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Old 09-27-2013, 12:15 PM   #1
jaj2276
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New bill proposed regarding cable companies and cablecards

http://news.investors.com/092713-672...lled&ven=yahoo

Love (not!) the comment in the article:

--- [snip] ---
"This is common sense legislation that recognizes the significant harms imposed by the integration ban, which since 2007 has forced consumers with leased set-top boxes to bear over $1 billion in unnecessary costs," said Michael Powell, a former FCC chairman, in a statement.
--- [/snip] ---

Why is it not common sense that passing this legislation would allow the cable companies to not have to compete?
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:44 PM   #2
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While I hope this doesn't pass, I'm not sure it'll really matter. We've had the integration ban for 6+ years now and the cable company is still no better at installing activating CableCARDs. Even though they use them internally they are preinstalled and preactivated and not even necessarily the same cards they give to TiVo user or running the same firmware. The whole purpose of the integration ban was to make it so retail boxes were on a level playing field with leased devices and that has never come to fruition.
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:54 PM   #3
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Dan, you are correct. The integration ban has hardly improved cablecard support - partly because of the extremely poor design of the technology to begin with, but more as a result of such a terribly big lack of interest by anyone other than Tivo. Initially, manufacturers jumped on the band wagon (I had a Toshiba DLP TV in 2007 that had a cablecard slot) but the consumer public just didn't care about it. Frankly, Cableco DVRs were IMHO the death of cablecard device competition. Other companies such as Philips, Microsoft, etc played around with similar technology to Tivo (at a general level) but correctly saw the future of diminishing returns and a shrinking market.

The biggest worry I'd have here is that at this point, the entire argument is all providers combined versus Tivo. It's hard to see Tivo coming out on top there. So even though the bill says that providers would still be forced to support cablecard, there would be less and less opportunity for improvement, and it would essentially become even more of a dead end technology.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:24 PM   #4
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Yeah, they still have to support CableCard. That doesn't make it a good bill, but not as bad as it may seem.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:18 AM   #5
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As for the two representatives that introduced the bill, I wonder how much they are invested. How much in kickbacks are they getting? Probably a lot.

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:55 AM   #6
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They mentioned Boxee in the article, which has gone under and out of business, IIRC. They indicated that devices from such companies can't access cable TV, which is true. However, they failed to mention that these devices are designed for internet TV and not cable TV.

Lots of people still have issues getting cablecards installed and activated on Tivos or other compatible devices. Ceton stands head and shoulders above the rest in this area because if you have issues getting a cablecard to work in one of their tuners and your cableco tech support can't resolve it, they'll go to bat for you and work directly with the provider to get it working. Tivo tech support will just point fingers and do nothing.
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
They mentioned Boxee in the article, which has gone under and out of business, IIRC. They indicated that devices from such companies can't access cable TV, which is true. However, they failed to mention that these devices are designed for internet TV and not cable TV.

Lots of people still have issues getting cablecards installed and activated on Tivos or other compatible devices. Ceton stands head and shoulders above the rest in this area because if you have issues getting a cablecard to work in one of their tuners and your cableco tech support can't resolve it, they'll go to bat for you and work directly with the provider to get it working. Tivo tech support will just point fingers and do nothing.
Boxee didn't go under or out of business. It was acquired by Samsung.
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dan203 View Post
While I hope this doesn't pass, I'm not sure it'll really matter. We've had the integration ban for 6+ years now and the cable company is still no better at installing activating CableCARDs. Even though they use them internally they are preinstalled and preactivated and not even necessarily the same cards they give to TiVo user or running the same firmware. The whole purpose of the integration ban was to make it so retail boxes were on a level playing field with leased devices and that has never come to fruition.
I have to disagree at least in my area. When I first experienced cable cards 5 years ago or so. It was a pain and they would not allow self install.

Now I make a simple phone call and its up and running. I have had to call at least three times in the last year. One for a replaced drive, another to pair the new Roamio, and once when I had trouble viewing a certain channel.
Lastly to turn in some extra cable cards when I sold my XL4s.

It all was just smooth compared to a few years ago.

Your mileage may vary and yes it would be nice to have a straight certificate software installation but things have gotten better.
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Old 09-28-2013, 12:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
They mentioned Boxee in the article, which has gone under and out of business, IIRC. They indicated that devices from such companies can't access cable TV, which is true. However, they failed to mention that these devices are designed for internet TV and not cable TV.

Lots of people still have issues getting cablecards installed and activated on Tivos or other compatible devices. Ceton stands head and shoulders above the rest in this area because if you have issues getting a cablecard to work in one of their tuners and your cableco tech support can't resolve it, they'll go to bat for you and work directly with the provider to get it working. Tivo tech support will just point fingers and do nothing.
Apparently you don't pay attention to the Roamio forum. Plenty of help/direct involvement from Tivo with the Cable Companies to resolve cable card issues.
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Old 09-28-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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Boxee didn't go under or out of business. It was acquired by Samsung.
A mere technicality. Boxee is no longer an independent company, and honestly, they probably would have gone under within a few years if Samsung didn't acquire them. Other than a cloud dvr that never left beta testing, what did they bring to the table?
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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I have to disagree at least in my area. When I first experienced cable cards 5 years ago or so. It was a pain and they would not allow self install.

Now I make a simple phone call and its up and running. I have had to call at least three times in the last year. One for a replaced drive, another to pair the new Roamio, and once when I had trouble viewing a certain channel.
Lastly to turn in some extra cable cards when I sold my XL4s.

It all was just smooth compared to a few years ago.

Your mileage may vary and yes it would be nice to have a straight certificate software installation but things have gotten better.
But that has nothing to do with the fact that they are forced to use CableCARDs int heir own devices. The whole point of the integration ban was to force the MSOs to use the same technology in their own boxes so that the technology would mature and the experience for all customers would be the same regardless of whether they got a cable company supplied box or a retail device and CableCARD. That hasn't worked. Cable company supplied boxes are pre-activated by techs who actually know what they're doing and verify they work before they even go out the door. While in most cases retail CableCARD users are forced to call into a tech support line where the techs know little or nothing about CableCARDs, and if it doesn't work on the first try they get "sorry we'll have to send a tech out". Then a few days later a tech arrives who also also has little to no knowledge about CableCARDs and a cycle of frustration begins. Then when it finally starts working no one really knows why, it's just some sort of magic so they don't learn what to do to make the next customer's experience better.

If they really wanted the integration ban to work they should force all customers to go through the CableCARD install process, even if they are using an MSO supplied box. That's the only way they could guarantee that the experience would be the same.
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:55 PM   #12
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Boxee didn't go under or out of business. It was acquired by Samsung.
Acquisition usually means the end of a product line in most cases. I haven't heard any plans for Samsung to continue selling the Boxee Box.
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:57 PM   #13
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Apparently you don't pay attention to the Roamio forum. Plenty of help/direct involvement from Tivo with the Cable Companies to resolve cable card issues.
Nope, and I don't plan to either. I don't have a Roamio and don't plan on buying one. Nice to know that Tivo is trying to help resolve cablecard issues. That hasn't always been the case with older models.
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Old 09-28-2013, 04:32 PM   #14
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But that has nothing to do with the fact that they are forced to use CableCARDs int heir own devices. The whole point of the integration ban was to force the MSOs to use the same technology in their own boxes so that the technology would mature and the experience for all customers would be the same regardless of whether they got a cable company supplied box or a retail device and CableCARD. That hasn't worked. Cable company supplied boxes are pre-activated by techs who actually know what they're doing and verify they work before they even go out the door. While in most cases retail CableCARD users are forced to call into a tech support line where the techs know little or nothing about CableCARDs, and if it doesn't work on the first try they get "sorry we'll have to send a tech out". Then a few days later a tech arrives who also also has little to no knowledge about CableCARDs and a cycle of frustration begins. Then when it finally starts working no one really knows why, it's just some sort of magic so they don't learn what to do to make the next customer's experience better.

If they really wanted the integration ban to work they should force all customers to go through the CableCARD install process, even if they are using an MSO supplied box. That's the only way they could guarantee that the experience would be the same.
While that is true they have had an incentive to make sure the head end systems work with cable cards even if pre-tested and pre-activated.

Can you imagine how much of a headache it would be if Tivo had to slog though it by themselves and the cable companies had no incentive to make it work. As I said earlier my experience with cable cards has improved markedly from the earlier days and I don't believe that would be the case if the cable companies did not have make the tech work for themselves.

I am in still in favor of a software solution but it has to be one in which everybody HW provider gets the benefit of the testing that Comcast/et al does for themselves.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:00 PM   #15
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Acquisition usually means the end of a product line in most cases. I haven't heard any plans for Samsung to continue selling the Boxee Box.
The Boxee Box is still being sold. I don't know about the BoxeeTV though. Without the Cloud DVR service it's just another online media streamer. I unplugged my BoxeeTv a couple of weeks ago. But I still use my three Boxee Boxes.
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