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Old 07-16-2013, 05:59 PM   #1
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TiVo Petitions FCC to Insure Consumer Access to CableCARD

http://www.multichannel.com/distribu...its-dvr/144432

Tivo has petitioned the FCC to guarantee that cable customers can continue to use retail set-top boxes with CableCARDS.

That follows a court decision in which EchoStar won its challenge to FCC rules on the ability to record TV programming. The issue was not CableCARDS, but it raised questions about cable obligations to support consumer access to the cards, according to Tivo, which it wants the FCC to clear up since those CableCARDS also allow access to TiVo recording devices.

The actual 31 page filing can be read here --> http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520930889

At the Cable Show in Washington last month, FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake said that one of the "sleeper" issues at the FCC, or more like one that had him tossing and turning in bed, was where to go with navigation devices after the courts essentially threw out the CableCard rules while preserving the integration ban. The question of what downloadable security should be included in navigation devices remains, he said.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:31 PM   #2
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From TiVo's Petition...

Quote:
As an independent seller of CableCARD-reliant products TiVo is already subject to too many impositions not put on operator-leased devices.

TiVo owners must endure CableCARD installation pairing issues which operator-provided boxes do not endure since operator-provided boxes can be paired by the operator before arriving at a customer’s home. TiVo owners must also deal with an add-on set-top device in systems that employ “switched digital” techniques, and by terms of the DFAST license cannot request cable programming, such as video-on-demand through upstream communication.
Quote:
This comes at a time when retail CableCARD devices grew by 8 percent in 2012, and CableCARD-equipped set-top boxes grew by 22 percent. This would also come at a time when in addition to TiVo devices, consumers are seeing greater choice from new CableCARD devices from Samsung and Ceton Corp.

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Old 07-16-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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Regarding alternatives

Regarding a CableCARD successor...

Quote:
CableCARD is a more than decade-old technology and far more modern and elegant security solutions are feasible. TiVo has long supported the idea of alternative security solutions so long as they actually enable retail competition. Indeed, a successor solution that is bidirectional and that applies to all MVPDs is needed to truly create a level-playing field among all MVPDs and among MVPD-provided and retail navigation devices. The point here is merely that CableCARD is a realized solution and it must be supported until a new solution that can actually enable retail competition is available. In the Third R&O, even though it had just begun considering the feasibility of an AllVid gateway as a successor technology for CableCARD, the Commission noted that “CableCARD is a realized technology — consumer electronics manufacturers can build to and are building to the standard today.”55 There, the Commission went on to enact a number of regulations designed to strengthen the CableCARD rules, improve the consumer experience and strengthen retail competition. Here, following the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Echostar, the Commission should act to remove uncertainty regarding the CableCARD standard even as it continues to explore successor solutions consistent with the goals of Section 629.

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Old 07-16-2013, 09:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sbiller View Post
That follows a court decision in which EchoStar won its challenge to FCC rules on the ability to record TV programming.
*Ensure*, not *insure*.. Sorry.. (not really)

But can you summarize this quoted part?

This sounds like a reversal of the Sony vs. Universal (AFAIK) precedent setting lawsuit.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbiller View Post
http://www.multichannel.com/distribu...its-dvr/144432

Tivo has petitioned the FCC to guarantee that cable customers can continue to use retail set-top boxes with CableCARDS.

That follows a court decision in which EchoStar won its challenge to FCC rules on the ability to record TV programming. The issue was not CableCARDS, but it raised questions about cable obligations to support consumer access to the cards, according to Tivo, which it wants the FCC to clear up since those CableCARDS also allow access to TiVo recording devices.

The actual 31 page filing can be read here --> http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520930889

At the Cable Show in Washington last month, FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake said that one of the "sleeper" issues at the FCC, or more like one that had him tossing and turning in bed, was where to go with navigation devices after the courts essentially threw out the CableCard rules while preserving the integration ban. The question of what downloadable security should be included in navigation devices remains, he said.
Sam, what happen if FCC rules NOT to extend this?
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattack View Post
*Ensure*, not *insure*.. Sorry.. (not really)

But can you summarize this quoted part?

This sounds like a reversal of the Sony vs. Universal (AFAIK) precedent setting lawsuit.
That was the headline on the multichannel blog... but correct 'ensure' is the correct usage.

Regarding the Echostar ruling, I took a quick look at the ruling.

Quote:
DISH challenges two orders of the Federal
Communications Commission because they impose “encoding
rules,” which limit the means of encoding that cable and
satellite service providers may employ to prevent unauthorized
access to their broadcasts. We conclude the FCC lacked
statutory authority to impose these rules and grant DISH’s
petitions for review. Multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”)
— a category that includes both cable and satellite television
service providers — commonly offer access to their content
through navigation devices, such as converter boxes. See 47
C.F.R. § 76.1200(a)–(c). Traditionally, cable television
subscribers leased their navigation devices directly from their
cable providers. See Gen. Instrument Corp. v. FCC, 213 F.3d
724, 727 (D.C. Cir. 2000). But Congress, anxious to create
separate markets for navigation devices and cable television
services, added § 629 to the Communications Act as part of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. See id. That provision
attempts to strike a balance: On the one hand, § 629 directs the
FCC to “adopt regulations to assure the commercial
availability” of “equipment used by consumers to access
[MVP] services . . . from [independent] manufacturers,
retailers, and other vendors.” 47 U.S.C. § 549(a). At the
same time, the regulations must not “jeopardize security of
multichannel video programming . . . or impede the legal rights
of a provider of such services to prevent theft of service.” Id.
§ 549(b). Achieving this dual mandate demands technical
standardization among MVPDs so that navigation devices can
be marketed nationally while still proving capable of thwarting
unauthorized access to service.
The court ruled that the dual mandate went too far and vacated a portion of the 'encoding rules' that includes CableCARD... at least that is my quick view on the ruling. The recent Charter Waiver request from the Media Bureau essentially poured more fuel on the fire acknowledging that the Echostar ruling essentially allows cable operators to provide alternative means of meeting the separable security mandate. In the case of Charter, they could stop supplying CableCARDs to customers once they have the downloadable security in place and 'one retail device' is available in the market (per the ruling).

More research is needed to fully understand TiVo's 31 page filing and the law associated with the Echostar ruling, etc.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:34 AM   #7
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Sam, what happen if FCC rules NOT to extend this?
I think there is a risk that the US Market could become bifurcated with some larger providers moving to a somewhat proprietary encryption/encoding system that might not be compatible with CableCARD equipped boxes until such time as TiVo releases a new box compatible with the newer technology.

TiVo has argued and I have supported via my FCC filings that 'common reliance' and a 'national portable standard' is required to ensure retail access across ALL cable operators.

I think there is a high probability that the FCC does provide some clarity that will ensure continued access to CableCARD for the foreseeable future -- at least until such point that the successor to CableCARD, likely some sort of universal, open, two-way, secure, IP access to the video pipe, is available.

I think it is likely that we will be using CableCARDs in our TiVo's for a very long time. I suppose it is possible that at some point there could be a Tuning Adapter type device in our home to keep our 'legacy' TiVo's running with 'newer' cable operator technology.

I do think that the Series 5 might be the last of the CableCARD equipped TiVo boxes and the Series 6 will likely have some sort of universal and embedded security.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:59 AM   #8
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Am I the only one who is tried of fighting for CableCARD? I mean, seriously. It never lived up to it's expectation (CableCARD 2.0, anyone) and was always a pain to implement. I understand TiVo's position to stick with what works, but would rather spend my energy on getting the FCC to implement a replacement then to ensure that CableCARD lives for many more years.

I understand it is important to ensure there is a replacement before letting CC go. If CC stopped working today, I'd sooner stop watching TV then to get a FiOS DVR.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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Agreed, but the problem here is that the FCC is dropping the ball on an IP standard to succeed cards, and rolled over/played dead on AllVid when the MSOs told them it was too much hassle. If the ridiculous and unfathomable Charter security waiver is not proof that they don't have the right people making these calls I don't know what is - basically all Charter has to do is get one STB maker to release an obscure Charter STB (using their proprietary security) at retail and they can dump new card installs.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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Zatz chimes in...

http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2013-07/...out-cablecard/
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:39 PM   #11
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If the cable companies are allowed to eliminate cable cards, are they going to just ditch the millions of cable card set-top boxes they are currently using? Seems like it would take years to phase out cablecards anyway. Then Tivo can sell you a new DVR with the new standard.

The cable companies want to replace cablecards with downloadable security because it's cheaper. Why wouldn't manufacturers be willing to build third party devices with downloadable security, since they would benefit from the cost savings and pass it along to the consumer?

Cablecards were horrible and caused Tivo to lose millions of subscribers. Tivo had to refocus their business to providing DVRs for the Cable companies. Perhaps Tivo could recoup some of the third party subscriptions that they lost previously with cablecards with the new downloadable security standard.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:59 PM   #12
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No, the cable companies would still have to support EXISTING cable cards, but they would no longer be required to deploy "new" ones.

The end result? EVENTUALLY, a cable company could become a self contained entity once the existing cable cards are phased out.

...or at least that's my take.
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:24 PM   #13
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If the cable companies are allowed to eliminate cable cards, are they going to just ditch the millions of cable card set-top boxes they are currently using? Seems like it would take years to phase out cablecards anyway. Then Tivo can sell you a new DVR with the new standard.

The cable companies want to replace cablecards with downloadable security because it's cheaper. Why wouldn't manufacturers be willing to build third party devices with downloadable security, since they would benefit from the cost savings and pass it along to the consumer?

Cablecards were horrible and caused Tivo to lose millions of subscribers. Tivo had to refocus their business to providing DVRs for the Cable companies. Perhaps Tivo could recoup some of the third party subscriptions that they lost previously with cablecards with the new downloadable security standard.
Replacing cable cards isn't the issue. What is of concern is having each cable company replace cable cards with software that is propitiatory, which is what Charter wants to do. You could end up needing different equipment for each provider (like the satellite companies now) which could/would kill third party equipment.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by shwru980r View Post
The cable companies want to replace cablecards with downloadable security because it's cheaper. Why wouldn't manufacturers be willing to build third party devices with downloadable security, since they would benefit from the cost savings and pass it along to the consumer?
One of the previous times this came up didn't cable companies want to tie the downloadable security to downloadable UI?

Kind of hard to make a retail case for buying you expensive DVR service if the UI is still going to look just like a stock cable co DVR. (Or at least large parts of it will).


Whether 3rd parties want to play along with downloadable security would depend on 1) what it's bundled with, and 2) how standardized the client requirements are (can they make one hardware design and sell it nationwide or does each cable co require a specialized box)
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:35 PM   #15
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There was an interesting panel discussion called, "The Right Regulatory Approaches for Video Service Providers."

Bill Lake, the Commissioner of the FCC's Media Bureau had some interesting comments during the discussion. There are other tidbits in here as well but one highlight is quoted below.

The entire transcript is linked here -> http://www.freestatefoundation.org/i...t_Panel_II.pdf

Quote:
MS. TATE: I think it was Gigi that brought up the devices, and what has happened. Obviously, we heard in the last panel about Xbox and whether or not that should be able to perform 911 functions or whatever. Increasingly, there are all types of futures for video, WiFi, for tablets, TV Everywhere, and going to the cloud. But the FCC proposed to regulate video devices more comprehensively with the AllVid notice. So what is the road ahead for video devices? And then, Bill, you might just tell us where the AllVid proceeding is.

MR. LAKE: Yes. The AllVid proposal is still out there. We've continued to watch the developments in the marketplace. And there have been a lot of developments since we've made that proposal. I'd like to hope and think that maybe the proposal would help to spur some of those developments.
One thing that's happened is it's clear that whole home solutions are something that consumers increasingly want. They just don't want one box in each room separately. They want a system in which they can record in this room and watch in that room, and so forth. One thing we did last year was to impose the requirement that boxes have an IP output. Whatever the status of that first box in the home, we wanted to make sure that there was a retail marketplace for all the other boxes that would be connected to it. And that would be enabled by having an IP output on the first box.

Whether that rule survives the EchoStar decision is an open question. We know that our CableCARD regime took a real hit in that decision. One of the things we're thinking about is what we do in terms of reinstating some or any of those rules. And, we're thinking very much about what will be the replacement for the CableCARD regime in an IP world. It's not designed for an IP world.

The AllVid solution was proposed at a time when we were farther from an IP world than we are today. So we're open for suggestions as to exactly how we ought to treat the whole set-top box issue when cable has gone IP.

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Old 07-17-2013, 05:36 PM   #16
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Replacing cable cards isn't the issue. What is of concern is having each cable company replace cable cards with software that is propitiatory, which is what cox wants to do. You could end up needing different equipment for each provider (like the satellite companies now) which could/would kill third party equipment.
Did you mean to write Charter? If not, do you have a link to a Cox statement?
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:03 PM   #17
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I doubt Comcast would drop CableCards, but if they do, I have 1-800-DirecTV ready to go. The problem is, if they did, the value of my now $1650 of TiVo hardware would plummet. Although if they replaced it with a software system, or even had a software system as an option, I'd be rather happy. CableCards really suck, and seem to randomly lose sync at the most inopportune times.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:04 PM   #18
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It would also be awesome if DirecTV would step up to the plate and support TiVo Premieres through a MoCA-enabled SWiM 5 gateway, but that will probably happen when Hell freezes over...

I also hope that the next generation of gateways is also applicable to DirecTV and DISH. It would be nice having four options that with TiVo, not just the two cable companies.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:21 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by shwru980r View Post
If the cable companies are allowed to eliminate cable cards, are they going to just ditch the millions of cable card set-top boxes they are currently using? Seems like it would take years to phase out cablecards anyway. Then Tivo can sell you a new DVR with the new standard.
Just take a look north at Canada where there is CableCard mandate. Yes, the cable boxes have CableCards, but they're locked to the boxes. And the cable companies only activate their own boxes - if the numbers don't match up, they won't activate it. So even if you moved the card over, it won't work. If they didn't sell the box to you, they won't activate it. (Even if it's the exact same box, just from another provider). It's only a matter of time before they refuse to activate "used" boxes.

That's what the cable companies will do.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:26 AM   #20
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I doubt Comcast would drop CableCards, but if they do, I have 1-800-DirecTV ready to go. The problem is, if they did, the value of my now $1650 of TiVo hardware would plummet. Although if they replaced it with a software system, or even had a software system as an option, I'd be rather happy. CableCards really suck, and seem to randomly lose sync at the most inopportune times.
Is you idea of a cable card replacement by software to work on TiVo Series 3 and Series 4 and most likely Series 5 TiVos, if so how, a different type card that plug into the CC slot ?
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:25 AM   #21
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Did you mean to write Charter? If not, do you have a link to a Cox statement?
Fixed sorry for the mix up.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:14 AM   #22
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Is you idea of a cable card replacement by software to work on TiVo Series 3 and Series 4 and most likely Series 5 TiVos, if so how, a different type card that plug into the CC slot ?
I expect that a downloadable security successor would not be backward compatible with existing boxes. There would be a very long period where the cable operators would be required to support CableCARD. There is the possibility of some external box a la Tuning Adapter (kludge) as well for legacy boxes.

What should have happened but didn’t was a downloadable software-only successor should have been introduced that would have been nationally portable across all cable operators. There was a push for this a few years back that never came to fruition. That would have been a simple change to replace the hardware CableCARD with a software alternative that retail devices could adopt. AllVid was way more complicated as is are the proposed IP standards that include provisions for two-way control of IP content that are mandated in 2014.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:14 AM   #23
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I expect that a downloadable security successor would not be backward compatible with existing boxes. There would be a very long period where the cable operators would be required to support CableCARD. There is the possibility of some external box a la Tuning Adapter (kludge) as well for legacy boxes.

What should have happened but didn’t was a downloadable software-only successor should have been introduced that would have been nationally portable across all cable operators. There was a push for this a few years back that never came to fruition. That would have been a simple change to replace the hardware CableCARD with a software alternative that retail devices could adopt. AllVid was way more complicated as is are the proposed IP standards that include provisions for two-way control of IP content that are mandated in 2014.
I never had any problem taking out Lifetime Service on any TiVo I got as I did not think that TiVo going out of business and the TiVo guide data stopping was much of a risk, but cable card going out of use, that would be a real problem, unless new TiVos had both a cable card slot and the software alternative built in, than one could upgrade to the new type TiVo and still sell the cable card only TiVo on E-Bay, if cable cards would still be supported for at least 5 or more years.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:08 PM   #24
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The end result? EVENTUALLY, a cable company could become a self contained entity once the existing cable cards are phased out.

...or at least that's my take.
I thought a commodity based chip would be used to implement downloadable security. Can't the third party boxes use that same chip?
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:11 PM   #25
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I thought a commodity based chip would be used to implement downloadable security. Can't the third party boxes use that same chip?
Sure. That's the Charter proposed solution. TiVo can make a unique box for n Markets where n = 1 to 10...

If the cable monopoly is able to create unique box requirements in each market than TiVo's retail business is essentially dead.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:27 PM   #26
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Is you idea of a cable card replacement by software to work on TiVo Series 3 and Series 4 and most likely Series 5 TiVos, if so how, a different type card that plug into the CC slot ?
No, it would just eliminate the CC and switch the whole thing over to software that Comcast could push through TiVo in real-time to the boxes. Although I'm sensing the TP's processor would buckle under the load...
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:56 PM   #27
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No, it would just eliminate the CC and switch the whole thing over to software that Comcast could push through TiVo in real-time to the boxes.
What fool would trust Comcast to write good code and not deliberately sabotage the TiVo?
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:21 PM   #28
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What fool would trust Comcast to write good code and not deliberately sabotage the TiVo?
They did it with XoD. That's outside of CableCard. Although you could argue it's because they make money off of it, and they were losing potential movie rentals on TiVos that the FCC forced them to support.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:38 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by sbiller View Post
The court ruled that the dual mandate went too far and vacated a portion of the 'encoding rules' that includes CableCARD... at least that is my quick view on the ruling. The recent Charter Waiver request from the Media Bureau essentially poured more fuel on the fire acknowledging that the Echostar ruling essentially allows cable operators to provide alternative means of meeting the separable security mandate. In the case of Charter, they could stop supplying CableCARDs to customers once they have the downloadable security in place and 'one retail device' is available in the market (per the ruling).

More research is needed to fully understand TiVo's 31 page filing and the law associated with the Echostar ruling, etc.
Sorry, more nitpicking. I see nothing in there, or the stuff you quoted, that argues against "the ability to record TV programming". Unauthorized access != recording.
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:09 AM   #30
sbiller
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TiVo's Matt Zinn Meets with the FCC

http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=6017459278
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