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Old 10-20-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
TheLongshot
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STAVRA and the potential death of CableCARD

In full disclosure, Harold Feld is a friend of mine, but has worked for a consumer advocate for telecomm for years.

Background information, which many of us probably are familiar with:

http://www.wetmachine.com/tales-of-t...sibly-imagine/

The actual meat of the article:

http://www.wetmachine.com/tales-of-t...a-section-203/

As a summary, the bill in question has language in it that will kill CableCARD in a couple of years with no strong requirement that they replace it with something else. For us who own Tivos, this is a pretty big deal, because as much as we know CableCARD sucks, it is how we are able to use Tivo with our cable provider.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:15 PM   #2
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I only looked at the "actual meat" link. It's all about how the integration ban might be removed --- a topic that already has been discussed quite a bit on this forum. IIRC a lot of posters don't even see removing the integration ban as making much practical difference at this point, combined with the problem that the ban hasn't been nearly as effective at leveling the playing field (minimiizing CableCARD installation and setup problems) as might have been expected.

The linked article says:
Quote:
..... the whole reason we have CableCard is because of the integration ban
Is that really true? Didn't CableCARD exist **before** the integration ban?

As usual, most of the public discussion of issues like this is highly polarized with both sides taking ridiculously extreme positions. Players such as the linked web site, obviously taking the consumerist perspective, think providers should exist only for the benefit of consumers and will only be happy if they become non-profit or even government owned. The corporate side is of course quite happy with the effective local monopolies they have in most regions on CableTV (and on broadband internet) and accuse the consumerists of trying to bring down our free-enterprise capitalist system. Both sides use arguments that are silly nonsense, ignore reality, and don't contribute much to any informed compromise solution.

BTW, if I knew the optimum solution I would be glad to tell you! Unfortunately politics play the major role here, and big money dominates politics -- because voters can't bother to inform themselves on issues and instead allow themselves to be influenced by scurrilous TV ads.
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Old 10-20-2014, 02:24 PM   #3
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I had cable cards years before the ban.
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:01 PM   #4
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Yeah removing the integration ban does not mean the death of CableCARD, they are two different parts of the same law. I don't think the bill will remove the portion of the law that requires them to provide a way for 3rd party devices to access their networks.

The bigger threat to the death of CableCARD is still the Charter waiver. They were given permission by the FCC to develop a downloadable security system with the only provisions being that it's "open" and that it's integrated into at least one retail device. If they meet those provisions they can stop issuing new CableCARDs. If TiVo can't easily adapt to the new system then it could be the death of TiVo in Charter areas, which is the 3rd largest cable provider in the US. (including mine )
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan203 View Post
Yeah removing the integration ban does not mean the death of CableCARD, they are two different parts of the same law. I don't think the bill will remove the portion of the law that requires them to provide a way for 3rd party devices to access their networks.

The bigger threat to the death of CableCARD is still the Charter waiver. They were given permission by the FCC to develop a downloadable security system with the only provisions being that it's "open" and that it's integrated into at least one retail device. If they meet those provisions they can stop issuing new CableCARDs. If TiVo can't easily adapt to the new system then it could be the death of TiVo in Charter areas, which is the 3rd largest cable provider in the US. (including mine )
If Charter did get this downloadable security they would have to find at least one retail provider, and a person in his home who developed a unit and sold 10 would not qualify, they have cable cards running so I don't think they would cut off the people that have them, and I don't see a 3rd pty getting into this business except TiVo itself, could a different type of cable card be developed that would fit into the existing cable card slot in the TiVo and take the security download ?
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan203 View Post
Yeah removing the integration ban does not mean the death of CableCARD, they are two different parts of the same law. I don't think the bill will remove the portion of the law that requires them to provide a way for 3rd party devices to access their networks.

The bigger threat to the death of CableCARD is still the Charter waiver. They were given permission by the FCC to develop a downloadable security system with the only provisions being that it's "open" and that it's integrated into at least one retail device. If they meet those provisions they can stop issuing new CableCARDs. If TiVo can't easily adapt to the new system then it could be the death of TiVo in Charter areas, which is the 3rd largest cable provider in the US. (including mine )
If it's open, and a third party company supports it, then I can't imagine TiVo would be unable to support it, right?
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:01 AM   #7
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If it's open, and a third party company supports it, then I can't imagine TiVo would be unable to support it, right?
The "open" standard they propose depends on using a single company's crypto chips. If each cable company were to pick a different crypto chip vendor, they all would be open, but each CE device would have to embed all the different crypto chips. I guess FCC agreed with the cable company that locking to a single crypto vendor didn't prevent the standard from being "open".
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grakthis View Post
If it's open, and a third party company supports it, then I can't imagine TiVo would be unable to support it, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CuriousMark View Post
The "open" standard they propose depends on using a single company's crypto chips. If each cable company were to pick a different crypto chip vendor, they all would be open, but each CE device would have to embed all the different crypto chips. I guess FCC agreed with the cable company that locking to a single crypto vendor didn't prevent the standard from being "open".
Good point, plus the question isn't just whether TiVo would be able to support it technically but whether they could support it in a reasonable time frame and with expenditures they are willing to take on.

If there were just one "open standard" and it was really "standard" (i.e., supported by all MSO's), that would be a different and wonderful thing, and I would bet TiVo would get on board. But that's a big if, of course.
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CuriousMark View Post
The "open" standard they propose depends on using a single company's crypto chips. If each cable company were to pick a different crypto chip vendor, they all would be open, but each CE device would have to embed all the different crypto chips. I guess FCC agreed with the cable company that locking to a single crypto vendor didn't prevent the standard from being "open".
And that is the point... Would I have to buy a FIOS enabled TiVo? If I left FIOS to go with Comcast could my TiVo transition or would I have to purchase a new TiVo?

I am pretty confident that none of the existing cable card TiVo's would be able to do this via software!

Now, could a PMCI card provide the branded crypto chip and work in a similar way as the cable card does today? Wishful thinking?
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