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Old 06-07-2008, 04:54 PM   #1651
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Originally Posted by routerman View Post
Does this mean that if my cable company uses bigband for SDV, their VOD equipment is also bigband or do you mean the VOD services are transmitted over the SDV equipment?
Probably both, although some systems do buy their equipment piecemeal from more than one vendor. Unless contracturally bound, there is nothing fundamentally preventing a company from buying the first set of QAM modulators from Big Band and then another set a year later from C-Cor. There is also nothing that requires them to keep all the content of one type on a particular QAM - as long as both are SDV capable. There is also nothing fundamentally preventing them from deciding to "dedicate" one QAM modulator to regularly scheduled SDV content and another to VOD and other on-demand services, but there also is generally speaking no particularly good reason to do so, either, and doing so will probably reduce the overall efficiency of the switched deployment by at least a small amount.

While the company is not locked into any one modulator manufacturer, they are in practical terms locked into a single switching protocol. Thus, while one might conceivably find modulators and demodulators from two or more manufacturers in a single headend, one will not find STBs from both Motorola and Cisco in the homes serviced by that headend. There are some 3rd party STB manufacturers - Pace for example - which have licensed both Cisco and Motorola protocols for their STBs, but that doesn't mean a Pace STB in a Cisco plant can be taken to a Motorola plant and still work. It's no doubt possible both could be integrated into a single box, but it would be more expensive, and a better way to handle the situation is to make a single frame and motherboard for both versions of the STB and employ a daughter card of the appropriate type to differentiate the two. STBs with SA compatible daughter cards get shipped to SA systems and ones with Moto compatible daughter cards go to Moto systems. If not daughtercards, then different chipsets would do,as well. They even might manufacture completely different boxes, but I doubt it.
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Old 06-07-2008, 05:07 PM   #1652
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If a CATV company is deploying SDV, then their on-demand services will use the SDV platform as a carrier.

So what are cable companies using to provide ondemand if they aren't using SDV yet?
Oh, there are a number. The major one is IPTV, used by FIOS. Any sufficiently intelligent switching protocol will work. It also does not absolutely have to switch on node boundaries (IPTV usually doesn't). It's just that the node boundary is the most efficient and economical switch point in most fiber and aluminum CATV systems. Some systems have toyed around with fiber only implementations (fiber all the way to the house), and in such cases there may be multiple switch boundaries in the system.
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Old 06-07-2008, 05:32 PM   #1653
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So what are cable companies using to provide ondemand if they aren't using SDV yet?
The technologies are different between VOD and SDV, and VOD has been launched for quite some time. All VOD is is a dedicated QAM channel for you. Well, it isn't really just sent to you but your STB should be the only one on the plant with trick-play controls and the keys to decrypt the stream (in the early days it wasn't even encrypted). It is a regular QAM channel just like any other. Your STB can watch the stream and send trick-play commands back to the VOD server in the headend (any brand server will suffice) that is streaming your stream using whichever protocol the headend is based on. The VOD server would pause/rewind/play your stream based on your commands. It is not necessarily related to SDV at all. SDV can make the overall usage of the plant's bandwidth better though by not fixing a hard number of QAMs to VOD usage.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:10 PM   #1654
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Once SDV is deployed is it possible to deliver VOD via SDV as well?
It most likely is, depending on the system.

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Cox Orange County VOD system dedicates 8 whole RF channels (with 10 VOD streams per RF using QAM 256) to VOD which seems like a big waste of linear bandwidth
It's not linear. That they have dedicated 80 streams to VOD ratehr than sharing the modulator arrray between scheduled and on-deman video doesn't mean it is linear. If it were linear, 80 wouldn't be nearly enough. Do you think in Orange county only 80 people at a time make any use of VOD channels? 80,000 might be more like it, especially if they have deployed anything like video rewind.

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that would make much more sense to put under a switched system.
Trust me, if it is VOD, it is switched. Otherwise they would require a bandwidth of several thousand MHz.

The fact they can use mixed platforms doesn't mean they do. What's more, once again the posters are confusing the distinctions between the transport protocols, the content, and the marketing differentiation between products which are in no way physically different.

The following is lengthy. Consider it a primer on switched video and on-demand services. If you don't wish to read this primer, then by all means skip it. If you don't wish to respond, then don't or if you do then by all measns do. It's not intended as an ordinary debate post, so please squelch any flames about its length.


Consider the following. HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc are all "Premium" channels. In order to obtain them, on most systems the user must pay an extra monthly charge on a channel by channel (or group of channels) basis. Stations like TBS, TNT, Discovery, etc. are all "regular" cable channels, and are usually included in one or more tiers - possibly even the basic tier - as part of the subscriber's regular bill. Local channels are those broadcast over the air by local TV stations. Other than encryption or a lack thereof, there is no physical difference between the three channel types, or fundamentally between the way their respective content is received at the customer's TV. The transport media, however, vary a great deal, and the type of source equipment can vary a lot. The fact the CATV company chooses to bundle them, charge for them, and label them in different ways doesn't mean it takes some sort of special gear to carry premium channels versus basic channels or regular channels, however.

OK, now what about SDV? SDV is a set of switched protocols. A linear channel does not employ any switching at all in the transport system. Any switching done on a linear channel is done manually, at the Master Control or Technical Operations Center by CATV personnel or automated equipment under their control. For example, when watching a national video feed, if you pay attention you might notice a local commercial right in the middle of a nationally broadcast program. Your local commercial is probably not being broadcast across the entire nation. Rather, either the local network affiliate or the local CATV company switches away from the national feed for a few seconds to insert a local commercial for which the local station or CATV company is paid rather than the National Network. Once leaving the MC or TOC, however, it gets inserted into what can be envisaged as the trunk of a tree, to flow upwards and be split again and again into a series of smaller and smaller tributaries. At the very tip of this maze of tributaries is a large number of individual subscribers. The main point is, the signal reaching every single one of the tips is precisely the same as that entering into the trunk and as that reaching every other tip. This is a linear channel. Any video the company chooses can be placed on one of these channels, including even a VOD or other on-demand stream, if they were completely insane. While technically possible, putting on-demand streams on linear channels would limit the CATV company to only delivering three or four channels, total, because all 70 - 100 QAMs (in a 100% digital system) would have to be dedicated to those 3 or 4 channels. So why have linear channels at all? Eventually, there may not be, but for the time being at least - and ignoring the locals which are under legal restrictions - it makes good sense to have at least a moderate number of linear QAMs.

Why? In order to answer that question we must look a little closer at the alternatives. There is a different way to provide signals to subscribers than the tree-like linear delivery. Instead, imagine a hub-and spoke arrangement with a central core and a large number of spokes radiating from the hub. The hub can deliver completely independent streams into each spoke, so that what arrives at the end of each spoke is potentially either completely or partially different than what arrives at any other endpoint. (Note if we look closely each spoke is actually a smaller version of the linear "tree" we described above.) The hub can be said to contain a number of switching boundaries, where the decision of what to send down which spoke is implemented. Not made, mind you, but implemented. Logically speaking, where the switch boundary is placed is arbitrary, but in a typical CATV system, by far the best place for a switching boundary is the node. Thus, if part of a switching realm, the signal placed onto a particular node shows up at every single receiver in the node, but not on any receiver outside the node. In implementation, this means hypothetically that in a hub with 100 nodes, at 300.00MHz in the spectrum in a single channel's timeslot there could be 100 different programs being broadcast. In a pure switched digital system with 500MHz of useable bandwidth, such a hubsite could hypothetically broadcast nearly 17,000 HD programs or nearly 92,000 different SD programs to perhaps 50,000 subscribers with maybe 125,000 TVs. That's a heck of a lot better than the linear system which over the same field architecture could only deliver 167 HD programs or 916 SD programs. (Or 83 analog SD programs or 13 analog HD programs. Ugh.)

So far, so good, but again ignoring the local broadcast channels and angry TiVo-owning subs, why have any linear channels at all? The huge benefit in numbers detailed above presumes that every node will require one for one completely different programs than any other node. This is not the case. For any given number of nodes, if at least 1 subscriber on each node wants the same video, then every one of the nodes will carry it, and for that particular program there is no benefit for switched video at all at that moment. If the content is on a regular scheduled channel and at every point in time at least one sub on every node is watching the channel, then the channel will never be switched off any node, and there is no advantage at all to switching the channel. If a node hosts 400 -500 subscribers and 300 or so timeslots, then any scheduled channel with a minimum daily instantaneous market share in excess of 4% - 5% or so will not be shut down on that node for any significant period of time, and would not be shut down on enough nodes in total for enough time to make switching worthwhile. Such channels are more economically served on linear equipment.

At the transport level there is absolutely no difference between a regularly scheduled SDV program and a VOD or other on-demand service. The difference lies in two areas. One is the insertion source. For an external source such as satellite video feeds or local broadcast channels, the cATV company simply takes the incoming stream and sends it out to its video switches, tagging it with source and destination addresses. For locally hosted IPPV events, the company may simply have their own of what are basically automated DVRs which begin transmitting specific steams at regularly scheduled times. At the headend or hubsite, the switch receives all of its streams and decides which QAMs are to receive which streams. If a node is dark for a particular stream and a sub on the node changes to the channel in question, the STB / DVR sends a request to the headend to receive the channel. Coordinating between the switch, the video server, and the STB, the decision is made upon which QAM to host the feed on the node and the STB is told on which QAM to find the feed. If it is a "regular" video, then the STB will probably already contain the encryption keys. If it is IPPV -whether scheduled or otherwise, then the server also delivers the encryption keys and notifies the billing computer.

For an on-demand service, the exact same series of events takes place potentially over exactly the same transport equipment, except that the video server must be capable not of just passing on a video stream received from an external source, but must be capable of seeing to it the stream itself is created and possibly started and stopped. Once again, if the stream is on-demand IPPV, then it notifies the billing computer, selects the QAM to receive the stream, issues the keys if necessary, and starts the stream. In some topologies it can make some sense to segregate the on-demand streams from scheduled switch streams, because the video server for the scheduled streams can be much less capable than the one required for on-demand services. In a system like San Antonio, however, where every single channel can have its stream split off at any moment by a sub pressing <Pause> on his STB remote, it doesn't make all that much sense to segregate channels. Of course, if it happens to be a linear channel, then the linear server continues to happily pump away with the main stream while an on-demand server carries out the funny business around the formerly-linear-now-suddenly-on-demand stream.

The other area where there is a difference has nothing directly to do with the equipment, but rather with the patterns of the traffic and the bandwidth related thereto. An SDV transmission of a scheduled program may not hit every node in the system, saving bandwidth on those not receiving it, but it is still somewhat likely to hit more than one node in the system, and it usually consists of what are essentially multicast packets. While not sharp, there is nonetheless a vague limit to the number of scheduled programs which can be broadcast in a system because of this. This is perfectly Ok, however, because since the streams are inifinitely continuous, there is also an absolute limit to the number of nodes which can request the stream (all of them, however many there may be) and an exact limit to the number of streams which will be generated to fulfill the channel's broadcast footprint. That number is precisely 1.

While there is no requirement for any fundamental difference in the underlying transport equipment which delivers on-demand streams, there is a huge difference in the number of streams generated by an on-demand service. Generally speaking, most on-demand streams have one and only one target node. The packets are essentially unicast. The stream is sent out intending to be received by one and only one subscriber. This still doesn't require anything different from the transport system than regularly scheduled SDV content. After all, there is absolutely nothing which says there can't be a channel available which only gets requested by a single sub at some point in time. The only difference so far is the content is being generated by the video server, while the scheduled program might be coming from somewhere else. What happens, however, when 45 seconds later another subscriber somewhere requests the same video? The answer is a completely new stream must be initiated and even if the receiver is on the same node (or even in the same house), a new QAM channel must be assigned to the new stream. Thus, given a system of 100,000 subs, 250,000 receivers, 200 nodes, and 300 scheduled channels with a 500MHz SDV bandwidth, the maximum number of unique streams on the system at any one time is 300, but unless a significant number are SD, all 300 can't be received on every node. If the same system has 100 or so VOD channels, the maximum number of simultaneous streams which could hypothetically be handled is perhaps in excess of 50,000. The number which actually do get assigned is equal to the number of receivers which request on-demand content.

OK, so back to the original question. Is it necessary to segregate VOD and SDV as different services? Fundamentally, no. There can be a reason, however, to dedicate one group of QAMs to on-demand services and another to scheduled programming. I don't say it's a good reason, but it's a reason. If the CATV system is attempting to move to switched services on the cheap and doesn't have enough QAMs to properly handle all the switched service requests, they might choose to limit the number of on-demand QAMs rather than risk a lot of "channel not available" messages on HBO, Showtime, etc. They might figure a denied on-demand request is less aggravating than a denied request for a scheduled channel.

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Old 06-07-2008, 09:16 PM   #1655
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Good gosh I bet your fingers hurt from all that typing.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:39 PM   #1656
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So, what you are saying is that SDV is a band aid trying to let cable tv operators compete with FiOS who does this naturally?
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:00 PM   #1657
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so the dongle can order VOD/PPV. so what? Without a UI interface that the cable company controls they have no real blip on their rader for the Series 3 TiVo DVRs that are out there, especially with the series 4 coming along that will have tru2way and the UI that the cable company controls
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:20 PM   #1658
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Good gosh I bet your fingers hurt from all that typing.
Oh that's nothing. You should see my engineering briefs. They aren't.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:33 PM   #1659
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So, what you are saying is that SDV is a band aid trying to let cable tv operators compete with FiOS who does this naturally?
Not really, no. A "bandaid" suggests a temporary or ineffective solution. SDV is neither. It permanently bolsters the effective bandwidth of the CATV plant manyfold. The number of channels is limited only by the number of subs per node. If they start running shy of bandwidth, they can simply add more nodes. While adding a node isn't exactly cheap, it is far, far less expensive than attempting to increase the bandwidth of the transport equipment, and far more effective.

IPTV is another switched protocol. It's just that it's switch boundaries are different and more fluid. FIOS also has much higher infrastructure costs, so the subscription density has to be much higher. Many homes are going to be left high and dry as far as FIOS is concerned. More to the point, FIOS or not, the conventional CATV plant architecture wastes a tremendous amount of bandwidth for nothing, and SDV is a comparatively inexpensive solution to that problem. It is probably true that without competition from FIOS and much more prominantly D*, the CATV companies would probably not have laid out the capital, or at least not nearly as agressively as they are now. Some still are not, as their senior management apparently does not feel as threatened by D* and FIOS as others.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:44 PM   #1660
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so the dongle can order VOD/PPV. so what? Without a UI interface that the cable company controls they have no real blip on their rader for the Series 3 TiVo DVRs that are out there
It suits my needs entirely. As long as the Series 3 continues to work with scheduled programming and as long as the CATV companies continue to offer all the currently scheduled offerings as scheduled offerings rather than VOD, I have no plans to replace my Series 3 boxes. For that matter, even if all the parties collaborate and enable VOD and IPPV on the Series 3, I won't be using them.

If some of the more advanced interactive services on the horizon are something I just must have, I may revise my stance, or perhaps just get a CATV leased STB.

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, especially with the series 4 coming along that will have tru2way and the UI that the cable company controls
Tru2way won't allow the cable company to control the UI, although it will allow the CATV company to create folders and menus on the box. HME and HMO already do that. Galleon and pyTiVo both create a perfectly nice set of folders and menu items on my TiVos. It will allow the CATV company to unilaterally decide what interactive software is loaded on the TiVo and what 2-way features are enabled, including spyware.
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:49 AM   #1661
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It's not linear. That they have dedicated 80 streams to VOD ratehr than sharing the modulator arrray between scheduled and on-deman video doesn't mean it is linear. If it were linear, 80 wouldn't be nearly enough. Do you think in Orange county only 80 people at a time make any use of VOD channels? 80,000 might be more like it, especially if they have deployed anything like video rewind.
My assumption was that they are able to switch at the node level, so the 80 dedicated channels are at the node level not the system level (i.e. serving ~400 homes or so which seems like plenty).
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Old 06-08-2008, 03:33 AM   #1662
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FIOS also has much higher infrastructure costs, so the subscription density has to be much higher. Many homes are going to be left high and dry as far as FIOS is concerned.
I can attest to that.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:47 AM   #1663
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Tru2way won't allow the cable company to control the UI, although it will allow the CATV company to create folders and menus on the box.
As described to the FCC by TiVo, the proposed "Series4" box would only have access to VOD and IPPV when running the cable providers' full downloaded IPGs. The cable company's OCAP IPG would see the TiVo as a non-DVR platform, and would not have access to its HDDs or be able to implement any DVR functions. The only OCAP function that TiVo would have direct access to would be downloaded SDV APIs, for tuning switched broadcasts:
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a TiVo DVR with OCAP would have a “TiVo mode” displaying all linear channels (including switched digital video enabled by OCAP) with the TiVo user interface and full DVR functionality as well as a “cable mode” running OCAP and displaying all cable programming services with the cable user interface without DVR functionality.
Using "TiVo Series4" in "cable mode" would be largely indistinguishable from using a leased cable box and would provide access to IPPV, VOD and any future interactive services that they can concoct within the framework of OCAP.

This is highly reminiscent of mobile phone handsets that I've worked on. Most of those have closed environments for running portable applications--games and utilities and such. These are written for either a Java profile (like OCAP) called J2ME or for Qualcomm's BREW platform. These environments are quite different from the native phone GUI and when the phone is running those apps, the screen is given over completely to the foreign UI. There is an interface through which the outside apps can communicate with the phone and vice-versa. For instance, I wrote portions of the native phonebook app which a BREW media browser to select ID photos and ringtones. In turn, the BREW media browser could assign an image being browsed to a phonebook entry by making a call back into the native code.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:11 AM   #1664
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My assumption was that they are able to switch at the node level
As opposed to where? There is no digital component beyond the modulator until the signal reaches the customer premise. Defining a switch boundary at any point prior to the modulator (which directly feeds the node through up to several kilometers of fiber) would be far less effective.

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so the 80 dedicated channels are at the node level not the system level (i.e. serving ~400 homes or so which seems like plenty).
That makes no sense at all. If a path is dedicated, it is dedicated. If it is switched, it is switched. Dedicating 80 paths to one node and a diffeent set of 80 paths to another node gains one nothing whatsoever, and indeed any channels on one node and not the other lose that channel on the second node, with a corresponding channel being lost on the first node. You need to think through your logic some more. It's flawed. What you've described is as impossible to produce as a reasonable result as an Escher drawing.

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Old 06-09-2008, 05:28 AM   #1665
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As described to the FCC by TiVo, the proposed "Series4" box would only have access to VOD and IPPV when running the cable providers' full downloaded IPGs.
That is correct. This doesn't mean it is able to control the native TiVo UI, beyond adding folders and menus, which any HMO or HME app can do right now.

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The cable company's OCAP IPG would see the TiVo as a non-DVR platform, and would not have access to its HDDs or be able to implement any DVR functions.
Correct again, except that I am not quite certain about its access to the drives. In order to be OCAP, the CATV system has to be ableto load its software onto the device. TiVo could hypotehtically limit such downloads to a section of non-volatile RAM, but I would think they would load it into the hard drive. I've only glanced at TiVo's proposition, but if I were TiVo's engineers, it is how I would manage it. It's true the CATV system couldn't load content to the program partitions.

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The only OCAP function that TiVo would have direct access to would be downloaded SDV APIs, for tuning switched broadcasts:Using "TiVo Series4" in "cable mode" would be largely indistinguishable from using a leased cable box and would provide access to IPPV, VOD and any future interactive services that they can concoct within the framework of OCAP.
'Correct again, at least in terms of what has been proposed. The TiVo UI, however, will remain essentially untouched. People seem to think that when they hook up the Tivo to the CATV plant, all the features they have come to expect in the TiVo will all evaporate or get turned topsy-turvy. They won't, at all.

The IPPV, VOD, and other 2-way functions will be controlled and will no doubt look and feel much different than the TiVo's familiar interface, but that should be no surprise at all, since the TiVo's UI isn't designed to handle 2-way services.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:15 AM   #1666
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That's an overstatement. Actually, there are only about 6 or 8 SDV HD scheduled channels here in San Antonio in which I am significantly interested. <snip list> A great deal of the "good stuff" is on linear QAMs here in San Antonio.
Well it is all subjective, isn't it? I would counsel against any TW customer in San Antonio getting Tivo if they have HD. Almost ALL of the stations I watched in HD are "embargoed" and yes I will be writing the FCC.

No one is a bigger Tivo fan. I got it in Chicago when it came out and set it up in minutes.

Now I have an expensive Tivo paperweight (as far as my HD preference is concerned), a basket of remotes, the biggest HD plasma made and a set top box. Bottom line? I end up missing programs because Tivo tries to tape them on the HD channels I USED to get. (Been through the channel list more than once to fix that.) Basically I use the Tivo because it is too difficult to remember which ones I want to tape in HD on the set top box and which ones I want on Tivo. I do the Deadliest Catch, best show on TV but not available with Tivo HD as compromised by Time Warner, on the set top. All those Animal Planet programs that Tivo snags for me I watch as regular broadcasts.

I am disappointed in Tivo, Time Warner & the FCC.

This seems like bait and switch on the part of TW to me. They took away my channels without warning in San Antionio. I had no notice that I would be getting significantly diminished service for the same price. Even the three tech guys who were at my house were not told. They were trying to fix my cable cards. But they forgot to lower the bill! Sure I griped and what did they say? They won't charge me for six months for the set top box which I now need. BFD.

So if you don't watch the same HD I do and you are happy with TW SAT, I am glad for you. But believe me, I think I am in the majority here. There are a lot of people who bought HD to watch nature programs and sports (college basketball & WNBA). Just walk in any Best Buy and see what is on the HD TVs. And that is what I am not getting.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:53 AM   #1667
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Bait and switch doesn't apply. An ongoing service can change the service monthly; it is only bait and switch if you were promised something explicit and you cannot cancel.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:51 AM   #1668
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Bait and switch doesn't apply. An ongoing service can change the service monthly; it is only bait and switch if you were promised something explicit and you cannot cancel.
while i dont think the OP got baited and switched (becasue I dont think it was intended on the cable company's part)-

how does the inability to cancel have anything to do with bait and switch?

from dictionary.com

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a deceptive way of selling that involves advertising a product at a very low price in order to attract customers who are then persuaded to switch to a more expensive product
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denoting a deceptive method of selling, by which customers, attracted to a store by sale items, are told either that the advertised bargain item is out of stock or is inferior to a higher-priced item that is available.
there's no mention of being unable to cancel. In fact I think the classic bait and switch (such that there are laws specifically against it in many places) is a really low priced car from a newspaper ad- the victem gets to the dealer and the dealer says that car is sold but i have this one over here that's "better" for X$ more. no one forces the victem to buy the more expensive item, no one keeps him from cancelling, it's a mind game. It's about a deception purposely played out to make more money off the victem.

I dont think cable is purposely using sdv to make more from individual cablecard subs. It's just something they have to do to compete. And cable, ce people, and the fcc never resolved the whole 2-way mess in the first place so now it's a problem for some early adopters.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:59 AM   #1669
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while i dont think the OP got baited and switched (becasue I dont think it was intended on the cable company's part)-

how does the inability to cancel have anything to do with bait and switch?
The terms of service are almost always changeable by the provider. You can't claim bait and switch just because the terms and/or service change after you joined unless they changed the service during a contract period where you cannot bail-out on the service.
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:55 AM   #1670
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how does the inability to cancel have anything to do with bait and switch?
Because the promise made is to provide one month's worth of service for a price, subject to a service spec. They provide that month. Then there is another month. And another. Then they change the spec. At that point, IF you can cancel, then it isn't bait and switch, because you haven't purchased the service for the month yet.

On the other hand, if you cannot cancel, and they promised something to you for that period of time, and then they don't provide it anymore, THAT would be bait and switch.

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In fact I think the classic bait and switch
You're welcome to remain incorrect.

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You can't claim bait and switch just because the terms and/or service change after you joined unless they changed the service during a contract period where you cannot bail-out on the service.
Indeed (that is unless the contract included provisions that let them make such changes, in which case not even that would be bait and switch).
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Old 06-09-2008, 12:18 PM   #1671
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That is correct. This doesn't mean it is able to control the native TiVo UI, beyond adding folders and menus, which any HMO or HME app can do right now.
I'm doubting that it will even be able to add folders and menus (other than some kind of OCAP diags, like the CableCARD ones).
Quote:
Correct again, except that I am not quite certain about its access to the drives. In order to be OCAP, the CATV system has to be ableto load its software onto the device. TiVo could hypotehtically limit such downloads to a section of non-volatile RAM, but I would think they would load it into the hard drive. I've only glanced at TiVo's proposition, but if I were TiVo's engineers, it is how I would manage it. It's true the CATV system couldn't load content to the program partitions.
Where and how an OCAP compliant device store downloaded apps is up to them--any persistent store will do, and if TiVo wants to put them on its HDD, I'm sure that it can. What I'm referring to is access to the drive by applications running in the OCAP environment. I'm sure that there's some kind of feature data block that can be read by OCAP applications (like VESA's E-EDID block for video device attributes) and that "TiVo Series4" will report that it doesn't have permanent disk storage, whereas the Explorer 8300HDC running an OCAP platform (like SA's Axiom product) would disclose that it does have a disk drive and that the applications can use some OCAP API for manipulating DVR functions. I'd imagine that any OCAP-compliant device is required to provide a certain amount of persistent storage for configuration recording and state checkpointing purposes, but that requirement is probably only for a few MB at most.

I know that many TiVo users, on hearing this idea, panic with the thought that TiVo is turning over control of the box to the cable company and forcing them to use the generally inferior GUIs, but that's not true. You'd only have to use the crappy cable-provider box GUI when accessing their interactive services, like IPPV and VOD. If you don't use that stuff, you never have to deal with the cable provider's interface.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:15 PM   #1672
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Well it is all subjective, isn't it?
The fact the apellation contained the term "good" made it entirely so from the outset.

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I would counsel against any TW customer in San Antonio getting Tivo if they have HD. Almost ALL of the stations I watched in HD are "embargoed" and yes I will be writing the FCC.
Almost none of the SDV channels are legacy channels. Virtually all of them have been added since SDV was put in place. You can't get them unless you have SDV capability, but then you couldn't get them before SDV was deployed, wither.

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No one is a bigger Tivo fan. I got it in Chicago when it came out and set it up in minutes.
San Antonio is not required to provide the same channels you were able to get in Chicago.

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I am disappointed in Tivo, Time Warner & the FCC.
What do you suggest TiVo should have done differently? Bear in mind they are in business to make a profit, not to enter into ruinous ventures just to please mklitt. Given that paradigm, what should they have done differently? Waited 3 - 4 more years before delivering the S3?

What do you suggest Time Warner shuold have done differently? Stayed with 120 or so channels so no one could receive the new channels and services they have added?

I can't say I'm disappointed with the FCC. They are performing exactly to my expectiations and how I would have predicted. Near useless waste of taxpayers money is what government bureacracies do.

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This seems like bait and switch on the part of TW to me.

They took away my channels without warning in San Antionio.
Name 10 channels formerly available to a TiVo in HD that are not available to the TiVo in HD now. Name 10 channels formerly available in SD that are not available to the TiVo in any format now. Adding unavailable new channels or unavailable HD versions of old channels that were not available to you in the first place is not taking something away from you. It does constitue giving someone else somethng you can't get for the same price, but that is not the same thing.

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So if you don't watch the same HD I do and you are happy with TW SAT, I am glad for you.
Happy? Surely not. I'm not happy I have to pay for CATV service at all. I'm even far more unhappy that I am forced to pay far, far more for things like sports programs, soap operas, sitcoms, and "reality" television on Network broadcasts. At least with cable I have a choice, and it's far less expensive. I am also unhappy I don't have access to all the HD programming I would like. Not being happy and being unreasonable in my expectations are two different thngs. Note that reasonability requires understanding and taking into account the limitations under which all the involved parties are placed.

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But believe me, I think I am in the majority here. There are a lot of people who bought HD to watch nature programs and sports (college basketball & WNBA). Just walk in any Best Buy and see what is on the HD TVs. And that is what I am not getting.
The cable company is not responsible for your choice of purchases, and are in no way bound ethically, morally, or legally to acquiesce to any demands based solely on the amount of money you paid to someone else. If anyone thinks the amount of money they are spending on what they DO receive is exhorbitant, then that individual is a fool to continue to purchase the service, no matter what the volume of content might be. If, on the other hand, the cost of the services is acceptable, then how much content someone else gets for the same price is irrelevant to that decision. That such being the case may represent an unfair advantage to some customers does not diminish the value of the services provided. In case you hadn't noticed, life is not fair. There are plenty of people who work much harder than you (or I) who do not receive as much compensation in a year as was paid for your TV setup, so don't whine to me about being fair, either.

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Old 06-09-2008, 04:34 PM   #1673
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Well it is all subjective, isn't it? I would counsel against any TW customer in San Antonio getting Tivo if they have HD. Almost ALL of the stations I watched in HD are "embargoed" and yes I will be writing the FCC.
Check out the "TWC Hawaii moving all HD to SDV" thread--unlike San Antonio, those people actually did lose all of the good stuff 9 or 10 months ago and the FCC isn't interested in hearing their woes. TWC Oceanic took every HD channel except the local OTA DTV rebroadcasts and presented them as SDV, acing TiVo Series3 owners and all other CableCARD users out of cable HDTV. (None of the local DTV channels was actually broadcasting any HD at the time, though that may have since changed).

The fact is that using SDV to provide a giant increase in broadcast channels (by and by) doesn't break any rules, and is the cheapest and quickest route that cable had to stepping up to compete with DirecTV's "up to 150 HD channels" challenge. The use of SDV affects a tiny minority of their users, and the industry's willing and speedy (for cable) deployment of the Tuning Adapter solution for TiVo is a miracle of cooperation which will protect them from FCC reprisal (if any were forthcoming). Anything that the FCC does to block the use of SDV would effectively constitute restraint of trade, despite the fact that SDV breaks unidirectional CableCARD.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:59 PM   #1674
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I'm doubting that it will even be able to add folders and menus (other than some kind of OCAP diags, like the CableCARD ones).
Which means they can, even if only in strictly limited fashion, but the main point is they won't be able to willy-nilly dump the TiVo UI for standard TiVo operation.

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Where and how an OCAP compliant device store downloaded apps is up to them--any persistent store will do, and if TiVo wants to put them on its HDD, I'm sure that it can.
Which is pretty much what I believed you were suggesting, but I thought it best to make the point clear. The software, even if it contains truly insidious code, will be uploaded to some part of the Tivo and could potentially do various harm at all sorts of levels - one might presume not deliberately on the part of the CATV company, and not necessarily one of which the user might ever be aware. Of course, this is the chance any user takes when software is loaded onto their device, but in this case the user has no choice. That's a big difference.

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I'd imagine that any OCAP-compliant device is required to provide a certain amount of persistent storage for configuration recording and state checkpointing purposes, but that requirement is probably only for a few MB at most.
A virus or trojan may only require a few bytes. Code which accidentally locks up the OS on a regular basis doesn't take any more room than pristine code, either. Pathetically crafted code... well, there's nothing that prevents garbage from being compact.

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I know that many TiVo users, on hearing this idea, panic with the thought that TiVo is turning over control of the box to the cable company and forcing them to use the generally inferior GUIs, but that's not true.
Exactly. It is not true, and for some reason it is difficult to get people to understand the fact. OCAP / tru2way has some serious drawbacks, but engendering requisite damage to the UI is not one of them.

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You'd only have to use the crappy cable-provider box GUI when accessing their interactive services, like IPPV and VOD. If you don't use that stuff, you never have to deal with the cable provider's interface.
Or other features. The problem I have, other than the fact the CATV company gets to unilaterally decide what software and "features" they load on my equipment, is that the CATV company can choose to prevent us from using 3rd party applications to provide interactive services. Those who displike TiVo Desktop, for example, can use Galleon or pyTivo, or write their own HME / HMO scripts. If OCAP / tru2way allowed me to refuse to load any specific apps I chose or to load my own apps, it would be OK. I have no problem with a requirtement the code pass a publicly published spec verification, either, as long as the user has control over what the CATV company does on our own equipment and the right to put whatever we want on that equipment ourselves, provided of course it does not damage the CATV company's resources.

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Old 06-09-2008, 05:10 PM   #1675
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Check out the "TWC Hawaii moving all HD to SDV" thread--unlike San Antonio, those people actually did lose all of the good stuff 9 or 10 months ago and the FCC isn't interested in hearing their woes.
Yes, while I am not overjoyed not to be able to receive a number of additional HD and SD offerrings, other poster's comments notwithstanding, and while there are many things about the TWC San Antonio operation I despise, I think their approach to this issue has been relatively even handed and deliberately crafted to provide somewhat of a minimum of impact to customers all around. They could have said, "If it's digital and not local, you're not getting it without some of our STBs / DVRs."

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Old 06-10-2008, 07:56 AM   #1676
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TWC could just as easily added those hundreds of cable channels that are rarely watched in significant numbers to SDV instead of adding a bunch of HD channels. They did not. No laws broken. That doesn't make it right.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:44 PM   #1677
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Here's an article about some growing pains with Tru2Way.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:47 AM   #1678
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Is Cablevision making the transition to SDV in NJ? I haven't seen any announcements about it, however, slowly but surely, I'm seeing the specialized interest HD channels disappearing from my TiVo, but are available on my S2 w/box.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:20 AM   #1679
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Is Cablevision making the transition to SDV in NJ? I haven't seen any announcements about it, however, slowly but surely, I'm seeing the specialized interest HD channels disappearing from my TiVo, but are available on my S2 w/box.
That's probably what's happening. Apparently Cablevision in NYC has been using SDV for the past year. Eventually I expect every provider to use it, with Cox probably making the transition last, since they converted just about all of their systems to 1GHz capacity last year, giving them the most leeway.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:48 PM   #1680
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Eventually I expect every provider to use it, with Cox probably making the transition last, since they converted just about all of their systems to 1GHz capacity last year, giving them the most leeway.
I don't know about that. Cox has already deployed SDV in Virginia and Phoenix and here in Orange County they sent out letters to all cablecard subscribers back in March saying SDV would go live sometime in April (though I think they are late on deployment as I can still tune with my Tivos channels they listed as going SDV in the letter). The node upgrades to 1GHz are completed in many cities in Orange County and they are already using up to 850MHz for some of the newer HD channels deployed recently. It's likely most of their headend video equipment is only good to 850MHz and I'm pretty sure even the most recent set top boxes can only tune to 850MHz, so they can't use bandwidth above 850MHz for video services. Also they have announced intent to keep analog channels at least until 2012, so don't believe they will be cutting many of those any time soon to free up space. Finally, Cox corporate announced intent to provide up to 100 HD channels by end of 2009 which keeps the pressure on SDV deployment as one of the tools needed to accomplish that goal.
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