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Old 11-20-2007, 04:31 PM   #631
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Actually, I kind of like this approach, as long as it's temporary. My wife was very disappointed to hear that moving to CC's from a STB ended up reducing the number of hours available on my Tivo HD + Expander disk from 800 to 400.
Actually, unless you record everything at basic or medium quality, recording digital channels should save you disk space. In my system digital channels recordings are definitely smaller than "best" analog, usually smaller than "high", sometimes smaller than "medium" and never smaller than "low". Your cable company may not compress the signal as well though.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:15 PM   #632
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Actually, unless you record everything at basic or medium quality, recording digital channels should save you disk space. In my system digital channels recordings are definitely smaller than "best" analog, usually smaller than "high", sometimes smaller than "medium" and never smaller than "low". Your cable company may not compress the signal as well though.
See, but that's the problem...normally we did record everything at Basic when we had analog, because then we could get 300 hours from my Humax S2. Adding the DVR Expander to my new Tivo HD, I calculated I would get the equivalent of 800 hours. But actually, it's more like 400. Digital channels take up twice as much as Basic.

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Old 11-20-2007, 11:21 PM   #633
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Since SA and Moto systems are not compatible (which is why you can't use a Moto cableCARD is a SA cable system and vice-versa) I'm not sure what this means for SDV in SA areas.
They aren't compatible from an encryption standpoint but does that mean they are completely incompatible in all aspects or could some conversion layer handle mapping SDV high-level functionality to hardware specific function?
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:33 AM   #634
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Tuning resolver

I'd like to understand a bit more about the technical challenge of the "tuning resolver". The first message in this thread gives a nice high-level overview. But how much is known about the details of the protocol? Has anyone with SDV on their cable service tried to "snoop" the communications going back and forth from their set-top box? Would this protocol be largely the same on all of the cable systems adopting SDV, or are there major incompatibilities between cable systems? Should we be expecting one, universal device coming from TiVo? Or might we see some cable companies offering solutions while other companies do not?
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:20 AM   #635
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The technical challenge is mostly matching the low level protocols and formats the headend expects, and to a certain degree security.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:08 AM   #636
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I'd like to understand a bit more about the technical challenge of the "tuning resolver". The first message in this thread gives a nice high-level overview. But how much is known about the details of the protocol? Has anyone with SDV on their cable service tried to "snoop" the communications going back and forth from their set-top box? Would this protocol be largely the same on all of the cable systems adopting SDV, or are there major incompatibilities between cable systems? Should we be expecting one, universal device coming from TiVo? Or might we see some cable companies offering solutions while other companies do not?
AS has been stated, there are basically 2 different protocols to which TiVo would need to adapt. The TWC Protocol (SA) and the Comcast NGOD (Moto) protocol. There are basically three points of integration to get SDV working on any CE device, not just TiVo.
The first is the ability to read a dynamic channel map off of the cable plant. The plans for SDV include the ability to rapidly and frequently change which channels are broadcast and which are switched. This is typiclly done by reading either an IB or OOB carousel. This is very different between an SA and a Moto plant.
The second is generating a client that can speak "SDV", so to speak. It will need to be able to self-discover a service group, set up a session and tune to the returned freq+program number. Self-Discovery is typically done by reading TSIDs off of the IB. The session setup protocol is very different between the TWC solution and the Comcast solution.
The third is the actual ability for 2 way communication. This is the problem that the dongle is proposed to solve.

So, even if they do get the tuning resolver done there will still be a software development effort and then an even more complicated deployment strategy as each TiVo will need to know what type of SDV protocol to implement and be able to implement them all.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:39 AM   #637
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I'd imagined that the dongle would be like CableCARDs, an adapter to the proprietary protocols on the wire for the TiVo. Any proprietary protocols would be encapsulated in the dongle (which is why'd they'd have to come from the cable providers) and the TiVo would speak a new "dongle protocol" to it to request channel mappings and to receive SDV-related requests from the system. I considered the possibility of the dongle being a primitive tranceiver to implement the physical layer on whatever OOB frequencies are being used for SDV, with TiVo implementing everything else internally, but that'd require that every proprietary SDV protocol be licensed to TiVo. Messy.
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:02 PM   #638
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Being the resolver will likely be used on boxes other than TiVos, it behooves the cable provider to make the Dongle as smart as possible.
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:18 PM   #639
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Sounds like the Carterphone Decision all over again...sigh.
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:04 AM   #640
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I considered the possibility of the dongle being a primitive tranceiver to implement the physical layer on whatever OOB frequencies are being used for SDV, with TiVo implementing everything else internally, but that'd require that every proprietary SDV protocol be licensed to TiVo. Messy.
On the contrary, that seems to be the most elegant, compact, and extensible solution to me. All the protocol is handled in software that TiVo can integrate into existing code and it can be upgraded through existing infrastructure. The dongle is just a dumb piece of cheap hardware that could be (but probably won't be) given away because it has practically no inherent value. This would allow the most flexible path for future upgrades beyond just SDV to allowing other two-way applications, even an OCAP capability if necessary.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:58 AM   #641
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http://www.twice.com/article/CA6504997.html

"Digital Video Recorder supplier TiVo said it will introduce next year an external adapter that will enable TiVo digital video recorders that use CableCARDs to access switched digital cable channels without a set top box."

--

"Cable operators will make the new adapters available for TiVo customers in the second quarter of 2008, TiVo said. "


More info through link, above.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:12 AM   #642
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Here's the official press release:

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/st...nktopagebottom

This is big news. It is both an official acknowledgment by the NCTA that its member will support this solution, and provides a time-frame for it.

The value of TiVo S3 and HD has effectively shot up today.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:45 AM   #643
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Still no talk of pricing.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:52 AM   #644
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This is big news. It is both an official acknowledgment by the NCTA that its member will support this solution, and provides a time-frame for it.
No doubt it is big news. I'm not holding my breath yet though. When was the last time one of its members actually met a scheduled time frame without asking for an extension? I'll look for it to actually be available very late 2008 for an additional monthly fee.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:13 PM   #645
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Great news indeed!
I foresee many calls to my local cable company and clueless CSRs asking about availability.
The other problem I foresee is that currently my cable company already intentionally leaves channels slated for SDV deployment out of the channel map for cablecard customers, so they will have to come up with an alternate channel map for cablecard customers with the tuning resolver, or make it the same map as the digital set top boxes if possible.

However, these issues probably can be overcome and I'm really pleased to see Tivo & NCTA being so pro-active on this issue.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:38 PM   #646
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On the contrary, that seems to be the most elegant, compact, and extensible solution to me. All the protocol is handled in software that TiVo can integrate into existing code and it can be upgraded through existing infrastructure. The dongle is just a dumb piece of cheap hardware that could be (but probably won't be) given away because it has practically no inherent value. This would allow the most flexible path for future upgrades beyond just SDV to allowing other two-way applications, even an OCAP capability if necessary.
There is elegance to such a design on the engineering side but business-wise it sucks. Any proprietary protocols should be encapsulated in the dongle--just as they are in the CableCARDs--allowing TiVo and any other interested OEMs with unidirectional CableCARD devices with USB connections and field-upgradeable firmware to implement their part of this without obtaining and maintaining licensing from Motorola, S-A and/or BigBand Networks and C-COR, which the cable providers already have to do for SDV as implemented in their headends and leased STBs. Placing the protocols in the dongles also minimizes the impact on memory in the UDCP devices which would use them, making more of them eligible.

There are pluses and minuses on both sides but to my mind it comes down heavily in favor of the encapsulate-the-protocols-in-cable-provider-distributed-device solution, which is where they appear to be going. Even the opportunity to charge additional monthly fees for the lease of these things provides incentive to the cable industry to comply; they have the least to gain, since they only stand to lose some fraction of a very small TiVo-owner market, which won't get any bigger without some solution to this SDV thing.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:50 PM   #647
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Still no talk of pricing.
Hopefully that's because they won't (nor SHOULDN'T) charge any extra for this!
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:18 PM   #648
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I don't know if this has been posted but I got this in my email this morning:

http://www.broadcastnewsroom.com/art....jsp?id=240599

A solution??

-Kyle
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:31 PM   #649
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I don't know if this has been posted but I got this in my email this morning:

http://www.broadcastnewsroom.com/art....jsp?id=240599

A solution??

-Kyle
Is it really that hard to read the last 4 or 5 posts of the big SDV thread?
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:59 PM   #650
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Is it really that hard to read the last 4 or 5 posts of the big SDV thread?
He did add a little to the discussion for me, since the previous PRs that I read were from TiVo and the NCTA, who'd already announced that they were working on this and that we should expect a solution from them. This CableLabs announcement makes it seem like they're going to be issuing the spec, which is interesting in and of itself.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:26 PM   #651
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Still no talk of pricing.
Expect pricing to be local.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:32 PM   #652
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Hopefully there won't need to be 1 dongle per CableCard??
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:22 PM   #653
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So I'm guessing this dongle is going to just be for SDV? Is there any reason this couldn't also be built to use it for pay per view or OnDemand type of channels?
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:13 PM   #654
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Hopefully there won't need to be 1 dongle per CableCard??
Sometimes I wonder just how ludicrous ideas like this ever even get started.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:16 PM   #655
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Fantastic, wonderful news. Now if we can just get Time Warner in Dallas to get more HD channels!!
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:42 PM   #656
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Sometimes I wonder just how ludicrous ideas like this ever even get started.
Why is it so ludicrous? The functionality is very closely tied to the cablecards for authentication purposes and right now S3s require a separate card for each tuner for authentication reasons (whether they are M-cards or S-cards). Without knowing the details of the "tuning resolver" I don't see how you can rule out the possibility of needing 1 per card.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:17 PM   #657
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part of me thinks the dongle only needs to tell upstream what channel is needed and get back a channel to tune to for it and they could certainly do that for both tuners with a single dongle. but then doesn't the dongle also need to keep the channel open so it appears in use and that might require more work to do both in the same dongle. if i'm the cable company having to design and build these things to keep a hand full of people happy and they want it quick then why bother building support for more than a single tuner in it? the more of them I lease the more monthly cash I take in.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:25 PM   #658
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Obviously not many engineering minds involved here.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:04 PM   #659
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but then doesn't the dongle also need to keep the channel open so it appears in use and that might require more work to do both in the same dongle.
Not necessarily... they could design it like DHCP leases. The dongle transmits that it wants a certain channel for a certain period of time. The magic server then approves the request and returns the assigned frequency and tells the dongle how long the frequency would be valid for. At some point during this lease, the dongle could send another request to continue accessing that channel on that frequency to maintain access to a switched channel.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:11 PM   #660
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Not necessarily... they could design it like DHCP leases. The dongle transmits that it wants a certain channel for a certain period of time. The magic server then approves the request and returns the assigned frequency and tells the dongle how long the frequency would be valid for. At some point during this lease, the dongle could send another request to continue accessing that channel on that frequency to maintain access to a switched channel.
Nice idea
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