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Old 08-28-2007, 05:47 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by GoHokies!
Just wait until the first skript kiddie finds a hole in the headend equipment to change the channel on every set tuned to an SDV channel in an entire state at the same time.
Why couldn't they do that by snooping the data on the cable and then reverse-engineering the protocol used by the existing SDV-capable set-top boxes? Why would the TiVo dongle be any more or less resistant to hacking?
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:05 PM   #92
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Whatever solution that the powers that be end up using, TiVo better pray that it is available soon... this situation with SDV is getting to be quite a problem for them. I'm sure I'm not alone in being a long-time TiVo user who currently would not recommend TiVoHD or the Series 3 as the first choice for a cable customer, because I'd hate for them to get it and not be able to get the HD channels they bought it for in the first place.
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:01 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by CharlesH
If one wants to fill the node with useless channels, just channel surf over all available channels on a regular basis.
Doesn't SDV decrement the reference count when you leave a channel?
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:07 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesH
Why couldn't they do that by snooping the data on the cable and then reverse-engineering the protocol used by the existing SDV-capable set-top boxes? Why would the TiVo dongle be any more or less resistant to hacking?
They could do that, if they lived in my neighborhood, and they could only affect folks on the same node as them (which you are correct, about the FCC proposal). My objection is to the folks that say it should be done via IP, opening up the node to IP traffic (which can come from anywhere). Instead of screwing with just their node, the skript kiddie can render anyone using the same hardware nationworldwide useless.
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:25 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by GoHokies!
My objection is to the folks that say it should be done via IP, opening up the node to IP traffic (which can come from anywhere). Instead of screwing with just their node, the skript kiddie can render anyone using the same hardware nationworldwide useless.
You are making assumptions about *your* implementation of an SDV Internet gateway that doesn't necessarily have to translate into the actual deployed implementation.

BTW why do you feel the traffic from a compromised DOCSIS modem is limited to your node only? There's a routable network/transport layer running over DOCSIS right?

If you want to say the reason they are going with the USB solution is because it is the least amount of work on their end and it integrates into the existing system, I would agree with that.

This security angle, I just don't buy. These guys run an ISP with megaloads of data running over their QAM network 24/7 and need to guarantee services are up and running while accepting random traffic from all over the net. I think they are perfectly capable of running an SDV Internet Gateway with very limited controlled traffic (they don't need to even respond to data from people they don't recognize)

Last edited by sfhub : 08-28-2007 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:32 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by sfhub
BTW why do you feel the traffic from a compromised DOCSIS modem is limited to your node only? There's a routable network/transport layer running over DOCSIS right?
The stripped-down little dongle need not support the (routable) IP protocol stack at all. It just needs a dumb link-level protocol (analogous to Ethernet) to its node or head-end (however they do it). While I agree that securing an IP connection is certainly straightforward, it seems to be a bit of overkill for the essentially link-level requirements of this problem.
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Old 08-29-2007, 05:45 AM   #97
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Bicker, why didn't the Burlington selectmen make 100% town coverage part of their license agreement with Verizon?
I'm not sure, but I think it was because subscription television service is not a major concern for the vast majority of people. We folks here who chat about these things online are anomalies.

And I wouldn't expect the town to go against Verizon on this. It is their company, their equipment, their costs, etc. It adversely affects me, but their policy is sound. I'd love to embarrass them into changing it, but I really don't have a leg to stand on, ethically, in objecting to what they're doing.
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Old 08-29-2007, 05:46 AM   #98
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Massachusetts Cable Choice & Competition Act?
The Act hasn't passed yet.
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Old 08-29-2007, 09:21 AM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesH
The stripped-down little dongle need not support the (routable) IP protocol stack at all. It just needs a dumb link-level protocol (analogous to Ethernet) to its node or head-end (however they do it). While I agree that securing an IP connection is certainly straightforward, it seems to be a bit of overkill for the essentially link-level requirements of this problem.
Exactly. It isn't a huge issue, but why open a can of worms that you don't have to? There isn't a compelling reason to try and do this over IP.
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Old 08-29-2007, 09:38 AM   #100
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I never said that you'd be billed or even have acces to this CABLEMODEM for your internet use. It is just a quick solution using existing hardware and infrastructure and not having to re-invent the wheel.
I know the hardware bill of materials on a cablemodem would be several times that of the dongle. It's also significantly more software work in the host device (ie TiVo) to support an arbitrary cablemodem than a dedicated dongle. Plus, the cablemodem would need new firmware to allow it to send traffic that would be prohibited under normal use. Also, not all cablemodems have USB connections.

Oh, and my guess for when the dongle can hit beta testing? Q407!
When will it really be supported by cablecos depends on if it just looks like a normal bidirectional device to the node or not. If it requires any changes to the cable infrastructure, it could take years, but I think that would be a non-starter anyway. Now that I think about it, you could see the dongle in retail by THIS Christmas.
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Old 08-29-2007, 09:57 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by GoHokies!
Exactly. It isn't a huge issue, but why open a can of worms that you don't have to? There isn't a compelling reason to try and do this over IP.
I'd say there is an advantage if the device hosting the dongle already has an IP stack since the programing interfaces will be there and the programmers will be using a paradigm they are used to. I'd hope any IP-based protocol would be closer to DHCP than SIP, though.
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:20 AM   #102
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So is the dongle just extra logic or will we have to have a splitter and send the cable both to the dongle and the tivo unit.

I hope not.
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:26 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by zalusky
So is the dongle just extra logic or will we have to have a splitter and send the cable both to the dongle and the tivo unit.

I hope not.
Let's not get picky about it now. 1st step is to have a solution that works and is reasonably priced - then worry about other details...
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:39 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by moyekj
Let's not get picky about it now. 1st step is to have a solution that works and is reasonably priced - then worry about other details...
Well, the thought of having to split the cable line at every TiVo that needs a dongle ( ) is a problem for many people as their signals are marginal - at best. If it won't work with a signal amp, then it really would be a problem. With that said...

Let's hope for the best, and be glad that a solution is in the works.

My prediction for dongle availability ( ) is within six months.
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:57 AM   #105
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Now that I think about it, you could see the dongle in retail by THIS Christmas.
I love the hope. I disagree with it, but I love it.
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:04 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by zalusky
So is the dongle just extra logic or will we have to have a splitter and send the cable both to the dongle and the tivo unit.
I don't know about the technology of it all, but I'd guess it would sit "inline." At least, in terms of user interaction and setting the thing up, that'd be the easiest way to go.

Code:
----cable----{}----SDV thingy----{}----TiVo
                        |               |
                        -------USB-------
Of course, I am thinking this device can be as small as a signal amplifier, and it may be as big as a cable modem, for all I know.

Anyway, I guess that is nitpicking. Just get it to us and then work on making it svelte.
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:20 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by moyekj
Let's not get picky about it now. 1st step is to have a solution that works and is reasonably priced - then worry about other details...
Reasonably priced? From something that comes from your cable company? Or Tivo?
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:22 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by DCIFRTHS
Well, the thought of having to split the cable line at every TiVo that needs a dongle ( ) is a problem for many people as their signals are marginal - at best. If it won't work with a signal amp, then it really would be a problem. With that said...
I agree. Based on multiple posts here, it appears that the Tivo HD's (and maybe the S3) RF front end is very sensitive to signal quality issues and may not even handle signals at the far end of the spec range (that is based on a post I read yesterday in this forum, but I can't remember by whom). Who know what effect adding in a device that serves as a splitter that further attenuates the signal will have.

Seeing as how SDV willl probably prove to be a significant make or break issue for Tivo, I'm hopeful that they will test this device with marginal signals and come up with a solution before it's released (unlike the cable card pixelation issue).
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:35 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by GoHokies!
Exactly. It isn't a huge issue, but why open a can of worms that you don't have to? There isn't a compelling reason to try and do this over IP.
The compelling reason is an SDV Internet Gateway, if designed and implemented properly, would allow TiVo to use the existing ethernet port and broadband connection to tune the SDV channels with no additional hardware, no need to dig through the cables in the back of your media center and install a coax splitter (dealing with 50% loss of signal) and USB dongle, or install a small shunt coax from the USB dongle to existing S3/HD coax connection, possibly dealing with the USB dongle getting dislodged like some eSATA connections we've seen, avoid an added piece to purchase or lease possibly from the cable company, etc. etc.

In short it would be a pure software solution which does not require the user to do anything and would support all users with broadband connections.

Last edited by sfhub : 08-29-2007 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:41 PM   #110
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Not to throw a kink into the works, but aren't there different SDV implementations? So that a solution would require either (1) a single protocol at the TiVo<->USB interface talking to a dongle that is configured for a specific cable system, or (2) cable-system-specific software in the TiVo talking to a single type of dongle(!), or (3) TiVo/dongle talking a new protocol for which all cable systems would have to implement support (not in this decade).
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:57 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by moyekj
Let's not get picky about it now. 1st step is to have a solution that works and is reasonably priced - then worry about other details...
As people have mentioned its important to talk about this now because they haven't started to mass produce them yet.

Signal sensitivity is a big thing. I installed a structured wiring system(containing RG6QS coax) and a channel vision splitter and I still have problems with some channels like TNTHD.

A lot of people had problems with Enet connectivity and had to replace their hub or use a USB dongle.

Its important they get this right and not low bid the components. I will pay extra dollars for a quality dongle so I dont have to replace amplifiers and everything else later.
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:08 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfhub
The compelling reason is an SDV Internet Gateway, if designed and implemented properly, would allow TiVo to use the existing ethernet port and broadband connection to tune the SDV channels with no additional hardware, no need to dig through the cables in the back of your media center and install a coax splitter (dealing with 50% loss of signal) and USB dongle, or install a small shunt coax from the USB dongle to existing S3/HD coax connection, possibly dealing with the USB dongle getting dislodged like some eSATA connections we've seen, avoid an added piece to purchase or lease possibly from the cable company, etc. etc.

In short it would be a pure software solution which does not require the user to do anything and would support all users with broadband connections.
No reason for the splitter if Nathan's excellent suggestion is implemented, and USB doesn't have the same type I/type II issues that esata has.

The one time install may be a bit of a pain, but if it comes down to work for you to install or work for the cable company to try and secure an SDV internet gateway, which do you think that cable would choose? (not to mention Charles' issues may mean there needs to be dongle<->SDV equipment pairing at the hardware level)
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Old 08-29-2007, 02:47 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by GoHokies!
if it comes down to work for you to install or work for the cable company to try and secure an SDV internet gateway, which do you think that cable would choose?
That's a complete separate point you are making which I've already stated I agree with.

My response was addressing the statement that there wasn't a compelling reason to do this over IP. If you wanted to qualify that statement by saying there wasn't a compelling reason for the cable company to do this by IP, I would agree.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoHokies!
(not to mention Charles' issues may mean there needs to be dongle<->SDV equipment pairing at the hardware level)
Charles issues have to do with the dongles and whether you can have one single dongle that works with all cable systems with the complexities of different systems hidden in TiVo software or if you need different dongles tailored to different SDV implementations.

An SDV Internet Gateway, if properly designed and implemented, could hide the complexity of underlying implementations with a software interface.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:36 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by sfhub
My response was addressing the statement that there wasn't a compelling reason to do this over IP. If you wanted to qualify that statement by saying there wasn't a compelling reason for the cable company to do this by IP, I would agree.
I'm cool with that - with the cable companies making the decision and all, I kinda had that framework in my head but could have been more precise in my wording. I think that we're pretty much in violent agreement here.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:49 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by nathanziarek
Code:
----cable----{}----SDV thingy----{}----TiVo
                        |               |
                        -------USB-------
This would make the most sense and cause the least amount of signal loss (though it would still cause some). It could even be powered by the USB slot (assuming it doesn't use much power).

The only issue I see with something so tiny is it might have trouble talking back to the head-end if there is a lot of noise on the line. My cable modem frequently has to shout pretty loud (high upstream dBmV) and I'm not sure a tiny little device like that would be powerful enough.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:36 PM   #116
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This would make the most sense and cause the least amount of signal loss (though it would still cause some). It could even be powered by the USB slot (assuming it doesn't use much power).

The only issue I see with something so tiny is it might have trouble talking back to the head-end if there is a lot of noise on the line. My cable modem frequently has to shout pretty loud (high upstream dBmV) and I'm not sure a tiny little device like that would be powerful enough.
If it does need quite significant power then it probably would need it's own power adapter and could not draw power from USB interface, which would add quite significantly to it's size and inconvenience for hooking it up. So based on speculation so far this device may potentially need an RF input and output, a USB interface and potentially it's own power source.
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:32 PM   #117
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The only issue I see with something so tiny is it might have trouble talking back to the head-end if there is a lot of noise on the line. My cable modem frequently has to shout pretty loud (high upstream dBmV) and I'm not sure a tiny little device like that would be powerful enough.
Size is unimportant, it's just a question of if the 5V and 500mA provided by a USB host is enough... it should be.
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:38 AM   #118
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...Now that I think about it, you could see the dongle in retail by THIS Christmas.
Sorry to break the bubble, but nothing is sold retail or available in most distribution channels in a Christmas season if it hasn't already been produced and shipped to major Distribution Centers by September that year.

Unless this "dongle" has already been actually developed and prototyped, we will be lucky to have one by Christmas 2008. To be available this Christmas, it would have already been designed, prototyped, tested, and then sent to manufacturing by September.

Also, don't assume it will be sold via retail. Even though I hate the model, the cablecard distribution/mgmt model is likely the one that the cable companies will use...that said, I would like nothing more than the dongles to come from the CE manufacturers alongside and already tested with the unit in question. Unless SDV is implemented identically in all cable systems, this dongle will likely have to come from the cable company to insure that it works with the appropriate head-end (...thus the cable card scenario).

This all said, this thread is certainly an interesting academic excercise, but no one should discern the discussion of the technical feasbility of a dongle in this thread from the actual process it will take to actually make the dongle a reality.

So unless something is actually in development now (which I hope), the idea of having something available in the coming 12 months is very weak. Something in the 12-18 month timeframe is possible...assuming they've started the design and development sometime around...oh say, now.
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:08 AM   #119
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I ain't no engineer, actually know very little about the hardware side (30 years in software development), but this doesn't sound like something that would require 12-18 months of development and launch.

I'm the optomist who believes that this has already been designed and ready for manufacture and testing and was only awaiting approval. I'm sticking with the expectation of a launch by Comcast in the first quarter of 2008.
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:16 AM   #120
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You're right: You're an optimist. This was just a bunch of discussions until that last week or so. The next step after discussions is to convert the technical requirements into design specifications. We have no reason to believe that that work has not yet started, but we also have no reason to believe that that work is even close to completion yet.
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