thanks, but then figured sure, as long as it had a CableCARD. It took the guy a few days to track one down and he arranged for me to pick up a SA 4250HDc at my local office.

As many suspected, the cards are shipped sealed in the STB and they even go so far as to tape the lid shut. I tried out the STB with all the usual suspects, SDV, VOD and PPV; and they all worked as expected. So I figured what the hell, and removed the CableCARD and sure enough it stopped working. I put the card back in the box and within a few minutes the box was back to normal. As much as I expected them to do this, I'm still disappointed that they aren't truly supporting CC, and I really don't see how this is going to help TiVo's cause.

There are some pics in this post.

http://www.engadgethd.com/2007/07/19...t-in-the-wild/

The other thing of interest is that the MFG date of the box was 6/29/07, talk about cutting it close to the deadline.

**While this box does just about everything that a CableCARD 2.0 host device can do (like SDV, VOD, PPV), it doesn't support OCAP, which according to many means, it doesn't meet the CableCARD 2.0 specification.**
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:23 AM   #2
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To be fair, CC2.0 isn't a spec on the card itself, but the complete two-way system (which the Series 3 lacks some hardware for). The card itself is a plain M-Card.

And it technically isn't "in the wild", but contained in the zoo that is Bright House.
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:34 AM   #3
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I am not in the BHN zoo, it's at my house. Unless you mean the 4250 is the zoo.

And it is a two-way device, otherwise I wouldn't be able to watch VOD, SDV etc on it.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
the cards are shipped sealed in the STB ...

I put the card back in the box and within a few minutes the box was back to normal. As much as I expected them to do this, I'm still disappointed that they aren't truly supporting CC, and I really don't see how this is going to help TiVo's cause.
You mean you are disappointed they are not supporting the FULL 3rd Party CE Device CableCARD 1.0 EXPERIENCE.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:19 AM   #5
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Well, I just hope Brighthouse doesn't jump on the SDV train over on this side of the state (Cape Canaveral). I'm getting my cable hooked up next Friday. This is the first I've heard of them going the SDV route.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:31 AM   #6
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Your right, its not going to help tivo's cause until they make a device that is a opencable host 2.0 device.



Quote:
The fourth type of Host product that can make use of the CableCARD module is an OpenCable Host 2.0 device. This device is licensed by CableLabs under CHILA and the requirements for this product are found in the Host-CFR-2.0 specification. The main difference between this product and that which is defined by the FCC is the support for two-way functionality. The OpenCable Host 2.0 device specifications include all of the requirements necessary to support two-way cable services (e.g. video-on-demand or switched digital video), while UDCP devices do not. It is important to note that it is the receiver implementation that determines support for two-way services, not the functionality of the CableCARD module. All CableCARD modules are two-way capable.

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Old 07-19-2007, 11:37 AM   #7
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As others have noted, "CableCARD 2.0" as currently defined means a complete system overhaul (both headend and end-user equipment) based on OCAP. It does not imply any change to the actual CableCARDs themselves, which would work fine in an OCAP system, and is thus horribly misnamed. CableCARD 2.0 receivers only exist in prototype form and from a very small number of manufacturers. It will be a while before any OCAP/CC 2.0 systems are actually deployed. So no, you have not seen any "CableCARD 2.0" system in the wild.

Bdraw, is there any way for you to change the name of the thread you started?
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:44 AM   #8
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saxion, if that thing is doing 2 way coms and using cable cards, wouldnt it be an opencable 2.0 device using cablecard 2.0 specs?
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:51 AM   #9
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No, the cable companies have always had closed systems (protocols, licensing) that can do 2-way. That's how you could pick up a non-CableCARD STB direct from the cable company that could do 2-way. The new boxes only add a CableCARD to that existing architecture, and the CableCARD is only used for authorization and decryption. All the 2-way stuff just uses the existing (closed) protocols...no change there.

OpenCable/CableCARD 2.0/OCAP is a new system that is meant to open this up to 3rd parties (TiVo, TV manufacturers, etc). It is meant to unify all the incompatible closed systems out there, and open up the licensing to third parties.

Please note I'm not approving of CableCARD 2.0/OCAP. I think it is horribly flawed, as currently specified & licensed. But with some modifications, it could be a great system.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:53 AM   #10
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Saxion beat me to it and is correct.
Quote:
Originally Posted by davecramer74
Your right, its not going to help tivo's cause until they make a device that is a opencable host 2.0 device.
Tivo will be able to change channels to PPV, VOD and SDV channels, but I don't think Tivo will build an Opencable 2.0 host to do it, nor will many major CE companies. Technically, it is unnecessary. Cable company Cablecard boxes don't need to use the 2.0 specification (OCAP) to change channels, so they will find it difficult to justify to the FCC why third parties must use a much more complicated mechanism to change channels, especially when it appears to do something quite different.

CableLabs: "Want to attach to our networks, Tivo? No problem, just build this contraption and stick your head in here."

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Old 07-19-2007, 12:25 PM   #11
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CableCARD 2.0 does exist, but what it is 'exactly' is confusing to say the least. Regardless, most people think CableCARD 2.0 is a two-way, multi-stream device that uses a CableCARD to control the conditional access.

As for taking this STB to another system, I don't see any reason why this box wouldn't work with any other cable system as long as it had a CableCARD from that system installed and authorized.

If someone has proof that SA 4250HDc isn't a certified CableCARD 2.0 host device, please let me know and I will edit the topic and my post at Engadget.

Thanks
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Old 07-19-2007, 01:05 PM   #12
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Ben,

I'm pretty sure that cable cards are not as portable as one might wish. You need a Motorola cable card if your cable head end has Motorola gear and a Scientific Atlanta cable card if your cable system is built with SciAtl gear.

While you may be able to take a third party Cable Card device anywhere in the country, the cable cards themselves are still specific to one of the two duopoly equipment manufacturers.

Why is it so hard for the cable companies to see that set top boxes from both Motorola and Scientific Atlanta suck badly? I don't get why forcing third party boxes to use cable company software through OCAP is a competitive advantage. Sure, you get to push advertising through the TV Guide On Screen interface or something similar. But you pass up the opportunity to have a competitive market for CE provided set top boxes. Is the revenue from set top box advertising so great that cable companies wouldn't push a potential advantage over satellite and telephone providers?
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Old 07-19-2007, 01:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric_mcgovern
That's a bit silly as there is no proof that it IS a CableCARD 2.0 host device. It does 2-way communication and uses a CableCARD, that is not the definition of "CableCARD 2.0". View the thread (people have explained what it is) and poke around this forum a tad. You will discover that you are misinformed, and unfortunately pushing that misinformation out there on a fairly popular blog. Makes me wonder what else you guys have wrong. Would be nice if you did your homework rather than asking everyone else to do it for you...
I am not misinformed, I understand exactly what CableCARD 2.0 is and I realize that most people don't. I have been "poking" around this forum for 3 years and I have also discussed this topic throughly with engineers from Motorola and CableLabs.

From http://www.opencable.com/primer/cablecard_primer.html
Quote:
CableCARD 2.0
These new CableCARD-2.0 specifications were issued on March 31, 2005; at the same time the former CCIF 1.0 and Multistream Card (M-Card™) specifications were closed. Along with this update, changes were made to all related OpenCable specifications to require use of the new CCIF-2.0 and CCCP-2.0 in all places that previously referenced the former specifications. Beginning June 6, 2005, all CableLabs certifications of OpenCable products have been tied to CableCARD-2.0 (or CCIF-2.0) specifications. As of that date, new Cards and new Hosts have been certified to support the CCIF-2.0 and CCCP-2.0 specifications.
No mention of 3rd party and no mention of OCAP.

The entire point of Open Cable is for both 3rd party devices and cable co' issued STBs to use the same security, I'm not sure why you guys believe that only 3rd party devices can be considered CC 2.0 certified devices.

Either way we are arguing over semantics, and the bottom line is that the July 1st mandate isn't going to help TiVo owners get better support.
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Old 07-19-2007, 01:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboG
Ben,

I'm pretty sure that cable cards are not as portable as one might wish. You need a Motorola cable card if your cable head end has Motorola gear and a Scientific Atlanta cable card if your cable system is built with SciAtl gear.

While you may be able to take a third party Cable Card device anywhere in the country, the cable cards themselves are still specific to one of the two duopoly equipment manufacturers.
This is exactly the case, this is what I meant to say. That being said, there should be no reason why you can't take this SA 4250HDc and install a Moto CableCARD and use it on a Moto system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboG
Why is it so hard for the cable companies to see that set top boxes from both Motorola and Scientific Atlanta suck badly? I don't get why forcing third party boxes to use cable company software through OCAP is a competitive advantage. Sure, you get to push advertising through the TV Guide On Screen interface or something similar. But you pass up the opportunity to have a competitive market for CE provided set top boxes. Is the revenue from set top box advertising so great that cable companies wouldn't push a potential advantage over satellite and telephone providers?
It's about money, the Cable co's are the customer and just like any smart company, they want to spend as little as possible, and why not when most people don't seem to care.
They want to control the STB experience, there are many reasons for this, when I asked CableLabs this very question they gave me a word that makes me laugh. They said that disintermediation would occur, which basically means to cut out the middle man.
http://www.engadgethd.com/2007/06/22...-2-0-is-ready/
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Old 07-19-2007, 01:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
Either way we are arguing over semantics, and the bottom line is that the July 1st mandate isn't going to help TiVo owners get better support.


It's too bad the FCC didn't mandate that the cable companies have to go through the same process for 3rd party cablecard devices as their own.

In my opinion, it's clear that the cable companies will look for any loophole to deviate from the intent of the integration ban.
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Old 07-19-2007, 01:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
I filed a complaint with the FCC since I couldn't watch an HD channel with my Series3 that Bright House Networks deployed using SDV.
Since I'm just over the bridge from you, I'm curious as to which Brighthouse HD channel is using SDV?
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:01 PM   #17
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Golf/Versus on channel 694, there might be more, that is the only one I've had confirmed.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
Golf/Versus on channel 694, there might be more, that is the only one I've had confirmed.
got any buddies with a Hd box from your cable company? that would be easiest way. Or does brighthouse have a "channel lineup" page?
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:09 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by davecramer74
got any buddies with a Hd box from your cable company? that would be easiest way. Or does brighthouse have a "channel lineup" page?
I only watch HD channels, so I know there is only one HD channel on SDV, there could be SDV, but I don't care enough to surf all the channels on my S3 looking for them.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
Golf/Versus on channel 694, there might be more, that is the only one I've had confirmed.
Hmmm ... when that one was first added, I thought I could get it on my S3 (but I removed it from my lineup 'cause I would never watch it). I'll try again tonight ...
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:46 PM   #21
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It's possible that it isn't SDV in St Petersburg, while similar, the systems are not identical.
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
most people think CableCARD 2.0 is a two-way, multi-stream device that uses a CableCARD to control the conditional access.
That's like saying most people think of a BMW as a car. This is true. The problem is, you have a Mercedes. They are both cars, but a BMW is not a Mercedes.

A CableCARD 2.0 STB is one type of a two-way device that uses a CableCARD to control access (it can also use DCAS to control access). The STB you have is another type of a two-way device that uses CableCARD to control access. But the former is not the same as the latter.

Best place I can send you for education is this Wiki page. Note the following: "Cable Companies have required OCAP as part of the Cablecard 2.0 specification".

The definition of CableCARD 2.0 is not open to debate or opinion; it is rigidly defined by CableLabs.

We all hate to see misinformation on such an otherwise useful forum. It decreases the signal to noise ratio and really confuses people who are trying to educate themselves by coming here. Please consider modifying your thread title.
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxion
That's like saying most people think of a BMW as a car. This is true. The problem is, you have a Mercedes. They are both cars, but a BMW is not a Mercedes.
Not a good analogy, 'cause it's not true. TiVo would be a better one since many people think of a DVR as a TiVo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxion
A CableCARD 2.0 STB is one type of a two-way device that uses a CableCARD to control access (it can also use DCAS to control access). The STB you have is another type of a two-way device that uses CableCARD to control access. But the former is not the same as the latter.

Best place I can send you for education is this Wiki page. Note the following: "Cable Companies have required OCAP as part of the Cablecard 2.0 specification".
Also from this source Cable companies have stated that two way communications by third party devices on their networks will require them to support OCAP. It does not say that the specification requires OCAP on 1st party devices. Let me see if we can get dt_dc to chime in, if anyone has actually read the specification, it would be him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxion
The definition of CableCARD 2.0 is not open to debate or opinion; it is rigidly defined by CableLabs.
I'm not debating the definition, just that this box fits the specification.
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:57 PM   #24
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I still don't see how you made the leap from The Cable Box works with SDV and It's Cablecard 2.0

Am I missing something? Does it say Cablecard 2.0 on the card itself? that wasn't clear from the photos.

As other's have said, just because the box is doing 2 way communication, it doesn't mean that it's using the cablecard to do that.

I really think you should change the title of your article
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Old 07-19-2007, 04:00 PM   #25
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Am I missing something? Does it say Cablecard 2.0 on the card itself? that wasn't clear from the photos.

CableCARD 2.0 is a host device specification, not an actual card, so no the card won't say anything.

The point of contention is, does this 1st party device fit the 2.0 host device specification even though it doesn't support OCAP?
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Old 07-19-2007, 04:50 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
CableCARD 2.0 is a host device specification, not an actual card, so no the card won't say anything.

The point of contention is, does this 1st party device fit the 2.0 host device specification even though it doesn't support OCAP?
Simply no, given what that Wiki states. Its two-way functionality is proprietary.
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Old 07-19-2007, 05:17 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
The point of contention is, does this 1st party device fit the 2.0 host device specification even though it doesn't support OCAP?
No. First off, a cable company is not obligated to support cablecard 2.0, they are not obligated to buy cablecard 2.0 boxes in order to do two way. They are obligated to support cablecard 1.0 devices, supply cards conformant with the 1.0 spec, and since July, all new boxes they supply must use cablecards.

The 2.0 spec explicitly states that OCAP is a requirement for both 2.0 hosts and 2.0 terminals:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cablecard 2.0 spec
OpenCable Set-top 2 (OCS2)
• Two-way connectivity support via both ANSI/SCTE 55-1,-2 OOB and DOCSIS with DSG functionality;
• OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) 1.0 support;
Source: http://www.opencable.com/downloads/s...I14-070615.pdf

When wading through the cablecard specs, it is useful to note that in most cases "Cablecard" has been replaced with "Open Cable", a label that is a classic example of Cable doubletalk to describe their closed system. So "the CableCard 2.0 Spec" is now known (at least in cablelabs land) as the "Open Cable 2.0 spec". They just want to get us in the habit of saying "open" every time we use the word "cable".

ClassicSat- boxes could use the out of band (OOB) rf support which has a standard but my understanding is that the actual pattern of signalling is proprietary as you state. My understanding is that the cable companies don't like this sort of proprietary signalling for a number of reasons- besides inefficiency with high data rate signalling, they don't like the vendor lock in to specifici head end equipment. Most likely the new boxes would use the Docsis protocol also mentioned above, because it is where they are going to avoid these issues.

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Old 07-19-2007, 06:10 PM   #28
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Ben, dude, you're killing me. Read up on NPH (Non-Portable Host) boxes. That's what you've got there. It *technically* doesn't fulfill the definition of a CableCARD 2.0 device, and really, it wasn't meant to. It was a stop-gap measure for the industry to provide a set-top that adheres to the FCC mandate for separable security but falls short of the portability requirement stipulated in CC 2.0.

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Old 07-19-2007, 07:23 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw
It's possible that it isn't SDV in St Petersburg, while similar, the systems are not identical.
Sure enough, I get "channel not available" when trying to tune my S3 to 694. I wonder if I should call and complain and see what BHN says.
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:33 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric_mcgovern
You are posting to a blog that deals mainly with 3rd party consumer devices, don't you think that is a bit misleading? When you say "CableCARD 2.0" most people won't be thinking about a proprietary 1st party box that you can only get from your local cable company.
It may be a bit misleading, but one of the points I wanted to make was how the Cable companies are attempting to elude the FCC, more specifically to point out that the current mandate is ineffective. Most who think they know what a CableCARD is, believe 2.0 means two-way. I have previously written posts explaining that this is not the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric_mcgovern
The only mandate for July 1 was for removable security, nothing else changed in those boxes, except for the CableCARD. So were the boxes almost CableCARD 2.0 before? They aren't using any sort of OpenCable standard for 2 way communication (dt_dc has posted numerous times, there simply isn't a standard yet), so it goes against what anyone on this forum and anyone who is following this issue thinks of as "CableCARD 2.0".
CableCARD is all about separate security, that is the entire point of the technology. If you take a cable box and switch out the security then yes, my understanding is that is enough to make it CC 2.0.
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