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Old 03-19-2008, 01:05 PM   #1201
MichaelK
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not to wander off track but the fcc actually mentioned that people should be able to get the program guide from the cable company using whatever standards cablelabs developed. That was in like 1998 when they issued the regs to enforce the 1996 law. IT's amazing to me that 10 years later and still you can't get a 3rd party device that gets guide data from the cable headend. Maybe later this year with ocap/tru2way but still that will be 10 long years.

So it's no wonder if you cant get guide data 10 years later that SDV has proven to be a problem....
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:53 PM   #1202
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not to wander off track but the fcc actually mentioned that people should be able to get the program guide from the cable company using whatever standards cablelabs developed.
My understanding is that the cable providers have the idea that guide data is an interactive feature requiring two -way capabilities.
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:02 PM   #1203
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not to wander off track but the fcc actually mentioned that people should be able to get the program guide from the cable company using whatever standards cablelabs developed. That was in like 1998 when they issued the regs to enforce the 1996 law. IT's amazing to me that 10 years later and still you can't get a 3rd party device that gets guide data from the cable headend. Maybe later this year with ocap/tru2way but still that will be 10 long years.

So it's no wonder if you cant get guide data 10 years later that SDV has proven to be a problem....
What the FCC ended up codifying in the regs is that cable providers are supposed to place PSIP loops in any QAM carrier which has a rebroadcast of an over-the-air channel in it. The FCC seems to be primarily concerned with over-the-air rebroadcasts on cable and very little with the rest of the commercial stuff, except to prohibit the cable providers from acing us out of being able to record it at all.
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:30 PM   #1204
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SA and moto's terms might be ugly and that wouldn't be cable's fault. Sa and moto hold all the cards.
They hold the supply. The CATV providers hold the demand and apparently are the sole customer of companies like Scientific Atlanta, almost a reverse monopoly. If I have only one customer, and that customer is pumping millions of dollars into my company to keep food on my table, then why is it that the customer who allegedly wants so desperately to get out of the business and let me deal directly with the consumer instead doesn't seem to have any problem with the status quo in reality and doesn't put up a fight for open standards and instead fight against the standards that eventually forced upon them as a result? I don't think it's so much that the lack of compromise the cause so much as one of the many symptoms manifesting from a lack of competence. And I'm paying these people nearly $200/mo for the privilege (no premiums or PPV or anything, just cable, internet, and basic phone).

I can't wait until something new like AT&T's U-verse (which does charge $10/mo for HD but delivers more HD channels) finally rolls out to my neighborhood, and hopefully Verizon will finally move into south Texas and FiOS will add another source of competition. TWC has the cable monopoly in the area and has had for far too long.

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On STBs:

They need them to be able to sell their interactive services.
No, they don't. They could hash out an open standard for two-way communication and get the hell out of the STB business, as they've allegedly been chomping at the bit to do for years, now. Cable didn't used to be digital. They decided to move to digital. Fine, no problem. Except they didn't feel it was important enough to come up and implement with an open standard for doing so that would allow them to finally offload this allegedly burdensome STB/DVR business altogether.

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So they're required to force systems on consumers that break the CableCARD standard, rendering them useless for every channel on that incompatible standard?
To remain competitive, yes.
No, actually. They are not required by anyone to force new and proprietary systems on customers. They are not required to broadcast HD channels via CableCARD-incompatible SDV. Not even to remain competitive. Giving me the middle finger isn't being competitive, giving me only one choice for DVR isn't being competitive, and according to lhorer the monthly fee I pay for that one and only DVR choice is more trouble than it's worth to the cable company. That doesn't sound like they're working on a competitive edge, there, does it?

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The one DVD "Standard" could happen because there was no real standard to begin with. Cable on the other hand, is built on two (or more) hardware platforms, with a number of software providers, which is the legacy the providers have to work with.
What? You're telling me that when they decided they wanted to implement digital cable that they were unable to design a working, open standard for it? That the old-school analog cable channels prevented them from installing what would've been a new, open standard for digital cable? I don't think so. You might as well tell me that DVD was impossible because home video manufacturers were producing VHS and any new system would have to work with those old manufacturing lines.

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In the context of that statement, it is purely contractual and/or economic reasons to stay with one hardware platform.
So they're either pitiably poor businesspeople and are painfully shortsighted or lhorer's wrong and that they're actually loving being the sole provider of fully functional STBs and DVRs?

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Supposing there were one headend hardware standard, an on software interface for interactive services, they'd have to change out a number of existing STBs and headend equipment to meet the new standard, or at least dispose the ones they have.
Which is what they did when they moved to digital... Would've been a lot smarter to do it just once, don't you think?

I'm sorry, but massive, monopolistic (or at best oligarchical) businesses running roughshod over consumers and then claiming to be the hapless victim in all this is really, really hard for me to accept. They either don't care or are ridiculously incompetent. They're not getting much in the way of sympathy from me either way.

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Old 03-19-2008, 03:38 PM   #1205
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They hold the supply. The CATV providers hold the demand and apparently are the sole customer of companies like Scientific Atlanta, almost a reverse monopoly. If I have only one customer, and that customer is pumping millions of dollars into my company to keep food on my table, then why is it that the customer who allegedly wants so desperately to get out of the business and let me deal directly with the consumer instead doesn't seem to have any problem with the status quo in reality and doesn't put up a fight for open standards and instead fight against the standards that eventually forced upon them as a result? I don't think it's so much that the lack of compromise the cause so much as one of the many symptoms manifesting from a lack of competence. And I'm paying these people nearly $200/mo for the privilege (no premiums or PPV or anything, just cable, internet, and basic phone).

I can't wait until something new like AT&T's U-verse (which does charge $10/mo for HD but delivers more HD channels) finally rolls out to my neighborhood, and hopefully Verizon will finally move into south Texas and FiOS will add another source of competition. TWC has the cable monopoly in the area and has had for far too long.....
some interesting thoughts about the reverse monopoly. But it seems like one side always has the upper hand when it comes to negotiations even when both sides need each other. Look at how the players union makes MLB look stupid time and time again. The both need each other to survive but the players always seem to win.

good look with ATT u-verse. Apparently it only has the room for one HD show at a time and cant use cablecards anyway. So you can throw your daul tuner hd tivo in the trash to use that.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:52 PM   #1206
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My understanding is that the cable providers have the idea that guide data is an interactive feature requiring two -way capabilities.

here's the link to the fcc order that I think created all the enabling regulations

http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Cable/Ord...8/fcc98116.pdf

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Section 629 covers not just equipment used to receive video programming, but also equipment used to access "other services offered over multichannel video programming systems." Such equipment includes televisions, VCRs, cable set-top boxes, personal computers, program guide equipment, and cable modems. The focus of Section 629, however, is on cable television set-top boxes and cable modems, devices that have historically been available only on a lease basis from the service provider.
seems pretty clear that they thought "program guide equipment" should be opened up with a standard that all could use. So even if it is 2-way then cable should have made a standard that others could use by now. (rereading I suppose since it's not a "focus" that means you can take decades to get around to it.)

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Old 03-19-2008, 03:57 PM   #1207
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What the FCC ended up codifying in the regs is that cable providers are supposed to place PSIP loops in any QAM carrier which has a rebroadcast of an over-the-air channel in it. The FCC seems to be primarily concerned with over-the-air rebroadcasts on cable and very little with the rest of the commercial stuff, except to prohibit the cable providers from acing us out of being able to record it at all.
I THINK that reg was from a different proceeding or topic. I think it was meant just to enable or help out the transition from NTSC to ATSC. I dont think it was them washing their hands of their earlier thinking about commercial availibility of cable devices.

Also I dont think they have to place PSIP in for any over the air channel- my understanding is if they get a feed with the PSIP in it then they must pass it on. But if they are being fed by the station over a fiber or something without PSIP then they can go without the data embedded. The onus seems to be on the station to get the cable headend a feed with the PSIP in tact.

at least thats my understanding of that bit- I've been wrong before so if someone has links to that ruling I'd love to read it.
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Old 03-19-2008, 04:48 PM   #1208
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some interesting thoughts about the reverse monopoly. But it seems like one side always has the upper hand when it comes to negotiations even when both sides need each other.
Sure, and even the individual people engaging in the negotiations can be significant. But surely it would need to be agreed to by the uppermost echelons of management. And the CATV provider is the one that has the choice in the matter. This is a rather extreme case where if Time Warner tells them to get lost, where else do they have to peddle their proprietary product? Obviously it's not enough of a concern for them to move forward with a better system.

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good look with ATT u-verse. Apparently it only has the room for one HD show at a time and cant use cablecards anyway. So you can throw your daul tuner hd tivo in the trash to use that.
It's being returned anyway at this point. I don't want to do away with Discovery and several other channels. And if I were willing to do that, I would probably be canceling service altogether, as I would be left with primarily locals only anyway (that interest me, at least), and just go over the air. I've seen the U-verse hardware (well, software) a few times, and while I don't think it's as good as TiVo, it's good enough that I would be satisfied with it.

If the unavailable channels were as few as TWC claims, I would suck it up and just wait for the mythical dongle. Unfortunately, that list is vastly incomplete and/or out of date. "Time Warner San Antonio's Programming for CableCard is outright lousy. The only channels available in HD are TNT, ESPN, Discovery HD Theater, Fox SportsNET, MOJO, and Universal HD... Meaning I'm not getting 19 channels that should be available." No thanks.
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:14 PM   #1209
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I THINK that reg was from a different proceeding or topic. I think it was meant just to enable or help out the transition from NTSC to ATSC. I dont think it was them washing their hands of their earlier thinking about commercial availibility of cable devices.

Also I dont think they have to place PSIP in for any over the air channel- my understanding is if they get a feed with the PSIP in it then they must pass it on. But if they are being fed by the station over a fiber or something without PSIP then they can go without the data embedded. The onus seems to be on the station to get the cable headend a feed with the PSIP in tact.

at least thats my understanding of that bit- I've been wrong before so if someone has links to that ruling I'd love to read it.
The regulation of which I speak is Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, §76.640(b)(1)(iv):
Quote:
(iv) For each digital transport stream that includes one or more services carried in-the-clear, such transport stream shall include virtual channel data in-band in the form of ATSC A/65B: “ATSC Standard: Program and System Information Protocol for Terrestrial Broadcast and Cable (Revision B)” (incorporated by reference, see §76.602), when available from the content provider.
(It goes on to describe the minimum content of the PSIP loop). I have to believe that if the content provider has a PSIP loop in his over-the-air transmission, it doesn't matter how they provide their content to the cable company, that information is "available". Of course "available" is, like so many of the terms used in wording these regulations, imprecise and undefined. Perhaps the information could be considered "unavailable" because the broadcaster chooses not to provide it at its whim .

I KNOW that this regulation was added as part of the plug-and-play DTV-over-cable "Second Report and Order", FCC 03-225 A (the order to add §76.640 to Title 47 starts at the bottom of PDF page 48; their discussion of PSIP is at the bottom of PDF page 11, in section "C. Tuning and Guide Information").

EDIT: As I re-read that paragraph from the regs, I see that I was wrong about one thing--it's not just streams including rebroadcast over-the-air content that they're supposed to add PSIP for, but any service carried in the clear. All of the over-the-air rebroadcasts have to be carried in the clear as part of the core basic cable tier (you cannot buy any cable at all without getting all of those channels, and none of them may be encrypted, scrambled or marked to in any way prohibit free copying). Typically, there are several other non-over-the-air channels in that tier, all of which have to be carried in the clear. However, they explicitly don't have to broadcast PSIP for a service unless it's available from the content provider and it seems unlikely that the providers of any of those channels would have PSIP available for them (typically stuff like TBS, WGN and CSPAN).
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:08 PM   #1210
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Nope

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My understanding is that the cable providers have the idea that guide data is an interactive feature requiring two -way capabilities.
Nope. My Mitsubishi 62" DLP gets TV Guide data from digital streams using the CableCard. It doesn't work exceptionally well, but it does work.
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:20 PM   #1211
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Nope. My Mitsubishi 62" DLP gets TV Guide data from digital streams using the CableCard. It doesn't work exceptionally well, but it does work.
When you say "TV Guide data", you're referring to the Gemstar "TV Guide On Screen" stuff? In what fashion do you believe that it uses the CableCARD for this (also, what specific model do you own)? As I said, my Mitsubishi panel is picking that stuff up just fine without a CableCARD.
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:40 PM   #1212
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They hold the supply. The CATV providers hold the demand and apparently are the sole customer of companies like Scientific Atlanta
Almost sole. They have other customers, but those are insignificant compared to the cable providers proper.
Also a lot of the headend and plant (made by much the same companies) is such as it wouldn't matter.

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If I have only one customer, and that customer is pumping millions of dollars into my company to keep food on my table, then why is it that the customer who allegedly wants so desperately to get out of the business and let me deal directly with the consumer
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Because "your" boxes need set up for their network, hence they need to at least order them configured, or accept delivery to their warehouse for configuration.
instead doesn't seem to have any problem with the status quo in reality and doesn't put up a fight for open standards and instead fight against the standards that eventually forced upon them as a result?
Because your customes have an investment in the current system, including STBs in the field. What they are trying to do is come up with a system where they can retain as much of their existing system as possible, and try to make the 3rd party boxes open to their system.
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I can't wait until something new like AT&T's U-verse (which does charge $10/mo for HD but delivers more HD channels) finally rolls out to my neighborhood, and hopefully Verizon will finally move into south Texas and FiOS will add another source of competition. TWC has the cable monopoly in the area and has had for far too long.
Currently, either "fiber" provider has exclusive territory.
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No, actually. They are not required by anyone to force new and proprietary systems on customers. They are not required to broadcast HD channels via CableCARD-incompatible SDV. Not even to remain competitive. Giving me the middle finger isn't being competitive, giving me only one choice for DVR isn't being competitive, and according to lhorer the monthly fee I pay for that one and only DVR choice is more trouble than it's worth to the cable company. That doesn't sound like they're working on a competitive edge, there, does it?
Their competition is satellite and other content sources.
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What? You're telling me that when they decided they wanted to implement digital cable that they were unable to design a working, open standard for it?
It isn't they were technically unable to develop a standard, it is that they didn't want to, or have to, at the time they developed digital cable. By the time it came to "open"their systems, they were well entrenched.
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So they're either pitiably poor businesspeople and are painfully shortsighted or lhorer's wrong and that they're actually loving being the sole provider of fully functional STBs and DVRs?
It is a bit of both. They love having a "system" box, as it allows them to sell value added services and otherwise have a strong degree of control a straight 3rd part box does not offer, or worse, they feel it "steals" from them, revenue a "system" may otherwise ran them.

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Which is what they did when they moved to digital... Would've been a lot smarter to do it just once, don't you think?
They cannot change their system now though. Hindsight is 20/20 though.
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I'm sorry, but massive, monopolistic (or at best oligarchical) businesses running roughshod over consumers and then claiming to be the hapless victim in all this is really, really hard for me to accept. They either don't care or are ridiculously incompetent. They're not getting much in the way of sympathy from me either way.
They don't care, as long as the can protect their revenue.
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:46 PM   #1213
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If Time Warner tells them to get lost, where else do they have to peddle their proprietary product? Obviously it's not enough of a concern for them to move forward with a better system.
Rogers and Videotron (major Canadian users of Scientific Atlanta gear). Or get out of the proprietary STB business and get into the open STB business.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:19 PM   #1214
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Missing it

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They hold the supply. The CATV providers hold the demand and apparently are the sole customer of companies like Scientific Atlanta, almost a reverse monopoly. If I have only one customer...
You still seem to be missing the point there isn't just one customer. There are no fewer than 50. Of course that's a lot fewer than the 100 million CATV subscribers, but it's also a lot more than one.

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and that customer is pumping millions of dollars into my company to keep food on my table, then why is it that the customer who allegedly wants so desperately
The term "desperately" is inaccurate. The CATV providers certainly have items much higher on their list of agendas than implementing separable security. That doesn't mean it isn't on their list, however. I'm sure that the vast majority of Americans want very much indeed for gasoline costs to drop back down below the $2 mark, but how many of us would be willing to give up our jobs, our homes, and our health to accomplish that goal?

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No, they don't. They could hash out an open standard for two-way communication...
Whihc is precisely what they did. It's called Open Cable Specification 2.0, and it was penned quite some years ago.

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Except they didn't feel it was important enough to come up and implement with an open standard for doing so that would allow them to finally offload this allegedly burdensome STB/DVR business altogether.
Yes, they did and they did. The standard is completely workable. The problem is it is unacceptable to 3rd party manufacturers and to consumers. Now that we're a couple of years down the road, it's also becoming unacceptable to the majority of CATV equipment manufacturers and to the CATV system which have installed systems which are incompatible with CC 2.0.

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They are not required by anyone
He did not say it was an individual or a company. It is market pressures which are forcing them to try to be competitive with satellite services.

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to force new and proprietary systems on customers.
At this point by definition any new system is proprietary. It's also the case that delivering additional services requires a new system. Ergo, the only choice is between not delivering new services, thereby ceding a large share of the market to DirecTV and Dish TV, or deploying proprietary systems. If you were faced with the prospect of losing 25% or even more of your income or ticking off less than 1% of your customers, which would you do?

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They are not required to broadcast HD channels via CableCARD-incompatible SDV.
SDV is not incompatible with CableCards. SDV is 100% compatible with CableCards, and every single CableCard is compatible with SDV.

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Not even to remain competitive. Giving me the middle finger isn't being competitive
It most certainly is when the revenue stream being impacted by their actions only represents an extremely tiny fraction of the potential loss by their not taking action. Fewer than 1% of CATV customers own TiVos, but more than 50% of CATV customers are taking the move to satellite or FIOS services under advisement.

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giving me only one choice for DVR isn't being competitive, and according to lhorer the monthly fee I pay for that one and only DVR choice is more trouble than it's worth to the cable company. That doesn't sound like they're working on a competitive edge, there, does it?
Yes, it does. Re-read my posts. The revenue from STBs and DVRs is small, but the revenue from the services provided by STBs and DVRs is huge, and the marketing value of those services (even those which are not revenue generating, such as Video Rewind and VOD) is huge. Provided overriding issues such as security and the cost of support are handled reasonably, many senior management teams of various MSOs would be thrilled to be able to hand off the heartburn of delivering STBs and DVRs for their customers. There's another catch, though. No matter how ubiquitous 3rd party equipment might eventually become, the MSO is still going to be required to supply leased receivers. Since they are never going to be able to completely get rid of the headache, and since support of 3rd party equipment brings its own headaches (and costs), the impetus to encourage 3rd party devices is just not what it otherwise might be.

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What? You're telling me that when they decided they wanted to implement digital cable that they were unable to design a working, open standard for it?
No, he's not, because they did.

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That the old-school analog cable channels prevented them from installing what would've been a new, open standard for digital cable?
No, the fact that no CATV equipment manufacturer produced any such devices and the fact the FCC said they had to implement CC 1.0 equipment did.

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I don't think so. You might as well tell me that DVD was impossible because home video manufacturers were producing VHS and any new system would have to work with those old manufacturing lines.
Do you know anyone who purchased a Betamax system? CED disc? LASERDisc? HD DVD? An 8 track tape player? How happy are those people with those purhcases?

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So they're either pitiably poor businesspeople and are painfully shortsighted or lhorer's wrong and that they're actually loving being the sole provider of fully functional STBs and DVRs?
It's been nearly 30 years since separable security was first seriously proposed, and nearly 25 years since 2-way digital services were first deployed. Given that some MSOs could potentially face bankruptcy within the next 3 years if they don't do something about the threat from other providers, and given that there is little reason to believe another 25 to 30 years won't pass before a unified standard gets ratified, just how are they being short sighted? This especialy since better than 98% of their custojmers and potential customers couldn't care less about whether the channels are delivered on SDV or linear systems, but do care about the number of channels available - just like you seem to do. Be honest with yourself for a moment. If your TiVo were able to receive all the SDV channels, would you care in even the tiniest measure that MythTV owners still cannot?

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Which is what they did when they moved to digital... Would've been a lot smarter to do it just once, don't you think?
All else being equal, yes, but taking the real-world situation into account, no. Notice also, it wasn't a choice they had available. It is simply a fact no such system was available for widespread deployment at the time. It should have been, but it wasn't.

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They either don't care or are ridiculously incompetent. They're not getting much in the way of sympathy from me either way.
They couldn't care less about your sympathy. Heck, I couldn't care less about your sympathy, and I very much want a solution to this mess which leaves me able to receive all the scheduled programming regardless of it's broadcast protocols. All they want is your money. Actually, they don't even want that if it means they lose more of someone else's money than they get from you. Like it or not, no consideration of any type which impacts a minority of customer dollars is going to override a consideration which impacts the majority of customer dollars. Get 30 or 40 million people to buy S3 TiVos, and the situation will be very, very different I assure you.

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Old 03-19-2008, 08:33 PM   #1215
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Sure, and even the individual people engaging in the negotiations can be significant. But surely it would need to be agreed to by the uppermost echelons of management. And the CATV provider is the one that has the choice in the matter. This is a rather extreme case where if Time Warner tells them to get lost, where else do they have to peddle their proprietary product? Obviously it's not enough of a concern for them to move forward with a better system.

....
I think it's a bit more complex- first what happens when time warner tells them to go screw and then time warners head end breaks? What happens tomorrow when time warner needs to buy 100,000 dvr's while they wait for OCAP to show up? Basically telling moto or sa to go screw instantly ruins there ability to remain a going concern. TW would go out of business and comcast would buy the systems up at firesale prices.

Now why dont comcast and TW and cablevision and cox stick up to moto and SA together? I'm pretty sure the FTC would arrest all the CEO's for collusion. Beyond that I'm not even sure you could get the big boys to play nice together ling neough to collude.

so there's some reality to work with.

Cables end game is to have OCAP and downloadable secuirty so then they CAN tell moto and SA to go screw. Witness comcasts dealing with Panasonic for piles of new OCAP boxes. WIth OCAP theycan buy boxes from anyone. And if You want a new head end and all your STB's are ocap with downloadable security then you can change headend brands at will too. No need to match your headend to the boxes in the feild. So cable is close to their nirvana- and they'll do it all without having to make standards that help anyone but themselves.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
...It's being returned anyway at this point. I don't want to do away with Discovery and several other channels. And if I were willing to do that, I would probably be canceling service altogether, as I would be left with primarily locals only anyway (that interest me, at least), and just go over the air. I've seen the U-verse hardware (well, software) a few times, and while I don't think it's as good as TiVo, it's good enough that I would be satisfied with it.....
the MAJOR problem I think u-vers has unless they have fixed it is unlike fios they use twisted pair for for the last few hundred feet- so the bandwidth is limited and you can only tune on HD thing PER HOUSE. So it's not just that you cant have a dual tuner dvr- you can't even have 2 HD TV' with their boxes. Maybe that's changed but you really need to look to see what the status is. Verizon actually runs fiber to the house so has more bandwidth then anyone.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:36 PM   #1216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
Nope. My Mitsubishi 62" DLP gets TV Guide data from digital streams using the CableCard. It doesn't work exceptionally well, but it does work.
please explain- I have never heard of this.

what standard is being used between the head end the the tv to enable that? Is it an open standard or just something that maybe Mitsu worked out with Moto in private?
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:46 PM   #1217
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Originally Posted by mikeyts View Post
The regulation of which I speak is Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, §76.640(b)(1)(iv)It goes on to describe the minimum content of the PSIP loop). I have to believe that if the content provider has a PSIP loop in his over-the-air transmission, it doesn't matter how they provide their content to the cable company, that information is "available". Of course "available" is, like so many of the terms used in wording these regulations, imprecise and undefined. Perhaps the information could be considered "unavailable" because the broadcaster chooses not to provide it at its whim .

I KNOW that this regulation was added as part of the plug-and-play DTV-over-cable "Second Report and Order", FCC 03-225 A (the order to add §76.640 to Title 47 starts at the bottom of PDF page 48; their discussion of PSIP is at the bottom of PDF page 11, in section "C. Tuning and Guide Information").

EDIT: As I re-read that paragraph from the regs, I see that I was wrong about one thing--it's not just streams including rebroadcast over-the-air content that they're supposed to add PSIP for, but any service carried in the clear. All of the over-the-air rebroadcasts have to be carried in the clear as part of the core basic cable tier (you cannot buy any cable at all without getting all of those channels, and none of them may be encrypted, scrambled or marked to in any way prohibit free copying). Typically, there are several other non-over-the-air channels in that tier, all of which have to be carried in the clear. However, they explicitly don't have to broadcast PSIP for a service unless it's available from the content provider and it seems unlikely that the providers of any of those channels would have PSIP available for them (typically stuff like TBS, WGN and CSPAN).
from what I understand if the tv station gives them a fiber feed it might come from a place in the chain before the PSIP is added (perhaps to get higher quality to the head end). So in those cases there is no pip "availible" in the stream for the cable people to pass along
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:36 PM   #1218
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Thumbs up Costs

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
And the CATV provider is the one that has the choice in the matter.
Not at this point, they don't. When they bought the systems several years ago, they did, but now they realistically don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
This is a rather extreme case where if Time Warner tells them to get lost, where else do they have to peddle their proprietary product? Obviously it's not enough of a concern for them to move forward with a better system.
You're missing the point. They've already bought their respective systems, at a cost of over $10 billion. Telling their specific vendor to get lost means collectively chucking $10 billion and spending $10 billion for some other proprietary system. Why would they do that, when hone of the available systems are in any way superior in terms of the revenue they will bring to the CATV provider?

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
It's being returned anyway at this point.
That is your right. You couldn't pay me enough to have to deal with the W$%#$^ SA 8300HD, and nothing else on the market provides even a fraction of the features I consider critical in the TiVo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
I don't want to do away with Discovery and several other channels.
I believe you said you were in San Antonio on TWC. If so, that's false. Discovery is available in SD and Discovery HD theater is available in HD on the Series III platform on TWC in San Antonio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
And if I were willing to do that, I would probably be canceling service altogether, as I would be left with primarily locals only anyway (that interest me, at least), and just go over the air.
That's a considerable exaggeration. There are only 6 locals broadcast in HD, but the list of HD channels available to the TiVo is considerably higher than that. Twice as many, in fact:

104 NBC - WOAI HD +
105 CBS-KENS 5 HD +
107 My Network TV - KMYS HD +
108 PBS - KLRN HD +
111 FOX - KABB HD +
112 ABC - KSAT HD +
124 ESPN HD +
127 TNT HD +
130 HD Theater +
160 MOJO (NBA TV HD pre-empted on MOJO) +
162 HDNet +
163 HDNET Movies +
164 Universal HD +
180 HBO HD +
182 Showtime HD +
184 Cinemax HD +
186 The Movie Channel HD +
187 Starz HD +

It's true the number of channels not available to the TiVo is considerably higher, but many of them are semi-duplicates of ones you can receive, and others may not as yet have very much in the way of true HD content on them. Many are not HD at all:

125 ESPN2 HD*
113 TBS HD*
115 The Science Channel HD*
122 NHL HD*
128 A&E HD*
129 The Discovery Channel HD*
134 MHD*
135 CNN HD*
136 The Weather Channel HD*
147 Food Network HD*
149 TLC HD*
154 Fox Business Network HD*
155 Animal Planet HD*
157 National Geographic HD*
166 LMN HD*
167 HGTV HD*
168 Versus/Golf Channel HD*
174 The History Channel HD*
181 HBO West HD*
183 Showtime HD West*
185 Cinemax HD West*
188 Starz West HD*
265 CSTV*
267 Sportsman Channel*
285 MTV Tr3s* (Español)
294 HITN* (Español)
295 EWTN en Español*
296 Toon Disney En Espanol*
315 Starz West*
316 Starz Edge West*
317 Starz InBlack West*
319 Starz Cinema West*
326 HBO West*
327 HBO 2 West*
328 HBO Signature West*
329 HBO Family West*
330 HBO Comedy West*
331 HBO Zone West*
333 HBO Latino West (Español)*
343 ThrillerMAX East*
344 Cinemax West*
345 MoreMAX West*
346 ActionMAX West*
355 Showtime West*
356 Showtime 2 West*
357 Showtime Showcase West*
358 Showtime Extreme West*
359 Showtime Beyond West*
701 TV Japan*
705 SBTN*
711 Zee TV*
712 TV Asia*
715 DEUTSCHE WELLE - TV*
716 DW-One*
720 The Filipino Channel*

But yet again you seem to be missing the point. None of the latter list would be available at all to anyone if it were not for SDV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
"Time Warner San Antonio's Programming for CableCard is outright lousy. The only channels available in HD are TNT, ESPN, Discovery HD Theater, Fox SportsNET, MOJO, and Universal HD... Meaning I'm not getting 19 channels that should be available." No thanks.
I think you miscounted a few on both sides, there. See above. By my count there are 12 linear HD channels in addition to the 6 local HD channels. Many markets do not have 18 total HD channels available, period.

I count at least 22 HD channels not available on the TiVo, but no fewer than 4 of those are merely West Coast schedules of the regular East Coast broadcasts. A DVR makes those rather moot. Of the remaining 18 or so, yes I would very much like to get A&E, Discovery, NGC, Animal Planet, The Science Channel, TLC, History, and maybe TBS in HD, but I do get them in SD, and for the moment that is sufficient, if hardly ideal.

Frankly I can't imagine anyone actually being upset at not being able to view The Weather Channel, CNN, Fox Business Network, and Food TV in HD. Given the quality of most of their video, I can't get all excited over Lifetime or Home & Garden, either.
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:12 PM   #1219
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TV Guide

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Originally Posted by MichaelK View Post
please explain- I have never heard of this.

what standard is being used between the head end the the tv to enable that? Is it an open standard or just something that maybe Mitsu worked out with Moto in private?
Well, since the system I am on is Scientific Atlanta, not Motorola, the latter is extremely unlikely. It's similar to Closed Captioning. The information is carried in the VBI of local broadcasts, usually PBS, but in this case only in digital broadcasts. It is up to the individual CATV provider to decide which of the VBI streams to pass through and which to block, but it requires no new or uncommon equipment. I don't have a CableCard in my TV any longer (they're in the TiVo now), so I can't provide a screen shot. but I assure you it is there and it works. Note the CATV provider is not required to deliver the info, but the technology is available. I tried to find the TV Guide manual on the Mitsubishi website, but they deliver the main TV users manual and the TV Guide users manual separately, and I could not find a copy of the TV Guide manual on the site. The only things I found are very brief references to setting up and using the TV Guide on pages 43, 48, and 60 of this URL.
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:33 PM   #1220
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Originally Posted by mikeyts View Post
When you say "TV Guide data", you're referring to the Gemstar "TV Guide On Screen" stuff? In what fashion do you believe that it uses the CableCARD for this (also, what specific model do you own)? As I said, my Mitsubishi panel is picking that stuff up just fine without a CableCARD.
That may be true. I believe it is true of OTA and it should be true of cable, as well, except that my TV, at least, can't pick up any of the digital channels without CableCard, and can't employ the Guide on analog channels. This may be a design flaw and may have been fixed in later models. Mine was purchased in late 2005. Since I got an S3 in September 2006, I really haven't looked any further into it. The point is, a guide in no way requires 2-way communications. All Satellite receivers, including DirecTiVos, have guides without 2-way interaction.

Edit: Oh, to answer your question, I believe it's a WD-62628. It's not on the front panel, and between my failing eyesight and my physical disabilities, getting the info off the back of the set is far beyond the amount of trouble to which I am willing to go for this purpose.

Last edited by lrhorer : 03-19-2008 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:38 PM   #1221
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My god. It's like trying to argue politics with a sophomore philosophy major. I realize that you're an apologist for the cable companies, but it's getting so ridiculous that it's difficult to maintain my cool while reading your responses, must less coming up with level-headed responses to all the increasingly tangential and mind-boggling assertions. You really want to know if those who bought 8 track players are happy with their purchases?? And that nonsensical response to a challenge to your assertion that it just wasn't possible for CATV industry to figure out a standard that allowed them to invest in open technologies that let them finally shed the whole STB business? Are you drunk?

I will note that in trying to put the best possible face on cable, you're dancing so fine a line between technical and semantical truth that you're occasional stumbling into lies, such as that no SDV channel would be possible without SDV and even worse the bald-faced lie that "SDV is 100% compatible with CableCards, and every single CableCard is compatible with SDV," and into the willfully misleading and stubbornly hard-headed like insisting that Discovery is available via CableCARD--because the old SD channel hasn't been cut off yet, despite it having been made crystal clear that this discussion isn't about SD, but about HD, the entire reason for getting a S3 or HD TiVo rather than just an S2. You're also willing to go so far into hyperboleland that you're insisting that any solution for stranded CableCARD customers would mean instantly dumping every single piece of technology they have now and then acquiring all new technology and having to install it overnight, and that they couldn't possibly have figured out where the industry was going 15 and 20 years ago and choosing to entrench themselves in a superior solution that would've given everyone what you claim they've wanted all along: the providers, the CE manufacturers, and the consumer.

If your vehement assertions are accurate, then the CATV industry (and TWC in particular) have made some really, really dumb decisions along the line, and they apparently do not feel enough pain in the way of STBs, DVRs, regulatory compliance, and angry customers to do anything about it, nor do they apparently feel compelled to demand a better DVR product from their vendor.

EDIT (to cover your most recent reply): No. You're wrong. TWC themselves say you're wrong. Unless you're using their STB, you will not get the program guide, even info on which channel you're tuning to and what is showing at the moment. You can only decrypt the channel itself if all you've got is a CableCARD. So you'll receive the channel, but nothing else. You can pull it from other sources if your equipment can do so (e.g. TiVo pulling it over the net), but any such solution is done separately from TWC's signal being decrypted by the CableCARD.

Last edited by Firekite : 03-19-2008 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 03-20-2008, 12:17 AM   #1222
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from what I understand if the tv station gives them a fiber feed it might come from a place in the chain before the PSIP is added (perhaps to get higher quality to the head end). So in those cases there is no pip "availible" in the stream for the cable people to pass along
It's gotta be far enough along the chain that local ads and programming have been grafted in and the feed has been transcoded down from the typical 45 Mbps that it comes off the network satellite transponder at. (So far as I can tell estimating bit rates from the size of recordings, the local channels that I can pull in at my location are at very, very close to the same rate on cable as they are on the air). In any case, if its not in the version of the stream that they give to the cable providers over fiber, it's coming from somewhere when they put it in their broadcast stream and could be provided to the cable system separately if they wanted to go to the trouble. Again, that word "available" is useless vague.
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Old 03-20-2008, 02:31 AM   #1223
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Apologist

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
My god. It's like trying to argue politics with a sophomore philosophy major. I realize that you're an apologist for the cable companies
I am not an apologist for them. Not to put too fine a point on it, I hate them. I hate their politics, I hate the way they treat their employees, and I hate the fact they seem to be almost completely incapable of telling the truth even at the best of times. I think their services are overpriced and their policies aggravating at best. Their technical support is horrible and their customer service vomitous. These, among other things, were major reasons I left their employ, quite some years ago. Now they are one of my most ardent, as well as sleaziest competitors. None of that, however, eliminates my understanding of the economics, logistics, and engineering of the systems which I helped to evaluate and deploy many years ago and their descendants.

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
You really want to know if those who bought 8 track players are happy with their purchases??
Let me acquaint you with the notion of a rhetorical question. It is asked in order to provoke thoughtful consideration on the part of the individual being asked the question. No, I certainly don't need you to tell me how those people feel. I know all too well from personal experience. The point which you so blithely seem to have missed is once an entity purchases the infrastructure and a significant amount of delivery media for a particular technology, one is stuck with either trying to live with a dead-end technology or spending a tremendous amount of money to obtain replacement infrastructure and media for which they have already paid once. A consumer might possibly go out and re-purchase their entire library on a whim, but a business cannot.

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
And that nonsensical response to a challenge to your assertion that it just wasn't possible for CATV industry to figure out a standard that allowed them to invest in open technologies that let them finally shed the whole STB business? Are you drunk?
1. Drop the sarcastic ad-hominem, and I mean NOW.

2. Please bother to read what I write. Not only did I never say it was impossible for them to figure out a standard, I specifically pointed out on more than one occasion that they DID figure out and publish just such a standard. 'Three fully compatible standards, actually: CableCard 1.0, CableCard 2.0, and Open Cable 2.0, which includes OCAP. The fact the latter two are self-serving and have sections in them politically or economically unacceptable to other parties doesn't mean they did not create them or that they are technologically infeasible or unworkable. They have already done precisely what you say they should do. Could they have done a better job? Perhaps. Should they have accepted compromise solutions to the proposed specifications? In my opinion, surely. That doesn't mean it wasn't created at all, or in fact that the solution is in any way technologically inferior. It isn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
I will note that in trying to put the best possible face on cable
I'm not trying to put any face on cable. They suck big time. It's just they do not suck for any of the reasons you claim. Straw man arguments and false accusations help no one. Criticize them for what they did wrong or didn't do right, not for things beyond their control.

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
you're occasional stumbling into lies, such as that no SDV channel would be possible without SDV
I have posted several thousand words in this thread and others concerning SDV, and I never once made that claim. Quote the sentence where I said that or retract the claim. The closest I came to anything resembling this (and it's not even close) is that none of the 50 or so new regular schedule SDV channels could be delivered if not for SDV. I didn't mention the 300 or so On Demand and IPPV channels, but it applies to them, as well.

I will allow, however, that you might have been confused by statements which require more than a superficial understanding of general logistics to be able to verify, so I will rephrase:

None of the 50 plus new regular schedule offerings and several hundred VOD and IPPV channels (including more than 2 dozen HD offerings) could have been added without deploying SDV unless a similar number of linear channels or a large fractional number of analog channels were removed. 'Better?

I'll quantify it for you even more: The existing CATV plant in San Antonio has an upper limit of 750MHz on the distribution side. The lower 547MHz of that spectrum are being used by analog channels, FM radio, upstream communications, etc. That leaves 203MHz or room for 33 QAMs. If we arbitrarily divide each QAM into 24 slices, then the most common rate shaping requires 2 slices for each SD channel and 11 slices for each HD channel. That's a total of 66 HD channels and 33 SD channels, or a compromise offering 5.5 additional SD channels for each HD channel removed. VOD is essentially impossible without SDV, and the number of IPPV channels would have to be severely limited.

So you tell me (and don't dodge the questions), after we eliminate SDV we only have room for perhaps 50 HD channels and 210 SD channels, with no VOD or Video rewind. What do you eliminate that will please not only you but also the other 300,000 subscribers? Why should they lose their VOD and Video Rewind features just to make you happy? How much extra are you willing to pay for your service to make up for all the lost IPPV revenue and customers lost to Satellite services because cable can't offer as many HD channels?

With SDV, the cable company can ultimatley offer hundreds of HD channels and possibly thousands of SD channels, each potentially bearing revenue. Why should they give that up to make you (the TiVo owner) happy, when it doesn't do anything to make anyone else happy?

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
and even worse the bald-faced lie that "SDV is 100% compatible with CableCards, and every single CableCard is compatible with SDV,"
Not only is it not a bald faced lie, it is 100% accurate, under severe penalty of law should any device not conform to the spec. You think it's wrong? Please provide the make and model number of any CableCard which cannot be used with any CableCard compliant system, system bugs aside. Or the flip-side, name any SDV system which is incompatible with CableCard specs. There aren't any. (Here's a clue: there are only three of them.) No Cablecard would ever be approved by CableLabs unless it met their specifications for CC 1.0 or CC 2.0, which again by law requires the devices to work with any and every digital host and every digital transport system in the United States except a very tiny number of small grandfathered systems. That includes all SDV systems.

How many times must I repeat this?

It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.
It is the host which is or is not incompatible with SDV, not the CableCards.

Is that enough? Exactly what do you not understand about the fact all CableCards are 100% compatible with SDV systems? Do I need to repeat the above another 100 times before it sinks in? Exactly what do you not understand about the fact SDV is expressly a 2-way protocol fully compliant with CC1.0 and CC 2.0, and while every CableCard is 100% compatible with SDV, no unidirectional host is compatible with SDV? That includes the TiVo. That does not include the CATV provider's STBs and DVRs, which use precisely the same CableCards your TiVo does. It would not include any device made by any manufacturer which was compatible with the local 2-way protocols, but outside the CATV equipment manufacturers, none such exist.

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
despite it having been made crystal clear that this discussion isn't about SD, but about HD
Fine, consider it a nit-pick if you like, but your statemement - both in and out of context - made it sound like we could not receive the Discovery Channel at all.

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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
the entire reason for getting a S3 or HD TiVo rather than just an S2.
That might be your entire reason. It most certainly was not mine. My list is extremely long, and while CableCard support is definitely on the list, I waited patiently for nearly 5 years for TiVo to come out with an acceptable upgrade to the Series I. The Series II did not qualify, by a long shot. (And I suppose the fact an S2 sooner probably rather than later isn't going to be able to receive anything at all is not a good reason to decide against one?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
You're also willing to go so far into hyperboleland that you're insisting that any solution for stranded CableCARD customers would mean instantly dumping every single piece of technology they have now and then acquiring all new technology
Don't be silly. Unlike you, I have been through quite a large number of staged technology rollouts in a CATV system, so I know precisely what is involved. This one, however, would be unusually painful and eqpensive. The moment any single QAM in the network is converted from, say, Motorola SDV to BigBand SDV management, that QAM becomes unuseable for every user in the city. To most intents and purposes, jumping from Scientific Atlanta to Motorola means all 200 or so QAM modulators (at something over $85,000 each) must be replaced in very short order, and every STB and DVR must be replaced as well.

Nor did I suggest there is only one solution. There are lots of possible solutions, but none of them are good and none of them are going to be liked by everyone in the mix. The best solution is a unified standard for all bidiectional hosts, and that does indeed mean most CATV providers would have to replace or retrofit all their SDV equipment. The only ones who would not, if any, would be those whose plant employs the system chosen to be the standard.

For that matter, the system we have right now works, it just means no 3rd party solution can be delivered which works fully with every CATV system. Neither consumers nor 3rd party manufacturers are going to want to deal with purchased devices which only work on a fraction of all systems.

You seem to be unwilling to get this fact through your head. A Scientific Atlanta STB / DVR will not work with a Motorola headend, and vice versa. There is no STB or DVR currently available to any CATV provider which will work with some other manufacturer's equipment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
where the industry was going 15 and 20 years ago and choosing to entrench themselves in a superior solution
Read my lips: There was no such solution at that time. There still is no such solution at this time. No one can buy something which doesn't exist. No one can install something which hasn't even been engineered, yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
given everyone what you claim they've wanted all along: the providers, the CE manufacturers, and the consumer.
Wanting something doesn't mean one can go buy it off a shelf. Wishing a manufacturer would produce a product does not make it profitable for them to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
If your vehement assertions are accurate, then the CATV industry (and TWC in particular) have made some really, really dumb decisions along the line
I thought you said I was a CATV apologist? That is precisely what happened, although limiting it to TWC isn't fair, because they haven't made any particularly different decisions than anyone else. Also, "intransigent" and "thoughtlessly intractable" might be better terms than "dumb". Also, the CATV industry wasn't the only one who made ultimately detrimental decisions, although I wouldn't argue if you wanted to say theirs were the worst. The only candidate in my mind for a worse decisions was the FCC who decided again and again to do nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
and they apparently do not feel enough pain in the way of STBs, DVRs, regulatory compliance, and angry customers to do anything about it
There are almost surely fewer than 5000 Series III / TiVo HD customers in San Antonio, possibly fewer than 2000. Yet there are more than 300,000 customers, total. That means that more than 295,000 customers couldn't care less about this issue, but given TWCs record, I'm willing to bet over 100,000 have some other gripe. Which group should be allocated the most resources?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
nor do they apparently feel compelled to demand a better DVR product from their vendor.
Once again, you're wrong, at least in the case of Scientific Atlanta DVRs. The number of complaints about the 8300HD is record setting, and SA (Cisco) did procure new software for the 8300. It's called Passport Echo, and it's been deployed in a number of systems around the country. The catch is the SA 8300 comes with SARA software, not Passport Echo. The CATV company has to pay extra - quite a bit extra I'm given to understand - for the Passport software. I don't know whether TWC has decided corporate wide not to purchase the Passport software or if it has left the decision to the local company, but San Antonio and Austin, at least, are not getting the Passport software. Although still not a TiVo by a very long shot, the Passport software is reportedly vastly better than SARA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
EDIT (to cover your most recent reply): No. You're wrong. TWC themselves say you're wrong. Unless you're using their STB, you will not get the program guide, even info on which channel you're tuning to and what is showing at the moment.
OK, we're talking at cross purposes on this one, and perhaps that's my fault. The exact same interactive guide provided with the SA boxes is not available. Channel 77 (non-interactive) is, and other interactive guides such as the TV Guide on my Mitsibishi are. Since all grid guides are worse than useless, I don't consider it an important point, however.

Oh, and BTW, the odds any information you get out of TWC is accurate are vanishingly small. The number of people there who habitually lie continuously is only exceed by those who haven't a clue about what they are speaking. This whether the statements are verbal or in print. Those who don't lie and do know their business are extremely difficult to find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
You can only decrypt the channel itself if all you've got is a CableCARD. So you'll receive the channel, but nothing else. You can pull it from other sources if your equipment can do so (e.g. TiVo pulling it over the net), but any such solution is done separately from TWC's signal being decrypted by the CableCARD.
Nope, you're wrong, or half wrong. The CableCard decrypts the steam - all of it. What the receiver can do with that stream depends on what is in the stream and of what the receiver is capable. The TV Guide Interactive Program Guide available on some TVs performs the exact same functions as that of the SA STBs. Note the CableCards in the SA STBs don't provide the guide, either. They just descrypt the stream which is used by the box to create the Onscreen Guide. The SA boxes are able to do so only because they are compatible with the SA gear in the headend. Unless they've changed the protocol lately, however, it's not an SDV protocol. Whether the PBS signal carrying the guide is technically "TWC's signal being decrypted by the CableCARD" or not is some pretty fine hair splitting, if you ask me, but OK, if you insist, I'll agree it is being "pulled from other sources".

'Truth be told, since I never use any onscreen guide of any sort, I really couldn't care less about this particular issue.

Last edited by lrhorer : 03-20-2008 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 03-20-2008, 01:10 PM   #1224
Firekite
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
None of that, however, eliminates my understanding of the economics, logistics, and engineering of the systems which I helped to evaluate and deploy many years ago and their descendants.
Thank you for the additional information, as it helps put some much-needed perspective on your posts and affects the tone in which they're read (at least for me). I think in the end we simply disagree about the economics and logistics involved.

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The point which you so blithely seem to have missed is once an entity purchases the infrastructure and a significant amount of delivery media for a particular technology, one is stuck with either trying to live with a dead-end technology or spending a tremendous amount of money to obtain replacement infrastructure and media for which they have already paid once.
I'm well aware of the point you were attempting to make, however badly. I'm pretty sure everything's moving to Blu-ray now that HD-DVD is dead, and yet it doesn't look like Warner's going bankrupt for betting on the wrong horse, to use one of your examples. Regardless, one isn't stuck if one's only buried up to one's ankles. That seems an odd time to dig furiously so that you can be in totally over your head, and you seem to be drawing a false dichotomy between bending over for your vendor, to whom you've sold your soul, while thanking them for it and the polar opposite of severing all contact with them and heading in an entirely new direction. There are options in the middle, not the least of which is what some people call "migration."

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1. Drop the sarcastic ad-hominem, and I mean NOW.
Are you really convinced that's the best approach, exaggerating (if not outright mislabeling) an alleged offense and then ordering the alleged offender to do your bidding, as though you had the authority to do so?

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2. Please bother to read what I write. Not only did I never say it was impossible for them to figure out a standard, I specifically pointed out on more than one occasion that they DID figure out and publish just such a standard. 'Three fully compatible standards, actually: CableCard 1.0, CableCard 2.0, and Open Cable 2.0, which includes OCAP. The fact the latter two are self-serving and have sections in them politically or economically unacceptable to other parties doesn't mean they did not create them or that they are technologically infeasible or unworkable. They have already done precisely what you say they should do.
I have bothered to read what you write. The problem is with what you write. See, that's a great example of my problem in attempting to discuss any of this with you: you're attempting to take any statement with a child-like literalism that's truly frustrating. First with things like the insistence that I would not be locked out of Discovery by pretending not to know we're talking about HD in the S3 forum and listing off an SD channel and a separate HD Theater channel, and now this. Yes, they technically came up with a standard, but they did so without taking into account consumers or CE manufacturers. Even you admit that it was a thoroughly self-serving standard that is politically or economically unacceptable to everyone else. By the way, that necessarily makes them "unworkable." They didn't come up with a real, workable open standard that worked for everyone, which you know damn well is what we're talking about. You also tip your hand to your mindset when you make statements like the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
At this point by definition any new system is proprietary.

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I'm not trying to put any face on cable. They suck big time. It's just they do not suck for any of the reasons you claim. Straw man arguments and false accusations help no one. Criticize them for what they did wrong or didn't do right, not for things beyond their control.
After all that, even after all your admissions regarding the things entirely within their control that they did wrong, you're insisting that...they did them right and that they were also out of their control? That doesn't make sense.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
you're occasional stumbling into lies, such as that no SDV channel would be possible without SDV
I have posted several thousand words in this thread and others concerning SDV, and I never once made that claim. Quote the sentence where I said that or retract the claim.
Here are two:
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
None of the latter list would be available at all to anyone if it were not for SDV.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
none of the 50 or so new regular schedule SDV channels could be delivered if not for SDV.
Moving on...

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That leaves 203MHz or room for 33 QAMs. If we arbitrarily divide each QAM into 24 slices, then the most common rate shaping requires 2 slices for each SD channel and 11 slices for each HD channel. That's a total of 66 HD channels and 33 SD channels, or a compromise offering 5.5 additional SD channels for each HD channel removed.
I'll just give you the benefit of the doubt that your arbitrary number is the optimal number and point out that I really don't see how this makes delivery of additional HD content impossible without SDV. It especially wilts when held up to the fact that there are only a (relative) handful of markets using SDV in the first place, and somehow the rest of the markets are delivering the content without SDV. Perhaps it's magic, a supernatural achievement by the Wizard of Cabletron that allows Dicovery Channel HD to be delivered without putting in this brand-new SDV system.

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So you tell me (and don't dodge the questions), after we eliminate SDV we only have room for perhaps 50 HD channels and 210 SD channels, with no VOD or Video rewind.
You wouldn't necessarily have to eliminate SDV if you really wanted to deliver obscure, nearly-no-demand, special-interest channels like all the 700's you listed, there (The Filipino Channel and such). I'm not sure I would consider the Discovery Channel, History Channel, ESPN2, and others to be obscure, special-interest channels. My problem isn't strictly that SDV exists. My problem is two-fold: 1) that no open, workable industry standard was developed to allow 3rd parties to make use of this allegedly panacean solution that is the only possible solution in existence, and 2) their choices regarding which channels are moved to SDV. There are only 40 HD channels available today, and that includes each and every HD channel regardless of their SDV status, including the fairly useless ones and the premium-only channels you have to explicitly pay for individually like Cinemax and Starz. I have no problem with VOD, IPPV, or other such specialty services being on SDV. Frankly, if we assume that every single other variable in the equation is some sort of cosmically immovable object, then SDV in that case makes sense. It would've been much better if a proper open standard were available to allow 3rd party hardware to make such services available to consumers, but that's very low down on the priority list. With TiVo, for instance, VOD goes from being a slow but interesting idea to a novelty accessory at best. But I don't think people would be so upset if PPV events required a cable box. No, they could easily arrange things such that all subscribers would be served satisfactorily while not actively forcing everyone to use their own proprietary hardware.

And you continue to insist on false dichotomies wallowing in hyperbole, that the only option is to either have things arranged exactly as-is or eliminate SDV altogether along with VOD and IPPV. Why do you do this?

To use your own numbers and assertions and assuming they're correct, 50 HD channels and 210 SD channels all without SDV should be enough to please nearly every single customer they have. Everything else (music channels, VOD, IPPV, truly obscure channels) can ride the SDV wave as much as they'd like. Personally, I'd like to see a much heavier emphasis on HD than SD, and I truly doubt I'm the lone exception on my local node. As was pointed out by MichaelK, demand for HD is not some fringe thing.

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How many times must I repeat this?
As many as it takes until you realize you're wrong. The situation is that no 3rd party CableCARD device, whether my TV or TiVo or anything else, can receive SDV channels. One day this may be remedied, but no such remedy exists today.

Quote:
Exactly what do you not understand about the fact all CableCards are 100% compatible with SDV systems? Do I need to repeat the above another 100 times before it sinks in? Exactly what do you not understand about the fact SDV is expressly a 2-way protocol fully compliant with CC1.0 and CC 2.0, and while every CableCard is 100% compatible with SDV, no unidirectional host is compatible with SDV?
This is getting so ridiculous that I'm having a hard time believing you're not winding me up. You're now building an argument of semantics on the foundation of your aforementioned child-like literalism. The introduction of SDV broke cable systems' compatibility with unidirectional hosts. SDV is incompatible with unidirectional hosts, meaning any and all CableCARD devices in San Antonio that aren't the exclusive proprietary systems owned and leased to customers by TWC. No semantics game you try to play can change that fact. It is my fervent hope that since my area has now moved to SDV, a workable two-way, SDV-capable solution such as the mythical USB dongle will be made available, even though that will still only work with a relative handful of existing devices. Until such time as that happens, any non-TW CableCARD device continues to be hamstringed by SDV.

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Fine, consider it a nit-pick if you like, but your statemement - both in and out of context - made it sound like we could not receive the Discovery Channel at all.
I could maybe, MAYBE accept that from you the first time around, that you simply weren't thinking and therefore failed to grasp the deep and difficult meaning of my labyrinthine words. But even after it was made clear to you, you continued to insist on feigning ignorance.

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That might be your entire reason. It most certainly was not mine.
OK, I'm willing to grant that you might be an exception. But when people walk into Circuit City or whatever and decide which TiVo to get, they can either pay little to nothing (after rebates) for an SD-only Series2 or pay vastly more for a Series3 (perhaps with the additional option of still significantly more for a TiVo HD). If they want HD, they have no choice in the matter. They must choose a TiVo Series3 HDTV DVR, which is the topic of this section of the forum where this discussion is taking place. If they don't care about HD, there's no compelling reason to spend so much on the newer version. If someone takes their viewing so seriously and has the money and the want-to to pay for a Series3, I can't imagine that they wouldn't be hooking it up to an HDTV, that they're going to be buying it for an old SD unit. Like I said, you may be an exception, but perhaps taking some of your own advice regarding assuming you are the typical case is a good idea, here.

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Don't be silly.
I'm trying desperately not to be. It's hard, however, when you say things like, "Telling their specific vendor to get lost means collectively chucking $10 billion and spending $10 billion for some other proprietary system."

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The moment any single QAM in the network is converted from, say, Motorola SDV to BigBand SDV management, that QAM becomes unuseable for every user in the city.
Yet more of your deliberately misleading if technically correct statements: every user in the city is NOT served by a single QAM. Additionally, I'm fairly certain your TiVo boxes will still somehow magically not become unusuable. The latter point means your hyperbole is incorrect, and the former means that there's migration is not only possible but very likely preferable.

Quote:
To most intents and purposes, jumping from Scientific Atlanta to Motorola means all 200 or so QAM modulators (at something over $85,000 each) must be replaced in very short order, and every STB and DVR must be replaced as well.
By the way, 200 times $85,000 equals $17,000,000, not $10,000,000,000. I'm doubting the replacement of every single STB and DVR would come out to the remaining $9.98 billion. And even then your argument is based on moving from one proprietary system to another rather than to an open system.

Quote:
The best solution is a unified standard for all bidiectional hosts, and that does indeed mean most CATV providers would have to replace or retrofit all their SDV equipment.
Thank you for admitting that.

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For that matter, the system we have right now works, it just means no 3rd party solution can be delivered which works fully with every CATV system. Neither consumers nor 3rd party manufacturers are going to want to deal with purchased devices which only work on a fraction of all systems.
It's interesting how you'll make a statement and then nearly completely contradict it in the same sentence. And you're right in that last sentence, which is the whole freaking problem, our being forcefully required to use only with TWC hardware.

Quote:
There is no STB or DVR currently available to any CATV provider which will work with some other manufacturer's equipment.
... What about the Pace and Panasonic boxes, to name just a couple? You'll go so far into the gray-lie zone that it's starting to look inky.

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Read my lips: There was no such solution at that time. There still is no such solution at this time.
Yes, because they neglected to come up with one. And for god's sake leave your lips out of this.

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I thought you said I was a CATV apologist?
And yet your pro-CATV arguments still can't manage to keep them from looking terrifically stupid.

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There are almost surely fewer than 5000 Series III / TiVo HD customers in San Antonio, possibly fewer than 2000. Yet there are more than 300,000 customers, total. That means that more than 295,000 customers couldn't care less about this issue, but given TWCs record, I'm willing to bet over 100,000 have some other gripe. Which group should be allocated the most resources?
OK, on this one I'm curious as to whether you're truly taking this stand or playing the role of a TWC marketing exec, the Director of Spin, hoping desperately that the person you're talking to is your average consumer who you can confuse and befuddle. I AM ONE OF THOSE THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TWC CUSTOMERS. I DO NOT HAVE A SERIES3 TIVO. WHY? BECAUSE TWC MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BE BOTH WITHOUT GIVING UP A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THE SERVICE YOU PAY FOR. Your entirely random number of 5,000 based on pure and utter out-of-the-air speculation is not only very likely incorrect, but it's also meaningless in the context of your argument. TiVo customers in San Antonio aren't the only ones who couldn't care less. Rather, they're the only ones who care so much, who are so hardcore that they're willing to take it in the rear from TWC in order to keep their TiVo. To say that anyone who isn't that hardcore necessarily "couldn't care less" is a falsehood, whether a deliberate lie or an honest mistake due to some mixture of being so biased and so thoughtless that such a thing didn't occur to you. If you were to present the Series3 and HD TiVos alongside whichever TWC DVR they're using currently, I would be shocked if over 98.3% of them would choose the SA DVR over the TiVo as you claim they would.

Quote:
Once again, you're wrong, at least in the case of Scientific Atlanta DVRs. ... The CATV company has to pay extra - quite a bit extra I'm given to understand - for the Passport software.
So they're not demanding a better product. They accepted utter crap and they're now accepting paying "quite a bit extra" for a proper product. Doesn't sound like they're demanding anything, actually, and as you point out it's a moot point in San Antonio because they're not doing it at all.

Quote:
Nope, you're wrong, or half wrong. ... The TV Guide Interactive Program Guide available on some TVs performs the exact same functions as that of the SA STBs.
But it's not that of the SA STBs. Like I said, if any such solution exists, it's from an entirely separate source.

Quote:
Whether the PBS signal carrying the guide is technically "TWC's signal being decrypted by the CableCARD" or not is some pretty fine hair splitting, if you ask me, but OK, if you insist, I'll agree it is being "pulled from other sources".
I disagree with your assertion on the "hair splitting," but it's pretty tangential to the argument and not the real issue at hand, so I don't really consider all that big a deal. If you hadn't brought it up and insisted to the contrary, I wouldn't have even bothered with it.

Quote:
Truth be told, since I never use any onscreen guide of any sort, I really couldn't care less about this particular issue.
You don't? Really? Not even with your TiVo? I wasn't even aware you could avoid it.

Last edited by Firekite : 03-20-2008 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:49 PM   #1225
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It sounds to me like one of you is describing the ideal end state, while the other is trying to explain the complexity and costs (orders of magnitude) of getting there from where we are today.

Even a startup company that has the opportunity to select industry-standard, state-of-the-art transport media and terminating equipment will at some point be saddled with OLD technology, since the end-state goals and supporting evolving technologies are both moving at a very fast pace.

Owners of existing plant are always looking for cost-effective ways to stay competitive and profitable while keeping their mainstream customers (who generate the greatest amount of revenue) happy enough to not leave.

Billions of dollars of sunk investment in geographically-specific plant must be considered in any strategy to leap forward from present capabilities to a next-generation set that satisfies owners/investors and customers. Owning and operating fixed plant to deliver services is VERY different from manufacturing and distributing widgets to be sold outright. Sure there is after-sale support, but that is not a ball and chain that prevents rapid introduction of newer, better widgets. There may be some retooling needed in the manufacturing facility, but, IMHO, that investment hardly begins to compare to multiple instances of plant placed over hundreds of square miles as needed to deliver to every passed home.

I don't see how the two of you could ever agree, considering you're looking from very different perspectives.
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:55 AM   #1226
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It's not a question of being saddled with old technology. SDV is new. It's a question of choosing the wrong technology due to shortsightedness, greed, obstinacy, and just plain poor business dealings, failures that continue through today and will doubtlessly endure through tomorrow. I'm condemning the CATV providers (specifically TWC in San Antonio) for this, and lrhorer is arguing that the failures I'm pointing out are not actually failures, that they do not suck for the reasons I'm saying they suck. And in defending these companies he himself allegedly dislikes and disrespects, he goes so far as to draw ridiculous false dichotomies, straw men, fling red herring all over the room, all while prone to hyperbole, being willfully misleading, and being deliberately obtuse and hyper-literal as though context and reading comprehension were unknown to him, which they surely are not.

It's not just a question of different perspectives.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:25 PM   #1227
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Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
It's not a question of being saddled with old technology. SDV is new. It's a question of choosing the wrong technology due to shortsightedness, greed, obstinacy, and just plain poor business dealings
Spoken like a great armchair quarterback who is responsible to no one. I'm sure your cable company would have done much better making decisions over the last 30 years. Oh, I guess we'll never know.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:59 PM   #1228
Firekite
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No, we won't. What a pointless post you've made.

It does kind of amuse me, though, that there are still people who insist that no person or business is open to criticism from objective observers unless those observers have personally done a better job in the past. If you're painfully aware of a band's poorly executed, formulaic music, you must be a better and more accomplished musician yourself to have an opinion (or ears, apparently). If you see a pretty poor painting, you have to have had a string of successful gallery openings to comment. If you see a poorly run business, you have to have made the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine to recognize it as such--while others on the internet who know nothing about you make ridiculous assertions that unless you've run a CATV provider business 30 years ago you cannot comment on the wisdom and effectiveness of their choices. I forget...what's the Latin name for this fallacy, again?
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:28 PM   #1229
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OK, since you are being objective (with terms such as shortsightedness, greed, obstinacy, and just plain poor business dealings) could you please tell me what you would have changed in the MSOs buildout and what that change would have cost the shareholders of the company. What kills me is people tossing around inflammatory terms judging companies business decisions when they have none of the pressures of delivering value to shareholders. Tell me again what they did wrong and what you would have done different to increase shareholder value.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:45 PM   #1230
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WOW I came here to get info on SDV.
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