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Old 04-10-2008, 10:10 AM   #1381
MichaelK
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Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
There's a difference between a linear channel and a scheduled program. A linear channel is broadcast to every subscriber. Hypothetically, it could even be a VOD channel, but putting VOD content on linear channels would be hideously inefficient. A scheduled program, however, can still be broadcast on SDV QAMs, and in fact on an average CATV system any time a channel represents less than a 5% or so share of the total viewing public during any significant period of time, moving that channel from a liner QAM to an SDV QAM makes sense. Once that is done (or even without it), there's no reason not to offer the content as VOD for those who get stuck on the freeway and are 10 minutes late, or just want to step away from the TV for a few minutes.

My original statement was the norm would be VOD. That means something around half the streams going out to the nodes would be initiated by direct consumer requests rather than by scheduled broadcasting. 'Call it maybe 100 scheduled HD programs and 300 scheduled SD programs sent to the entire city and 100 HD programs and 300 SD programs not scheduled to each node. City wide, that would make perhaps 1000 or so HD programs and 3000 or so SD programs at any one time, from a pool of many thousands.

Right now, in San Antonio, at this very moment, the SDV sub has a pool of well over 1000 programs from which to choose, since every program currently being offfered on any of the 50 or so premium channels is available as VOD. The number of pay-per-view offerings ia also quite large.

Oh- I see your point now- I thought by linear you meant scheduled.

Iíd agree in 10 years there may be a tiny handful of always on channels and the rest will be streamed on demand or vod or sdv- whatever they are calling it at that moment.

I am not intimately away- but isnít that what attís uverse already does even- streams only the channel you want at that moment?
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:14 PM   #1382
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It's still fascinating to me that people--on a TiVo forum no less--seem to have such a hard-on for VOD. ... or am on a date
When your date mentions a show youīve never heard of that sheīd really like to watch with you back at your place ...
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:36 PM   #1383
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MichaelK --

FCC 98-116, the FCC Report and Order that you quoted above, doesn't seem to be on your point. What it "ordered" was the inclusion of a new Subpart P of Code of Federal Regulation Title 47, Part 76--it ordered that in July of 1998 (with signficant amendments made to it since), just before ATSC broadcasting began in the United States and 5 years before FCC 03-225 was issued, which ordered the inclusion of modifications to the regulations codifying the plug-and-play-DTV-over-cable scheme. Note that only the stuff in Appendix A of FCC 98-116 are regulations--the rest of it is just discussion of the situation and their justification for making those new rules in Appendix A. The regulations can't be all fluffy and conceptual, like the report part--regulations have to state, as precisely as possible, exactly what they require companies to whom the regulations apply to do, with references to applicable standards documentation that go into excrutiating detail. (Often the regulations aren't nearly precise enough ).

CFR Title 47, Part 76, Subpart P mostly seems concerned with keeping the cable providers from interfering with the sale of navigation devices at retail, and insuring that they deliver details of their interface to people interested in developing such as requested. It also re-iterates that they must make "equipment that incorporates only the conditional access functions" (i.e., CableCARDs) available to subs and that, after 1 July 2007, they must not obtain new devices for sale or lease which integrate conditional access (one of the recent amendments). Except for that last bit, it has nothing much to do specifically with plug-and-play-DTV-over-cable.

Cable (in the form of the NCTA) and the CE OEMs (as represented by the CEA) are fighting for/against <tru2way> and/or DCR+ both on the basis of costs. As stated, the CE OEMs basically can't implement <tru2way> in their low-end products; cable doesn't want to implement DCR+ because it will cost them a very large amount of money (quite likely much more than it will cost the CE OEMs) without giving them any further opportunities to profit. They've already spent a major fortune on the development of the elements of <tru2way>; moreover they did it awfully publicly and while the CE OEMs watched and did not submit their complaint to the FCC begging for a cheaper alternative until recently. That complaint made only one inarguable point--it is unreasonable to require implementation of <tru2way> just to support access to SDV channels. Cable has solved that problem with the Tuning Adapter, however Rube-Goldberg-esque the solution may be .

I truly believe that, if the FCC were to order the cable industry to work on DCR+, they would drop the Tuning Adapter, since no OEM would then design low-end devices which would use it and the only beneficiaries of their buying and stocking them would be a couple hundred thousand CableCARD-using TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD users nationwide--far too little bang for the required effort and expense.

I hate coming down on the side of the cable providers--as hookbill suggests, I like to try to think of them as a groups of terrorists . However, in this particularly case I think that their side is also the side of TiVo S3/HD owners.
I thought after I posted-

You asked specifically what the regs./laws say aboiut the issue- and I didnít answer with any of those.

SO yep- you are right there are no current regs that govern the mess Ė itís just a bunch of half way regs that donít really help get anything done. (and thatís the problem in my head).

But my point about the report and order is it shows the intent of the FCC (at least the fcc as it existed in 1996-98 timeframe- probably totally different people now) and also their understanding of the point of the law. It seems clear to me from reading that- that the point of the law and the fcc (at least those in power in 1996-98) has completely not come to pass. Seems they wanted 3rd party devices readily available, they wanted them fast (I think someplace they even mention expecting them in retail for Christmas 2000 or 2001), they wanted 2-way devices that could do ppv, get guide data, etc some time after that- and seems to me they didnít expect it 10 years later. That they didnít expect the 3rd party devices to be missing things that cable company boxes get.

So true none of the regs reflect any of that intent, but it seems from that report and its references to the conference report in congress that what we have today wasnít what they expected.. Iy looks to me like the regs went terribly awry

Anyway- all that said- I totally agree- if dcr+ got mandated it will make a mess. Cable just might as a whole abandon the dongle for the couple hundred thousand tivoís out there that would benefit (maybe if some big companyís already had it ready before DCR+ got mandated they would make them available for political reasons but probably you couldnít get everyone to agree anymore.). I assume they are too far down the OCAP/True2way road to bail ont hat- so in the end they would wind up with both systems I guess and tivo could build a tivo series 4 or 5 for either one.

But thereís a cbunch of issues rolled up here: What do I want to get my tivo S3ís to work, whatís right, what is isnít damaging to any of the players, etc. Taking my personal motivation to keep my S3ís working aside- Iím not sure that DCR+ is so bad as a whole for an end game. My own opinion is there needs to be some standard that everyone can live with- that such a thing would be best in the end for cable, CE, and consumers. Obvioulsy others feel differently. Maybe DCR+ is that end pointÖ.
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:51 PM   #1384
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It's still fascinating to me that people--on a TiVo forum no less--seem to have such a hard-on for VOD. Personally it doesn't bother me that it exists, but it's irrelevant to me because I have a DVR.
We have a Tivo (actually we have three... two Tivo HDs and a Tivo DT); however, we also keep a cable box solely for VOD. Why? Because we also have a five year old whose tv viewing habits are much more varied than either my wife's or mine. My wife and I both have a very limited amount of viewing time available. There are probably five or six shows that each of us want to watch regulalry (for me PTI, the Office, Ghost Hunters, UFO Hunters, and John Adams) as well as the occasional special (most of which come from the History Channel, Discover, or Nat Geo for me) and some live programming (football, some bball, news). That's it; I have a hard time squeezing those in at a couple of hours per day max. My wife is the same way (although her selections lean more towards reality programming), as are most of our friends. However to my daughter, the TV offers endless possibilities. Today she wants Sesame Street, tomorrow Calliou, the next day Berenstein Bears. After that who knows maybe Pinky Dinky Do, maybe Dragon Tales. We limit her tv watching time pretty significantly, so when she does get to watch, she likes variety. VOD is the most efficient way to offer that kind of viewing. I would venture that many other parents feel the same.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:02 PM   #1385
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MichaelK --

On the one hand I do agree with the CEA that DCR+ would be nice to have. On the other hand, <tru2way>/OCAP holds quite a bit of promise as well (in principal, though I still have problems apps much beyond IPG, IPPV, VOD and some trivial games). If the CEA gets DCR+ in the near term, I'd guess half the major manufacturers will never bother to make <tru2way> compliant products. (There's a small group of CEA members--including Samsung and TiVo--who are supporters of <tru2way>, so it wouldn't die completely, but the cable providers would like for it to be as ubiquitous as possible). The fact is that the Tuning Adapter addresses the most pressing need--providing a mechanism for low-end TV products to access SDV. The Tuning Adapter could evolve into essentially DCR+ in the future in a straight-forward fashion. Until it does, people can use leased cable boxes with their inexpensive televisions, if they want to view IPPV and VOD content on them.
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I assume they are too far down the OCAP/True2way road to bail ont hat-
A small and unimportant nit--"<tru2way>" is a registered trademark of CableLabs. There is no "e" in the spelling and they'd prefer that you use all lowercase and that it be encased in "angle-brackets" where possible (I guess that it graphically suggests the bidirectional nature of the set of the technology); they insist on the angle-brackets when used as a logo on compliant products. You can see the guidelines for its use at www.tru2way.com.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:29 PM   #1386
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On the one hand I do agree with the CEA that DCR+ would be nice to have. On the other hand, <tru2way>/OCAP holds quite a bit of promise as well (in principal, though I still have problems apps much beyond IPG, IPPV, VOD and some trivial games). If the CEA gets DCR+ in the near term, I'd guess half the major manufacturers will never bother to make <tru2way> compliant products.
But that's not a prospect worth considering. Maybe I'm too easily persuaded, but I found the NCTA's critique of DCR+ to be pretty convincing. It comes across as an unrealistic and half-baked proposal that would take a long time to design and implement. So even if the FCC were to order DCR+ in the near term, it would likely be years before it's actually rolled out.

In the meantime, OCAP is coming, regardless of what the FCC decides, and I think you're right that it holds a lot of promise. It's far from perfect, but the opportunity for an ideal solution was lost a decade ago. The fact that TiVo feels that OCAP is viable reassures me -- mainly, it reassures me that the NCTA is willing to work with CE manufacturers to address their concerns. I think OCAP will evolve over time, and it can be made to work.

All of this makes me think the FCC should just stay out of it. They've done precious little in a decade, and yet a solution (imperfect, but a solution) is coming anyway, voluntarily developed by the NCTA and some CE manufacturers. It's hard to imagine anything the FCC could do that would not make matters worse rather than better.
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:04 PM   #1387
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All of this makes me think the FCC should just stay out of it. They've done precious little in a decade, and yet a solution (imperfect, but a solution) is coming anyway, voluntarily developed by the NCTA and some CE manufacturers. It's hard to imagine anything the FCC could do that would not make matters worse rather than better.
The fact that that solution was only revealed some 9 months after the CEA filed their DCR+ proposal makes me suspect that it was only created in response to the threat of DCR+. I am grateful for it, though .
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:31 PM   #1388
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the average user does not own a TiVo, and most sets out there do not have DVRs of any sort attached to them.
Source? I want to know what percentage of digital cable subscribers with VOD access have (or don't have) a DVR. You seem confident in your numbers, so by all means, let's have them.

Quote:
Obviously, no consumer would ever want to buy a video recorder, right?
:eyebrow:

Yes, that's a perfect set of analogies... Regardless, like I said, I have no problem that it exists, but several people here, lead primarily by you, seem to be arguing the CATV providers' stance with VOD pretty much the only card to play and acting like it's a trump card. I've said it before, but VOD is nice and all but is not justification for breaking functionality with any 3rd party CableCARD host such as your TiVOs.


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When your date mentions a show you´ve never heard of that she´d really like to watch with you back at your place ...
Heh, nice. That's never come up, but it would be handy if it did. Like I said, I have no problem that it exists, but rather that it's being put on some sort of holy pedestal by the likes of horer.
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:17 PM   #1389
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Heh, nice. That's never come up, but it would be handy if it did. Like I said, I have no problem that it exists, but rather that it's being put on some sort of holy pedestal by the likes of horer.
Its going to be quite a phenomenal time in the next short number of years making all this available along with DVR use.
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:20 PM   #1390
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I didn´t think that the OCAP issues were really hardware in the long run, but interface issues. TiVo broke with CE to broker a compromise deal they seem satisfied with.

My guess is that put the nail in the coffin of the CE proposal.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:07 PM   #1391
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I didnīt think that the OCAP issues were really hardware in the long run, but interface issues. TiVo broke with CE to broker a compromise deal they seem satisfied with.
Yes, and since the UI is arguably TiVo's most important selling point, I think it's very significant that TiVo came around to a pro-OCAP position. In August of last year, TiVo was still strongly pro-DCR+, criticizing OCAP because (they claimed) it would remove the ability to differentiate with a user interface. Four months later, after getting their "clarifications and adjustments" to OCAP, they'd reversed position and believed that OCAP was preferable to DCR+.

I think this actually makes a lot of sense. The value of TiVo's user interface is primarily in how it handles linear programming. On the other hand, I think it's pretty reasonable to say that interactive services need to be tightly coupled with their user interfaces; that's all part of the service the cable company is selling.

If I had a tru2way TiVo, I might switch to "cable mode" for a VOD program once in a while, but I don't see any particular reason for that kind of functionality to be part of the TiVo UI. (On the other hand, I would like to see the ability to record a VOD show after ordering it, and have it available through the TiVo "Now Playing" list; I have no idea whether that level of integration is a possibility.)

I do find it interesting that TiVo's objections to OCAP in August turned out to be non-issues in December. That tells me that one of two things must be true: either TiVo (along with CEA) misunderstood the OpenCable spec, or the NCTA was willing to modify it. I wonder, were there more "clarifications" or "adjustments" in those talks?
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:44 PM   #1392
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I do find it interesting that TiVo's objections to OCAP in August turned out to be non-issues in December. That tells me that one of two things must be true: either TiVo (along with CEA) misunderstood the OpenCable spec, or the NCTA was willing to modify it. I wonder, were there more "clarifications" or "adjustments" in those talks?
Its always "interesting" how some "objections" disappear when settlements are reached.

I think there is alot of value to being able to use local storage & processing power (DMR) to handle VOD type programing, and furthermore value to a TiVo (or other good) interface for doing so.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:46 AM   #1393
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I do find it interesting that TiVo's objections to OCAP in August turned out to be non-issues in December. That tells me that one of two things must be true: either TiVo (along with CEA) misunderstood the OpenCable spec, or the NCTA was willing to modify it. I wonder, were there more "clarifications" or "adjustments" in those talks?
The OCAP/tru2way spec. doesn't say anything about these issues. CE companies put 2 and 2 together and got 20. And then they got nervous. They just needed reassurance that the cable companies would not take over the entire GUI, and that 2+2 really does equal 4, even for potentially large values of 2. Plus, the NCTA threw in a free gift called the tuning adapter which the main opposition CE company desperately needed. Sometimes there are things about interoperability you just can't spec. You have to work together with the other companies (here I go again) to fill in the missing or gray areas. And bribing the opposition to keep them quiet doesn't hurt either.

The other reason for nervousness, as some have pointed out, is some CE companies aren't designing for boxes but TVs instead. Putting an "expensive" processor inside a TV reduces profit margin. But as more people want DVR functionality and then next gotta-have-it feature, they'll need a box because you can't put a hard drive inside a TV. And I don't see anyone strongly opposed to the presence of cable boxes in their entertainment center. I think customers have come to expect that they will always need a separate box. That means TVs might turn into monitors. And there is not as much profit margin making monitors, either. So either way TV manufacturers are screwed with tru2way.

But I think DCR+ is too complex for TVs and too simple for DVRs. And it's not at all future-proof. In the same way SDV indirectly defeated the purpose of CableCards, some new gotta-have-it feature will trump DCR+ because it isn't adaptable.

Finally, you will be amazed at how great support and development is for specs. that are approved by the service providers vs. specs. that are not. (Oh wait, you all have CableCards, and this thread exists and is the first sticky thread, so you do know this). So even if both DCR+ and tru2way were approved, tru2way would become the default standard. Which is what the NCTA is hinting to the FCC.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:28 AM   #1394
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But as more people want DVR functionality and then next gotta-have-it feature, they'll need a box because you can't put a hard drive inside a TV.
(limiting my response to flat-panel TVs that could be wall-mounted on the assumption that's what you were thinking about)

LG disagrees. 3 years ago they started selling TVs with internal DVRs http://www.engadget.com/2005/05/03/l...-built-in-dvr/.

Samsung disagrees. 2 years ago they started selling TVs with internal DVRs http://www.wiredathomeblog.com/blog/...g_intros_.html.

Toshiba disagrees. Earlier this week they announced they will be selling TVs with internal DVRs http://www.engadget.com/2008/04/09/t...-dvr-and-much/.

Even Humax is doing it http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/home-ente...-hd-162267.php so putting a hard-drive-based DVR inside a flat panel TV can't be rocket science.

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And I don't see anyone strongly opposed to the presence of cable boxes in their entertainment center.
Yo (sort of). You've side-stepped the very important point that most homes have only a single entertainment center but have more than a single TV. The migration to flat-panel TVs has made people less willing to accept a box with the bedroom TV, living room TV, etc.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:10 PM   #1395
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Mitsubishi has also put DVRs inside of panels. My panel, which doesn't have a built-in DVR, does support a 1394 AV/C AVHDD, which is basically just a drive in an enclosure which will repond to a set of 1394 AV/C commands, which have to do with opening files and streaming data into and out of them--it has no tuner or timers. With one of these hooked up, the television will add an interface for managing and playing back saved recordings and you can use the TV Guide On Screen grid to schedule them.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:10 PM   #1396
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I think customers have come to expect that they will always need a separate box. That means TVs might turn into monitors.
This is an excellent point. I think the idea of putting more and more function into TV sets is exactly the wrong way to go. Cable TV is just another kind of digital video content, just like all of the streaming and downloadable content we can get over the Internet. The logical model is for the home-entertainment center to become a specialized computer system, with a BIG monitor and a high-end sound system, and a network-connected special-purpose computer (like a TiVo) to provide the signal.

I don't expect my computer monitor to have the computer built in, and I wouldn't buy one that did come that way -- too much to fail in a single unit, and too hard to upgrade.

I haven't used a television set's built-in tuner since sometime in the early 1990s. So the idea of a TV with OCAP built in doesn't appeal to me in the slightest.

I think you're right: most people don't have any objection to having an external box to deliver the programming. What we don't need is multiple boxes. Give me a TiVo with built-in OCAP, and the ability to stream video from NetFlix and Hulu, and I'll be pretty happy.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:25 PM   #1397
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I don't expect my computer monitor to have the computer built in, and I wouldn't buy one that did come that way -- too much to fail in a single unit, and too hard to upgrade.
:eyebrow:

This is a TV we're talking about. How many times have you "upgraded" your TV in the past? Or your TiVo for that matter? Few people ever turn a screw on either of these devices.

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I haven't used a television set's built-in tuner since sometime in the early 1990s. So the idea of a TV with OCAP built in doesn't appeal to me in the slightest.
Perhaps not, but if there's no tuner it can't be sold as a TV. It's just a monitor at that point. Regardless, many people still use the built-in tuner for both cable and OTA (including HD).
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Old 04-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #1398
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How many times have you "upgraded" your TV in the past? Or your TiVo for that matter? Few people ever turn a screw on either of these devices.
I don't want to upgrade my TV.

I'm now on my third TiVo since 2000, and I fully expect to upgrade again within the next two years. I've also gone through multiple DVD players and STBs. And I was able to do all of this upgrading without having to upgrade my TV -- which is the most expensive part of the whole setup -- because these devices are all separate boxes.

I grant that many people, maybe even most, are still using the tuners built into their TVs. What I'm suggesting is that will change as our mechanism for receiving video programming changes.
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:50 PM   #1399
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MichaelK --

On the one hand I do agree with the CEA that DCR+ would be nice to have. On the other hand, <tru2way>/OCAP holds quite a bit of promise as well (in principal, though I still have problems apps much beyond IPG, IPPV, VOD and some trivial games). If the CEA gets DCR+ in the near term, I'd guess half the major manufacturers will never bother to make <tru2way> compliant products. (There's a small group of CEA members--including Samsung and TiVo--who are supporters of <tru2way>, so it wouldn't die completely, but the cable providers would like for it to be as ubiquitous as possible). The fact is that the Tuning Adapter addresses the most pressing need--providing a mechanism for low-end TV products to access SDV. The Tuning Adapter could evolve into essentially DCR+ in the future in a straight-forward fashion. Until it does, people can use leased cable boxes with their inexpensive televisions, if they want to view IPPV and VOD content on them.
A small and unimportant nit--"<tru2way>" is a registered trademark of CableLabs. There is no "e" in the spelling and they'd prefer that you use all lowercase and that it be encased in "angle-brackets" where possible (I guess that it graphically suggests the bidirectional nature of the set of the technology); they insist on the angle-brackets when used as a logo on compliant products. You can see the guidelines for its use at www.tru2way.com.

Panasonic is also a BIG support of TRUE2WAY. I believe they intend to have several devices in retail second half of this year and also Comcast has a deal to buy 500 OCAP boxes from them. So Iíd say panny is deep in that camp.

(now that you told me it annoys them- Iíll be sure to include the e and caps- laughing!)
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:47 PM   #1400
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I think that most people don't mind having a separate box for delivering their programming in their main family room home entertainment set-up, but many people have lots of smaller televisions placed around their home that they watch while doing chores and otherwise going about their business. Hanging from beneath the kitchen cabinets, on the workbench in the garage, on shelves in home offices and sewing rooms and small kids' rooms and nurseries: these are places where space is at a premium and external boxes for television reception are definitely not welcome. The fact that you can just plug a television into a simple cable coming out of the wall and use it to receive all non-premium programming is a strong selling point over satellite, etc, and cable has spent a lot of money to set up being able to offer as much programming as possible that way.

It's particularly objectionable if each of those boxes comes with some kind of lease fee, laying on more cable fees for each television in your home and if you have to wait for someone to come out and install them, paying a fee for that service. People currently don't have to pay anything to hook up convenience televisions on which to watch core and extended basic and they don't have to make arrangements to do so with the cable company.
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(now that you told me it annoys them- I’ll be sure to include the e and caps- laughing!)
I'm sure that they'll ignore you and say, "I wonder what this TRUE2WAY crap is that he's going on about. Do we have a trademark infringement case over whoever's selling something called 'TRUE2WAY'??? It's awfully close to our trademark--we should sue!"
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:13 PM   #1401
nickhaas33
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I think you're right: most people don't have any objection to having an external box to deliver the programming. What we don't need is multiple boxes. Give me a TiVo with built-in OCAP, and the ability to stream video from NetFlix and Hulu, and I'll be pretty happy.[/quote]

This hits the nail on the head!
Give me one that supports fancast, netflix, hulu, etc.
If the PS3 would do that, they could sell even more of them (no Flash 8/9 support).
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:17 PM   #1402
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And make sure this magical box, through all these services, support Closed Captions.
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:58 PM   #1403
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
Source? I want to know what percentage of digital cable subscribers with VOD access have (or don't have) a DVR. You seem confident in your numbers, so by all means, let's have them.
According to this financial report from TiVo, as of Jan 31 of this year, TiVo has 3.95 million subs. Now some large fraction of those subs are using DirecTiVos, and some fraction are using their TiVo strictly OTA, but let's be generous and say all 3.95M are on CATV systems. According to this survey by MRG, the top 8 MSOs, representing 60% of CATV providers, have 2.4 million DVRs deployed. Extrapolating to 100% of subscribers, that would amount to 4 million DVRs deployed. Note the CATV subs on SDV systems also have access to SDV via their DVR, but we'll also assume it's not the case, just to prevent from underestimating. That's a total of just under 8 millions DVRs, spread out among 75 million subscribers with an average of something over 2.5 TV sets per sub. This means even being extremely generous with the DVR estimate there are more than 27 TV sets attached to CATV system through some means other than a DVR for each and every set attached to a CATV system through a DVR. The actual number may be less than 1 in 50, and the number of TiVos attached to CATV plants is less than 1 in 57, perhaps less than 1 in 100. Within a small margin of error, the percentage users with DVRs in any SDV system is going to be the same as the percentage of DVRs on CATV systems in general.

Since according to this post there have been only at the very most 339,000 TiVos attached to CATV systems with CableCards, that makes only 1 CATV subscriber in 221 owns an S3 class TiVo, and only 1 TV set in over 550 attached to a CATV plant is getting its service through a TiVo. The actual number is probably less than 1 in 1000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
several people here, lead primarily by you, seem to be arguing the CATV providers' stance with VOD pretty much the only card to play and acting like it's a trump card.
I have never said or suggested anything of the sort. VOD is just one of a huge number of applications for SDV. It also happens to be at this point in time the most widely deployed, as well as the one whose basic technology may have the broadest implications for the development of future applications. The entire vast television industry is a direct result of the development of the Flemming Valve vacuum tube. The implications for development of applications dependant upon SDV may be even broader.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
I've said it before, but VOD is nice and all but is not justification for breaking functionality with any 3rd party CableCARD host such as your TiVOs.
I'm not going to do this dance again. The simple fact is the existence of SDV long predates the existence or even the development of the 3rd part UDCPs, so you can't claim SDV breaks them, any more than the fact Unix-only applications won't run on a Windows PC means Unix breaks Windows PCs.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:40 PM   #1404
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Are you sure?

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Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
I don't expect my computer monitor to have the computer built in, and I wouldn't buy one that did come that way -- too much to fail in a single unit, and too hard to upgrade.
Really? You've never bought a laptop / notebook computer, PDA, Blackberry (or a clone), or I-Phone (or a clone)? Most people have bought at least one of these over the last 20 years or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
I haven't used a television set's built-in tuner since sometime in the early 1990s.
With the exception of the 9 month period of time between my buying my Mitsubishi HDTV and the release of the Series III TiVo, I haven't used one since 1984. Indeed, the only TV I had in my house between 1984 and 2000 didn't even have a built-in tuner. I still use that TV, and the projector in my Theater doesn't have a built-in tuner, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
So the idea of a TV with OCAP built in doesn't appeal to me in the slightest.
Well, it doesn't appeal to me in particular, either, with one minor exception, but then I'm not the average consumer. The fact you are on a TiVo chat forum means there's a good chance you are a techie-type, at least to a certain extent. Most people are not, so you probably aren't an average consumer, either.

On the other hand, a set with built in separable security isn't particularly off-putting to me. Also, the one minor exception to my indifference is that very rare occasion when I want to watch a 3rd show on a particular TV in the house. Then it would be nice to be able to watch live TV while the other two tuners are busy. Especially with 3 TiVos sporting 6 tuners in the house, this is an extremely rare occurrence, and I can easily live without the capability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
I think you're right: most people don't have any objection to having an external box to deliver the programming.
I think that's probably true, or at least most men don't have any strong objections. Women generally speaking have more issues with multiple gadgets in the living space, but even most women probably don't have a strong objection to an STB or DVR. Other than price, however, more people express concerns of varying degrees over having to have an STB - or especially multiple STBs - than any other single complaint. They tend to be more vehement about service issues, at least while they are experiencing them, but by far the greatest number of complaints other than issues with their bills is the fact they have to have an STB.

Let me put it this way: suppose you stop 1000 different people on the street who have not recently had severe technical difficulties with their CATV service and ask them what their chief non-financial complaint with their CATV service is. You will get at least 100 or so different answers, but while maybe 50 or more people would complain about having to have the STB, not more than 10 or 15 would bring up any other single issue. (Note, these numbers do not represent the actual metric. They are simply offered as a means of demonstrating my point.)

Last edited by lrhorer : 04-11-2008 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:23 PM   #1405
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Ocap

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTiVo
I didnīt think that the OCAP issues were really hardware in the long run, but interface issues.
Since OCAP has nothing to do with hardware and is in fact nothing but a software interface between two other pieces of software, that's a given.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
Yes, and since the UI is arguably TiVo's most important selling point, I think it's very significant that TiVo came around to a pro-OCAP position. In August of last year, TiVo was still strongly pro-DCR+, criticizing OCAP because (they claimed) it would remove the ability to differentiate with a user interface. Four months later, after getting their "clarifications and adjustments" to OCAP, they'd reversed position and believed that OCAP was preferable to DCR+.
That was either empty saber rattling, a misinterpreted quotation, or someone who hadn't a clue about what they were speaking. OCAP is middleware. It has nothing directly to do with any UI, except that the UI must be able to communicate reliably with OCAP. It needs to be able to send messages to OCAP which then forwards them on to the CATV headend, and it needs to be able to respond to requests and answers from OCAP, splashing something on the screen if applicable or doing something internally if not. Take a look at Galleon or TiVo Desktop if you want an example of something similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
I think this actually makes a lot of sense. The value of TiVo's user interface is primarily in how it handles linear programming. On the other hand, I think it's pretty reasonable to say that interactive services need to be tightly coupled with their user interfaces; that's all part of the service the cable company is selling.
Well, yes and no. The UI doesn't need to be tightly coupled with the middleware, per se, but it does need to provide a reasonable and reliable means to display information handed over by the middleware to the UI when appropriate and to forward any input by the user to the middleware in an unambiguous manner. Basically, in many ways OCAP is somewhat like X11. One can run an X-server under Windows, Mac OS Desktop, KDE, CDE, Gnome, XFce, XPde, or whatever other flavor of desktop the administrator happens to choose. The User interfaces for all those desktops vary a great deal from one to the other, or in some cases even from one release to the next of the same desktop, but an X server can run on any of them and provide an interface to a remote client anywhere.

In this case, the DVR / receiver UI is the server, the headend is running the client, and OCAP is acting as an agent. It needn't provide any user interface at all.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:48 PM   #1406
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
Really? You've never bought a laptop / notebook computer, PDA, Blackberry (or a clone), or I-Phone (or a clone)? Most people have bought at least one of these over the last 20 years or so.
Sure. But I don't think that's an apt comparison; those are portable devices where I'm willing to pay a premium, and make many other compromises, in order to minimize size and bulk. One of the big disadvantages of a laptop is that it's not very upgradeable, and it's hard to repair. You accept those disadvantages because you want the portability.

The same calculation does not apply to a home-entertainment center. For that application, modularity makes the most sense.

My vision of the future is a LAN-wired house with a central server that handles all of the tuning, security, and DVR-type functionality, and sends video signals to monitors installed throughout the house. I grant that I am not a typical user, so maybe that's a science-fiction vision; certainly CE manufacturers would not be building OCAP-equipped TV sets if their research didn't indicate that there was a market for them.

Still, I think a modular system would have a lot of advantages. And I don't think it will seem so outlandishly futuristic in a generation or so, when those of us raised on linear TV broadcasting aren't making the big purchase decisions anymore. Most college students today don't even own traditional TV sets; they watch all of their TV on computers, so for them it will be quite natural to see a home-entertainment center as a specialized computer setup with a big monitor.
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:45 AM   #1407
lrhorer
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Modularity

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
Sure. But I don't think that's an apt comparison; those are portable devices where I'm willing to pay a premium, and make many other compromises, in order to minimize size and bulk.
Point well made and well taken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
The same calculation does not apply to a home-entertainment center. For that application, modularity makes the most sense.
For you and me, and probably most of the members of this forum, that's essentially true, although I wouldn't have put it quite that way. Rather, it's our preference, for very valid reasons. Indeed, it was no less true in the 1970s and 1980s when audiophiles like myself insisted on purchasing component audio systems. The number of console stereos and for that matter console TV / Stereos sold far exceeded the number of component systems sold, however. While component systems are much more ubiquitous today, the average consumer - and if it is a man then often his wife, is likely to prefer a more highly integrated solution over a more modular system, even if the modular system offers better quality and less maintenance expense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
My vision of the future is a LAN-wired house with a central server that handles all of the tuning, security, and DVR-type functionality, and sends video signals to monitors installed throughout the house. I grant that I am not a typical user
'My point exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
so maybe that's a science-fiction vision; certainly CE manufacturers would not be building OCAP-equipped TV sets if their research didn't indicate that there was a market for them.
Again, exactly so. If we were talking about my personal preferences or how I think the world should run then it's one thing, but my pragmatic side insists I take reality into account. I myself don't usually care for mustard, and I never order it, or put it on my sandwiches, but I do buy it because many of my guests do like mustard. If I were the owner of a grocery store, mustard would be very high on my list of things to keep stocked on the shelves, my personal taste notwithstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
Still, I think a modular system would have a lot of advantages.
Of course it does. I also don't mind the extra electronic box or ten on my shelves.


See? (You should see my server room. I'd send a picture of it, but it's too small and cramped to get back far enough to take a picture of all the printers, servers, RAID system, monitor, cable gateway, VOIP ATA, Ethernet switch, etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bxojr View Post
Most college students today don't even own traditional TV sets; they watch all of their TV on computers, so for them it will be quite natural to see a home-entertainment center as a specialized computer setup with a big monitor.
Yes, precisely, and SDV services will be another highly integrated piece of the whole delivery system. How limited the number of boxes will be I think will continue to depend on the individual consumer. Many will applaud having only a single box handle all their phone, video, data, internet, and environmental systems. The microwave, fridge, dishwasher, and blender might even all be in the same box with everything else. Others will prefer a minimal amount of physical integration, with a box here, a box there, and a box around every corner.

Last edited by lrhorer : 04-12-2008 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:51 AM   #1408
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Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
That's a total of just under 8 millions DVRs, spread out among 75 million subscribers with an average of something over 2.5 TV sets per sub.
Perhaps you didn't hear me when I specified DIGITAL CABLE subscribers. If the numbers you're mentioning with no source attributed are referring strictly to digital cable, then this is interesting information. If not, it's useless.

Quote:
The simple fact is the existence of SDV long predates the existence or even the development of the 3rd part UDCPs, so you can't claim SDV breaks them
There really needs to be an :eyebrow: emoticon to use. This is so silly it hurts. None of the VOD or IPPV features existed before the TiVo or CableCARDs for that matter. Just because someone thought up the idea a long time ago doesn't mean that moving from a linear system to an SDV system doesn't break TiVo's ability to receive channels that are supplied exclusively via SDV.
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Old 04-12-2008, 04:09 AM   #1409
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firekite View Post
There really needs to be an :eyebrow: emoticon to use. This is so silly it hurts.
Could you possibly tone down your snide and condescending attitude? See if you can state your case without calling what others have to say "so silly it hurts". I don't think that any of us can survive another long vitriolic exchange between you and lrhorer.
Quote:
None of the VOD or IPPV features existed before the TiVo or CableCARDs for that matter.
According to Wikipedia, VOD was first deployed in the US by Oceanic Cable in Hawaii in January 2000, 9 months after TiVo first shipped in March 1999, but 4.5 years prior to the FCC requirement that cable service providers support CableCARDs. VOD had been available for years in the TWC system that I was using in July 2004, when FCC regs mandate CableCARD compliance--certainly it'd been available for all 3 of the years I'd lived there at that point. However, I recall IPPV being around for a very long time in the various cable systems I've lived in (13 cities in 11 states and multiple neighborhoods with different cable systems in some of them). The first reference to a US deployment of it that I can find online in a cursory search is this, an abstract of an archived L.A. Times article from May 1989, nearly 10 years prior to the introduction of TiVo.

So, someone hadn't just "thought of" IPPV and VOD--both had been widely deployed by MSOs long, long before the first Undirectional Digital Cable Ready product was sold. Not that any of that either endorses or condemns the cable industry's deployment of SDV.
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:51 AM   #1410
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
According to this financial report from TiVo, as of Jan 31 of this year, TiVo has 3.95 million subs. Now some large fraction of those subs are using DirecTiVos, and some fraction are using their TiVo strictly OTA, but let's be generous and say all 3.95M are on CATV systems. According to this survey by MRG, the top 8 MSOs, representing 60% of CATV providers, have 2.4 million DVRs deployed. Extrapolating to 100% of subscribers, that would amount to 4 million DVRs deployed. Note the CATV subs on SDV systems also have access to SDV via their DVR, but we'll also assume it's not the case, just to prevent from underestimating. That's a total of just under 8 millions DVRs, spread out among 75 million subscribers with an average of something over 2.5 TV sets per sub. This means even being extremely generous with the DVR estimate there are more than 27 TV sets attached to CATV system through some means other than a DVR for each and every set attached to a CATV system through a DVR. The actual number may be less than 1 in 50, and the number of TiVos attached to CATV plants is less than 1 in 57, perhaps less than 1 in 100. Within a small margin of error, the percentage users with DVRs in any SDV system is going to be the same as the percentage of DVRs on CATV systems in general.

Since according to this post there have been only at the very most 339,000 TiVos attached to CATV systems with CableCards, that makes only 1 CATV subscriber in 221 owns an S3 class TiVo, and only 1 TV set in over 550 attached to a CATV plant is getting its service through a TiVo. The actual number is probably less than 1 in 1000.
Those DVR numbers are very wrong. It is not important to this whole discussion, I just don´t want them to enter into the folklore.
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