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Old 10-07-2007, 10:51 PM   #421
CharlesH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
I must admit it was really hard for me to resist blasting this response with flames. Please look up the phrase "layered network model", and then the terms "network bridging" and "network routing".
I got the impression that the proposed USB dongle was also physically connected to the cable, implementing at least the transmitter part of a DOCSIS modem. The data it would be transmitting need not be encapsulated IP or any other routable packets, just some data that the node or head-end recognizes.

I would think that the biggest complication would be that different cable systems use different protocols for SDV, so somewhere this has to be dealt with.
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:56 PM   #422
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True enough

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Originally Posted by bicker
One doesn't necessarily follow from the other. Generally, if you feel you haven't been given enough data to make an informed decision, then the best decision is typically believed to be the least invasive decision, i.e., in the case of TiVo, don't purchase it.
While true in general, there are plenty of spectacular exceptions. In the late 1970s, I had an opportunity to purchase $8000 worth of gold coins at $35 an ounce. My father convinced me not to risk the money. Boy was that a good decision?

That said, I'm generally in full agreement the best action to take is none at all if the decision is not at a critital point. On th eother hand, it gets harder and harder to "just wait and see" as time goes on, and I think many people want to take advantage of the advancing technologies sooner rather than later. This makes holding off all that more difficult. The bottom line is I can readily see how many consumers are very frustrated and thus prone to blame everyone in the universe for the problem. To some extent, it may even be justified. The various parties are most assuredly dithering about.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:04 PM   #423
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Agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker
Cable will support it to the extent they believe that failing to do so might result in more stringent and less friendly requirements regarding separable authentication. So that means that cable companies for whom those requirements were waived will care very little, and those for who those requirements are enforced will care more.
The execs will base their decision upon whatever criteria they choose. Some may just personally like the idea. Others may just personally dislike the idea. Certainly few CATV execs would balk at adopting the technology if they can be convinced it will earn them greater revenues or decrease their expenses significantly over the next 12 - 36 months, but the fact is many will believe whatever they want to believe no matter what arguments are presented them.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:12 PM   #424
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Dongle

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesH
I got the impression that the proposed USB dongle was also physically connected to the cable, implementing at least the transmitter part of a DOCSIS modem.
'Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesH
The data it would be transmitting need not be encapsulated IP or any other routable packets, just some data that the node or head-end recognizes.
While true in general, it's not true in this case. The CableCard has an IP address which can be assigned. The TiVo doesn't, but I'm pretty sure the in situ 2-way hosts do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesH
I would think that the biggest complication would be that different cable systems use different protocols for SDV, so somewhere this has to be dealt with.
Yep, although the number of protocols is limited. I know Scientific Atlanta has a proprietary protocol, and others may have other ones. This fact and the fact the FCC may or may not mandate OCAP is also a stumbling point. It's also probably the main reason TiVo is currently between a rock and a hard place and why the S3 was released without 2 way support.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:22 PM   #425
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Handful

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiDefGator
I suspect since each cable company has different hardwrae configured in numerous different ways that the dongle or the firmware for it or the software for it would have to come from each cable company. Ever tried getting a cable company to do something just for a handful of Tivo S3 owners?
Well, first of all, there are only a handful of CATV companies serving over 80% of the connected individuals in the US and Canada. Secondly, there are even fewer manufacturers of CATV equipment, and many of those manufacturers are sharing an even smaller number of protocols for their equipment. The two biggest by far are Scientific Atlanta (Cisco) and a gaggle of companies which are employing OCAP. This represents probably 95% of the CATV market. SA and Cisco, however, are large enough to provide a real impedimant to the process.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:40 PM   #426
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Datagrams

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Originally Posted by mikeyts
I can see ways in which they could use Ethernet to solve this problem--they could run a server in the headend with which a running device could register over the internet for each of the unidirectional CableCARDs it hosted. It could then send messages requesting mappings for services that it wanted to tune and telling it when it was no longer actively using those services. That solution wouldn't require a "dongle" at all, just authorization of your network capable device with the cable headend as a valid user of the server. How do you envision an "Ethernet dongle" working?
That is already how SDV works right now, with one exception: The SVV servers are not open to the internet. The packets come in securely over the CATV network using an upstream carrier to handle the data. The Ethernet dongle (and the USB dongle for that matter) will do precisely the same thing. The difference is if the dongle is Ethernet based, the code to handle the routing is already embedded in the Linux OS. It may even already be compiled as a part of their distro (I haven't checked). If the CATV companies can be convinced to open VPN tunnels to their SDV servers and TiVo can be convinced to include VPN end point code into the TiVo, then the TiVo will work without the dongle over any internet connection, and other devices can still use the dongle. If not, then the dongle will still be necessary, but only 1 per household will be necessary, not 1 per device, and it still will be much easier for TiVo to implement. In genral any device with an Ethernet port could also use the dongle at least as easily as the USB port.

While doable, the USB port is not a really good solution for this purpose. It's only advantage is more devices have USB ports than have Ethernet ports at this time, but that's changing fast.

(OH, by the way, there is no such thing as a unidirectional CableCard. It is the host - in this case the TiVo - which is unidirectional or bidirectional.)
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:40 PM   #427
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
I must admit it was really hard for me to resist blasting this response with flames. Please look up the phrase "layered network model", and then the terms "network bridging" and "network routing".
First off I know how networking works. I was talking about Layer I since the dongle will not provide access to your LAN. If you can figure out how to plug two ethernet cable into your TiVo's ethernet port, more power to you, but in the real world that's not possible.

Second I think you might have failed economics or business 101 since none of what you posted has anything to do with what the dongle is designed to do. The dongle is designed to mimic the way a cable box communicates with the headend. A cable box communicates via TCP/IP running on top of a QAM based networking layer. The cable box is not designed to allow any other devices access to any layer of the network because it is not required for the cable box to do it's job (and also for security reasons).
Similarly the dongle's sole purpose is to communicate orders of whatever device it is plugged into, to the headend. It is not designed to interface with your LAN nor is it designed to provide any kind of direct network access to that device and most likely won't. Ie: similarly how you can't surf the Internet through your cable box, the dongle won't do this either. So it makes next to no sense to use the ethernet port for the dongle since doing so would cut the TiVo off from the LAN. It also makes little sense from a design point of view since it forces the dongle to give the TiVo an IP address when one isn't required. In that way it makes as much sense as plugging your flash drive or mouse into your ethernet port on your PC.

Could a dongle be designed that the ability to work as a cable modem? Sure you could build the dongle so that it has a built in router and DOCSIS mode, but it makes no sense to do so since all it does is increase the cost and size and makes it more complicated than it needs to be. That would be like forcing someone to buy an $400 iPhone when a plain $30 cell phone would work just as well.

The main reasons why the dongle will connect to the USB port:
1. Cost - It will make the dongle more expensive similar to how networked printers are more expensive than USB printers.
2. Practicality - The dongle needs to be small and preferably powered by whatever it is plugged into. This makes USB the superior choice.
3. Standards - USB is generally the accepted standard for connecting any kind of device to a computer. It's the same reason why cell phones don't connect to PC's via ethernet.
4. Flexibility - The dongle needs to work on a variety of different devices, many of which probably don't have ethernet ports. CableCARD TV's have USB ports, but not ethernet ports.
5. Functionality - A dongle wouldn't be needed if ethernet was used since the S3 could just send the commands directly out over the existing tcp/ip network.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:50 PM   #428
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DSL vs CATV for SDV

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Originally Posted by CharlesH
I was hoping that you weren't suggesting a design that required that one be getting Internet service through the cable company, but... . For a LOT of us, DSL is a more economical choice (not to mention the usual issue about sharing the bandwidth on your node).
Well, first of all the bandwidth requirements for the upstream data are so small as to be totally negligible. Secondly, whether the consumer is allowed to use DSL is entirely up to the CATV company's policies (unless mandated by the FCC, of course). Fundamentally it will require the CATV company to open their SDV servbers to access via the internet (i.e. allowing data to penetrate their firewall). While this is a simple proposition, I'm willing to bet the IT execs at all the CATV companies are going to require the connection be only via secure tunnel ala IPVPN or IPSEC. If so, then the packet can come from anywhere. Otherwise, it would have to come from one of their "own" modems, either DOCSIS or Dongle.
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:55 AM   #429
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Though it's interesting to speculate on, I really don't think that they're thinking about any kind of Internet-oriented scheme. As I pointed out, the NCTA's FCC filing speaks only of a USB-2 based device (and TiVo's notice speaks only of having worked with the NCTA to develop a single solotuion). Who cares whether you need one for every eligible UDCP in your home? It's a relatively straightforward and secure approach and the devices themselves should be fairly inexpensive to manufacture. Remember, the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid .
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:29 AM   #430
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LAN access

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
First off I know how networking works.
Apparently not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
I was talking about Layer I
No you weren't. The USB port is no more capable of being connected directly to the QAM / DOCSIS transmitter than an Ethernet port is. There s also nothing which prevents the user from installing a USB hub just as easily as an Ethernet hub / switch. Doing so will provide the host with more Ethernet ports just as well as USB ports, but it won't enable one to bridge the data onto an RF signal from the Ethenet port any less readily than from the USB port. Any bridging between different physical networks (Ethernet, T-1, USB, RF) must be done at layer II or Layer III, and it's done every day. In fact, it's done by the vast majority of networks out there, including every SDV system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
since the dongle will not provide access to your LAN.
Irrelevant, although technically speaking since it may be possible to bypass the dongle altogether, the same device may indeed be used for both. If not, it doesn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
If you can figure out how to plug two ethernet cable into your TiVo's ethernet port, more power to you, but in the real world that's not possible.
It's called a switch, and it derives from the very same technology which provides two USB ports on the back of your TiVo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
Second I think you might have failed economics or business 101 since none of what you posted has anything to do with what the dongle is designed to do. The dongle is designed to mimic the way a cable box communicates with the headend.
Indeed it is. The cable box employs a router to pick up the layer III (IP) packet from the CableCard, de-encapsulate it from its 802.1 Ethernet packet, re-encapsulate it within a different packet type, modulate it onto an RF carrier, and transmit it out the CATV cable. Neither the CATV cable nor any CATV device further up the line knows or cares what Layer I and Layer II segments are transversed by the packet on the way to or from the RF transceiver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
A cable box communicates via TCP/IP running on top of a QAM based networking layer. The cable box is not designed to allow any other devices access to any layer of the network because it is not required for the cable box to do it's job (and also for security reasons).
First of all, it's untrue. Both Motorola and Scientific Atlanta make CATV boxes which communicate across the LAN with each other to deliver messaging and video between the boxes. It's true the RF WAN network is firewalled off from the Ethernet LAN network, but that is a function of the network (Layer III) routing, not Layer I access.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
Similarly the dongle's sole purpose is to communicate orders of whatever device it is plugged into, to the headend.
Irrelevant. The fact thge dongle has a dedicated purpose has nothing to do with the methods used to communicate with it. It also has nothing to do with access to the other devices which may be connected to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
It is not designed to interface with your LAN nor is it designed to provide any kind of direct network access to that device and most likely won't.
Irrelevant. Plugging a device intol the same LAN segment as other devices does not provide access to or from those devices unless every device in question allows such asccess and participates in the same network session.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
Ie: similarly how you can't surf the Internet through your cable box, the dongle won't do this either.
Motorola and Scientific Atlanta make boxes which do this very thing. More importantly, one of the big features touted by SDV is the ability to browse the Internet and employ online banking, stock trading, etc over the CATV system using the cable box and connected TV. More importantly WRT this issue, however, is the fact the connection medium to the Dongle doesn't matter to the network or the dongle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
So it makes next to no sense to use the ethernet port for the dongle since doing so would cut the TiVo off from the LAN.
Again, you need to learn something about networking. It won't cut off anything. Establishing the traffic on the Ethernet port is no different than on the USB port, except that the Layer II and III networking protocols are already in place in the TiVo for the Ethernet port. Establishing a VPN endpoint on one of the IP addresses is simple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
It also makes little sense from a design point of view since it forces the dongle to give the TiVo an IP address when one isn't required.
The TiVo already has two IP addresses (if it is participating in SDV), and giving it a third and fourth is no big deal. Having two of them on the Ethernet port is also no big deal. What's more, depending on how it is engineered, it is not necessarily required that the Ethernet port be given a second IP address, but it is the easiest way if the CATV provider is worried about external security and especially if they allow access through other providers. If not then a dedicated TCP or UDP port on the TiVo's existing IP addresss will work just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
In that way it makes as much sense as plugging your flash drive or mouse into your ethernet port on your PC.
While quite possible, and while I do make use of both flash drives and mouse pointers over my Ethernet LAN (and the Bluetooth network, BTW), the mouse and the drive are not absolutely required to participate in network communications. The dongle is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
Could a dongle be designed that the ability to work as a cable modem?
I never suggested it should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
Sure you could build the dongle so that it has a built in router and DOCSIS mode, but it makes no sense to do so since all it does is increase the cost and size and makes it more complicated than it needs to be. That would be like forcing someone to buy an $400 iPhone when a plain $30 cell phone would work just as well.
I never suggested this. My suggestion is to eliminate the dongle altogether, or at the very least reduce the number of dongles from 2, 3, 5, or perhaps more to just one. How many consumers - even rich ones - would rather pay $20 for one dongle than $100 for 5 of them? In my house it will require at least 4, and I'd rather it be one, or none.

Since you mention it, however, modifying an existing device is also a possibility. It would require firmware modification, not hardware modification, but if the CATV companies want to get snippy about it, they could easily support a firmware change to existing DOCSIS modems which would allow them to do dual duty as dongles. The cost to the consumer should really be zilch, but even supposing the consumer does buy their own modem (like I have), would they be willing to pay $10 more for a dual-purpose modem? I would.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
1. Cost - It will make the dongle more expensive similar to how networked printers are more expensive than USB printers.
False. Network printers are more expensive because they are less in demand, and becasue only consumers who need higher performance from their printers are generally interested in networking them. The OEM prices for Ethernet chipsets are no higher than for USB chipsets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
2. Practicality - The dongle needs to be small and preferably powered by whatever it is plugged into. This makes USB the superior choice.
Only partly true. While it's possible the dongle might be powered by the USB port, I certainly would prefer it be at least optionally powered by an external source. Since an Ethernet version of the dongle could be and probably would be in a completely different part of the house, the point is moot for it. A more important difference, however, is the user does not generally speaking want the peripheral device to communicate with more than 1 computer, but in the case of the dongle many of us DO want it to communicate with more than 1 computer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
3. Standards - USB is generally the accepted standard for connecting any kind of device to a computer. It's the same reason why cell phones don't connect to PC's via ethernet.
That's total nonsense. The 802.1 Ethernet standard far predates USB 1.0. The reason USB has become so popular for peripheral devices is because those devices don't need to participate in any networking. The dongle does. The second reason is because until recently Ethernet was somewhat more expensive than USB. This is no longer the case. Oh, and my cell phone does not use either to communicate with my computer. It employs Bluetooth peer networking. This is closer to Wireless Ethernet than it is USB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
4. Flexibility - The dongle needs to work on a variety of different devices, many of which probably don't have ethernet ports. CableCARD TV's have USB ports, but not ethernet ports.
True, but this is very likely going to change. It certainly has for A/V Receivers. Nonetheless, this point is well taken, but then it is also precisely why I said I hoped there would be developed either two different versions or a dual input version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morac
5. Functionality - A dongle wouldn't be needed if ethernet was used since the S3 could just send the commands directly out over the existing tcp/ip network.
Which has been my point all along, or at least partly. It might be needed for those who do not have broadband access with their CATV provider, and it might be needed for devices which don't have Ethernet ports, but if designed properly then other devices will make use of the dongle while the TiVo need not.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:56 AM   #431
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Internet based SDV

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Originally Posted by mikeyts
Though it's interesting to speculate on, I really don't think that they're thinking about any kind of Internet-oriented scheme. As I pointed out, the NCTA's FCC filing speaks only of a USB-2 based device (and TiVo's notice speaks only of having worked with the NCTA to develop a single solotuion).
Well, the CATV company's reluctance might be obvious - they may well think it is better to sell both Broadband Internet and CATV access to consumers rather than just CATV service alone. As I pointed out in another post, however, this attitude might be self-defeating. Their thinking might be they get a better chance to sell two items rather than one. This might not be the case, however. As I had to put home most forcefully this past week to one of my vendors who for years has been angling to sell more products to me, his choice is not more products or fewer products, but rather fewer products or none at all. I hope I finally got the point across, because they are headed rapidly towards none, and it's a shame because they make a good product.

In any case, the USB route sounds better to some folks on the surface, but it's a dead end. It's a band-aid on a bullet wound. Of course, so might be the Ethernet solution, but at least the wound gets debrided a bit, first. If done right, the Ethernet solution could be more than a band-aid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyts
Who cares whether you need one for every eligible UDCP in your home?
I do. It's three (or more) additional devices to have to buy. It's adddional points of failure. It's additional cabling. It's much more difficult to troubleshoot. It means the dongle will have to go inline with the UDCP devices rather than the DOCSIS modem, which is somewhat less susceptible to CATV issues, and usually easier to troubleshoot when they do occur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyts
It's a relatively straightforward and secure approach and the devices themselves should be fairly inexpensive to manufacture.
The same is true of an Ethernet version. The same is most especially true if it isn't required for the TiVo, at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyts
Remember, the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid .
How is one device plugged in to the DOCSIS modem in my computer room more complex than four devices plugged in to four different hosts? How is inserting four different RF devices into four different coax cables simpler than one? If something fails, is it the TiVo or the dongle? If all the TiVos are using one dongle, then if the dongle fails all four will stop receiving SDV. If it's the TiVo, then only one will fail. With individual dongles, there's no way to tell from the failure mode.
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:04 AM   #432
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
Please re-read my post. I specifically stated I believed the situation is NOT a result of coordinated nefarious intents, or in fact of any nefarious intent.
Yes, I've reread your post and you mentioned "greed", which is indeed a nefarious intent. "Pig-headedness" and "parochial" are also terms used as references to nefarious aspects. Let's not distract attention from the thread with a meta-discussion, and just accept that we disagree about that.

Each company is doing what it should: Operating its business in accordance with the laws, in the best interests of its owners, as per their obligations. That doesn't mean you have to like it, of course.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:04 AM   #433
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
Well, the CATV company's reluctance might be obvious - they may well think it is better to sell both Broadband Internet and CATV access to consumers rather than just CATV service alone. As I pointed out in another post, however, this attitude might be self-defeating. Their thinking might be they get a better chance to sell two items rather than one. This might not be the case, however. As I had to put home most forcefully this past week to one of my vendors who for years has been angling to sell more products to me, his choice is not more products or fewer products, but rather fewer products or none at all. I hope I finally got the point across, because they are headed rapidly towards none, and it's a shame because they make a good product.

In any case, the USB route sounds better to some folks on the surface, but it's a dead end. It's a band-aid on a bullet wound. Of course, so might be the Ethernet solution, but at least the wound gets debrided a bit, first. If done right, the Ethernet solution could be more than a band-aid.


I do. It's three (or more) additional devices to have to buy. It's adddional points of failure. It's additional cabling. It's much more difficult to troubleshoot. It means the dongle will have to go inline with the UDCP devices rather than the DOCSIS modem, which is somewhat less susceptible to CATV issues, and usually easier to troubleshoot when they do occur.


The same is true of an Ethernet version. The same is most especially true if it isn't required for the TiVo, at all.


How is one device plugged in to the DOCSIS modem in my computer room more complex than four devices plugged in to four different hosts? How is inserting four different RF devices into four different coax cables simpler than one? If something fails, is it the TiVo or the dongle? If all the TiVos are using one dongle, then if the dongle fails all four will stop receiving SDV. If it's the TiVo, then only one will fail. With individual dongles, there's no way to tell from the failure mode.
To my mind, you've made several points in favor of individual dongles. For one, individual dongles don't require access to broadband internet service, which some TiVo owners may not have or desire. For another, one dongle for multiple units introduces a single point of failure for all of your TiVos; the dongle fails, they all lose access to SDV services. How is this desireable?

I still can't envision what an internet dongle would do, exactly, and how it would be deployed. If an internet-accessed SDV server were running at the headend, why wouldn't your TiVos be able to access it directly, like accessing your system's SMTP server (assuming that you use cable broadband internet service).

I don't think that need worry about it--there's no indication that they are now or will work on an internet based solution.
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:20 PM   #434
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Nefarious intent

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Originally Posted by bicker
Yes, I've reread your post and you mentioned "greed", which is indeed a nefarious intent.
No, it isn't. It only becomes nefarious intent if it is translated into action and it forms part and parcel of the motivation for the act. A person may be greedy - and all of us are to some extent, yet if they do not allow that greed to a prime or at least significant motivation for their actions, then they are not guilty of nefarious intent, no matter how greedy they may in fact be. What's more, as in this case, the actions do not seem to be motivated by greed directly. but more by fear. The root of that fear however is seated in the fact their greedy instincts don't allow them to see clearly what they would see if greed were not clouding their vision. This is called being foolish, not nefarious. See my previous comment about the monkeys. Their intent is not in any way nefarious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker
"Pig-headedness" and "parochial" are also terms used as references to nefarious aspects.
'Far from it. While both may be undesirable in certain cirsumstances, neither is nefarious. Indeed, a parochial attitude is usually a very healthy one if not taken to extremes and again if it is not allowed to interfere with one's success. "We're the best!" is a perfectly fine attitude unless it is allowed to blind one to ones flaws, or a result of hidden infereorities. Pig headedness is an absolutely essential element of success, and is an absolutely positive trait unless it is allowed to assume excessive proportions. A little dab will do you.

A nefarious intent is one which seeks to do harm or evil, not one whose motivation has evil elements. Of course evil intent and evil motivation go well in hand, but they are not totally inclusive of each other. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, not evil ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker
Each company is doing what it should: Operating its business in accordance with the laws, in the best interests of its owners, as per their obligations.
No, they aren't. They are costing themselves millions, perhaps tens of millions. This is not in their best interest, no matter how one slices it. Operating within the laws is not relevant. The stupidest individual on earth can avoid breaking laws. Only an intelligent and fearless one can maximize effectiveness while maintaining a balance between consumer satisfaction and operating costs. It isn't easy, but it also is not as difficult as the players in this melee have made it on themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker
That doesn't mean you have to like it, of course.
My liking it or disliking it won't make them one iota wiser or stupider. Frankly, I couldn't really care too much less if they do bankrupt themselves. I'm glad you are happy attrempting to bankrupt an enterprise throug stupidity is somehow in the best interest of the enterprise, but I'm going to have to start to insist you quit employing hand-waving, straw man arguments, and ad-hominem. Please either address my comments, concede them, or ignore them.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:09 PM   #435
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Internet anyone?

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To my mind, you've made several points in favor of individual dongles.
Of course I have! No honest debater can ever avoid exposing some of the strengths of an adversary opinion...

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Originally Posted by mikeyts
For one, individual dongles don't require access to broadband internet service, which some TiVo owners may not have or desire.
But this isn't one of them. Ethernet dongles do not require access to broadband service. If properly engineered and with the cooperation of the CATV provider, an Ethernet based dongle system (not just the dongle) could potentially allow the user to select broadband access rather than the dongle. It gives the user a choice, rather than limiting them to one solution.

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For another, one dongle for multiple units introduces a single point of failure for all of your TiVos; the dongle fails, they all lose access to SDV services. How is this desireable?
It is desirable because the user knows which device has failed, versus not being sure who to call or how to go about fixing the problem. Dependign on how the device is engineered, it might be fairly easy to employ multiple dongles if the user so desires. 'Worst case, the user could buy two dongles and put one away in case the first one fails. It's still chaper than buying 4 or 5 of them.

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I still can't envision what an internet dongle would do, exactly, and how it would be deployed.
That's not the idea. The dongle would not be internet based.

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If an internet-accessed SDV server were running at the headend, why wouldn't your TiVos be able to access it directly, like accessing your system's SMTP server (assuming that you use cable broadband internet service).
That's correct. There are three possible ways to design this:

1. The DOCSIS modem has a VPN endpoint built in to it, or at a mimimum a second (nonroutable) network on the LAN interface. This allows the USB dongle to be essentially nothing more than an ordinary USB => Ethernet converter with no RF transmitter required, and the Series III TiVo needs nothing but some extra code. This will only allow the user to access the SDV content via broadband if he has broadband access with the CATV company, but the CATV company may demand this anyway. There would be nothing to prevent the simultaneous development of an RF based dongle which would allow customers with no broadband access at all to still get service via an RF dongle. Indeed, all the parts and pieces of these systems are right off the shelf.

2. Design a VPN endpoint into the dongle. This can be simpler than the industry standard IPVPN and IPSEC protocols, because the packets never have to leave the CATV company's internal LAN to be forwarded out to the internet. Otherwise the situation is much as above. The Series III and other Ethernet enabled devices need nothing but code. USB-only devices get a physical dongle. Users without broadband get the RF dongle.

3. The best of worlds, but the CATV companies may not wish to entertain the system where standard VPN protocols are built in to the dongle to allow access via secure gateway to the CATV server farm via the internet. This works no matter whose internet service the user gets. Again, all three of these scenarious work perfectrly well with an RF dongle for use by those who don't have any broadband access.

Options 2 and 3 do require there be designed two different versions of the dongle, but none of them require any new type of hardware be designed, only repackaging of already existing OEM devices.

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I don't think that need worry about it--there's no indication that they are now or will work on an internet based solution.
I'm skeptical of it, as well, at least via option 3. Option 2 is the least trouble for the CATV company, but it is only internet in the sense it uses the existing DOCSIS connection to deliver the nonroutable packet.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:21 PM   #436
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There would be nothing to prevent the simultaneous development of an RF based dongle which would allow customers with no broadband access at all to still get service via an RF dongle.
A USB-powered and connected RF (well, QAM in the RF band) interface is exactly what makes sense to build. Everybody that has cablecards has cable. Not everybody has a cablemodem, DSL, or another kind of internet access. Everything else you two are debating would leave some percentage of users out in the cold, and everything but a software-only solution for broadband-connected TiVos with charitable cablecos will cost more.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:05 AM   #437
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... everything but a software-only solution for broadband-connected TiVos ...
Now that's what I would call a solution
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:43 AM   #438
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No, it isn't.
Sorry, but at this point I realized that we must be speaking different languages. I'll wait for the DVD and check out the English subtitles.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:15 AM   #439
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A USB-powered and connected RF (well, QAM in the RF band) interface is exactly what makes sense to build. Everybody that has cablecards has cable. Not everybody has a cablemodem, DSL, or another kind of internet access. Everything else you two are debating would leave some percentage of users out in the cold, and everything but a software-only solution for broadband-connected TiVos with charitable cablecos will cost more.
I'm not sure that QAM has anything to do with upcable transmissions; we're not multiplexing video signals, we're only sending a packet requesting a channel, possibly with a return packet telling us how to tune the requested channel. The return packet could be with a QAM data stream (and it would make sense to do so).

Since at least some SDV solutions communicate via IP packets (between head-end and neighborhood controller, I presume) this may be software doable. It seems likely that the cable companies would want a mechanism that mirrors SDV communications with a cable box, presumably some out of band DOCSIS capability.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:14 AM   #440
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Angry

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[b]

Please report any SDV channels in your area and I'll update this post.
Thanks to GoHokies! for the great SDV background.
Time Warner-Charlotte has begun to deploy SDV, and on prime stations, not just the worthless niche stations.

On October 1 they added 282 TBS HD to make the Baseball playoffs available to customers, and on October 15 will add three more, MTV HD, Versus/Golf HD, and A&E HD, all in SDV.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:51 AM   #441
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Time Warner-Charlotte has begun to deploy SDV, and on prime stations, not just the worthless niche stations.
That just can't be true. What about all those people on this very forum that insisted that SDV would never get any important channels put on it? It was suppose to only be for foreign languages, midget golf, etc.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:33 PM   #442
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That just can't be true. What about all those people on this very forum that insisted that SDV would never get any important channels put on it? It was suppose to only be for foreign languages, midget golf, etc.
I suspect that you're being facetious, but that assertion was disproved long ago. The heaviest early users of SDV have placed everything except for a few premium subscription tiers in SDV, including stuff like ESPN, HDNet and Discovery.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:52 PM   #443
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On October 1 they added 282 TBS HD to make the Baseball playoffs available to customers, and on October 15 will add three more, MTV HD, Versus/Golf HD, and A&E HD, all in SDV.
I hate to admit it, but HD channels are niche channels, especially the newer ones that have yet to gain viewers.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:56 PM   #444
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Good point. Really, until their original series come back around next year, networks like USA are even niche channels. Watched their ratings plummet in the last few weeks.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:48 PM   #445
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Originally Posted by jsshattuck
Time Warner-Charlotte has begun to deploy SDV, and on prime stations, not just the worthless niche stations.

On October 1 they added 282 TBS HD to make the Baseball playoffs available to customers, and on October 15 will add three more, MTV HD, Versus/Golf HD, and A&E HD, all in SDV.
I'm in Charlotte.
I just got a Tivo HD last week and found this out the hard way. It's too bad as I really like the Tivo in every aspect over the rental boxes from TW. I don't care for TBS but if all new HD channels will be in SDV then I'm returning the Tivo.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:58 PM   #446
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I'm in Charlotte.
I just got a Tivo HD last week and found this out the hard way. It's too bad as I really like the Tivo in every aspect over the rental boxes from TW. I don't care for TBS but if all new HD channels will be in SDV then I'm returning the Tivo.
The 4 new HD stations being added this month are all SDV. I got no indication that the existing HD channels will be converted ti SDV. I couldn't go back to a SA8300HD.

My hope is that the proposed solution will be implemented soon and it will be a non issue.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:44 AM   #447
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I'm thinking of removing the list all together.

The problem is that there are so many SDV channels and they change almost constantly the list is almost useless.

It would make more sense if it wasn't so easy for a CableCo' to switch a channel to/from SDV so easily.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:04 AM   #448
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I'm thinking of removing the list all together.

The problem is that there are so many SDV channels and they change almost constantly the list is almost useless.

It would make more sense if it wasn't so easy for a CableCo' to switch a channel to/from SDV so easily.
It's probably enough to add a note that Cableco's using SDV will likely apply it to any new HD channels. At least that's the case here in Austin, TX.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:26 AM   #449
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I disagree. As long as different cable systems use SDV differently, a generalized statement would not be appropriate.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:50 AM   #450
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I think it is fair to say that any new HD channels offered on cable will probably be SDV. But I don't think you can go so far as to say existing HD channels will not be moved to SDV. If cable companies are going to spend the money to deply SDV, the only reason not to move existing HD would be to keep S3 owners happy. That's not much of a reason in their minds.
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