Any FCC requirement to support Tivo HD in MCard mode?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Justin Thyme, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Mar 29, 2005
    Assuming a local cable company is supporting MCards in their own DVRs in a particular community, is anyone aware of any requirement that the Cable Companies must support MCard certified devices in MCard mode?

    Or can my local company get away with installing two MCards in SCard mode and continue to charge the extra $19 ($4 for the second card, $7 for the HD package on the "extra device", and $8 duplicate services [since customer has more than "one device"]?
     
  2. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    Omaha,NE

    I don't think they need to support equipment they don't lease.


    They can charge whatever they want.

    What are the cards pluged into?

    ajwees41
     
  3. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    You betcha they have to support third party boxes such as those certified by CableLabs. That was the whole point of the 1996 Telecom Act.

    What would the cards be plugged into? There is only one currently capable of Multi stream operation of MCards- the Tivo HD. However the THD will revert the MCards to SCard mode if the network says they aren't supported. I know in principle the cable operators are supposed to treat third party boxes equally. I recall a request that the FCC set a firm date for CableCo's with servers supporting > 750MHZ or thereabouts to support M-UDCP third party devices, but don't know if anything came of it. Certainly, the cableco's will do what they like with their own MCard devices...

    Actually, CableCo's can't charge whatever they like for cablecards.
    Otherwise, the cableco's could very quickly have swept this matter away by charging $300/ per month for CableCards. No doubt we would be treated to reading arguments posted here that such charges are fair in order to cover the support costs of CableCards. :rolleyes:
     
  4. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    Didn't you just answer your own question? Cable companies charge different amounts for cable card. Cox/Comcast charge different amounts in different areas.


    What cable company> Did you try contacting Tivo?



    ajwees41
     
  5. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    No. Perhaps I should reword the problem I am getting at. My question is:

    Say I ordered a single cablecard from my cableco and they installed it in the Tivo HD. The cards they are currently installing all happen to be MCards.

    Does the cable company have to support it in multistream mode? (Background facts: The Tivo HD is an M-UDCP certified device, and the local cablecompany (TW) supports their own M-UDCP DVRs in multistream mode in my area.)
     
  6. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    Omaha,NE

    When put it that way then I would say yes they would support the cards, but I still think they would not support the tivoHD.

    ajwees41
     
  7. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    Yes, they have to support it in multistream mode, just not two way mode.
     
  8. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Can you point to any FCC document that supports that?

    I thought that as well but when I thought about it, I couldn't support this intuition. M-UDCP support was not in the CC1.0 spec, and as far as I recall, only CC1.0 support was mandated by the FCC. So where I am going with this is that if there is no further FCC requirement, then technically the cable companies are not required to support MCards in multistream mode.

    Consider the scenarios:

    1) MCard wakes up in a TivoHD- The network servers do not support MCards. Cable company server sends info to hit the Card telling it to go into single stream mode.
    2) MCard in a TivoHD but this time Network servers do support MCards. However, for whatever reason, the cable company does the same routine they did for S3 Tivos and cableco server tells the MCard to go into single stream mode.

    Which FCC regulation or directive broken in 2?
     
  9. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    Hi JT. Well, a few weeks ago I wrote a letter to the legal dept at Cox to get them to commit to supplying me with 1 M-Card for my S3 (once the S3s get upgraded to support multistream mode), and got this response (emphasis mine):

    "If and when TiVo supports M-Cards, we will be happy to provide you with an M-Card for your device."

    So Cox, at least, seems to have committed in writing to supporting a single M-Card on the S3. And this from one of their attorneys. I think I'll have no problem getting them to support a single M-Card when the time comes. :)
     
  10. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    When dealing with lawyers, be extremely careful with the language they use, and take note of any peculiar rewordings or omissions of points they might make when "agreeing" to your position.

    For example, in this case, they did not explicitly say they would support the card in multistream mode. That is, it would be literally valid for him to respond as he did if their only intention was to support the MCard in single stream mode. Of course that violates the spirit of your question, but the lawyers job is to get you count on spirits while he counts on words- because the words are what will be considered in court.

    Perhaps my understanding is incorrect, but if an M-UDCP host like a Tivo HD showed up on a network with an MCard installed, and the network did not have server support for multistream cards, then the single card would gracefully degrade itself to SCard mode. This information about what mode is allowed on the network is presumably set at install time.

    So the lawyer could promise that yes- they will give you a single MCard, and they could still flip the MCard into SCard mode. They could do it purposely or by accident. In my case, I pay an extra $140 per year if they do it purposely, so where there is a profit motive, sometimes cable companies find a way....

    Maybe my BS detectors are adjusted to high for our pals in the cable business. I may be swinging at air for all I know. I haven't heard of any cases of this actually happening yet. There is a thread of folks successfully getting single MCards to work. Maybe there should be one for folks who need two. Because that should be correct under only rare circumstances.

    My thinking here is that in the post ban world, the only Tivo HDs that don't use a single MCard should be the few cable companies that weren't subject to the ban- right?
     
  11. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    San Diego
    Well, there was more to their letter than just my quote above, and the entirety does seem to point to support for multistream mode. Here is a more complete quote:

    "In your original email to Mr. Gibson, you requested a multi-stream CableCARD (an "M-Card") for use in your TiVo Series 3 DVR. [...] Unfortunately, your TiVo device has not been certified by CableLabs as an M-Card compliant device. Therefore, at this time, we can only provide you with two one-way CableCARDs. [...] We contacted TiVo regarding your request and their representative confirmed that the TiVo software does not currently support M-Cards. If and when TiVo supports M-Cards, we will be happy to provide you with an M-Card for your device."

    Since TiVo does actually support M-Cards today (just in single-stream mode), the "missing support" referred to above can only mean support for multi-stream mode. The attorney seems to be committing to replacing the two CableCARDs that are needed today with one M-Card, once the TiVo supports multistream mode.
     
  12. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Mar 29, 2005
    Ok. Sounds like you are on top of it and anticipated the same sort of slimey move I was.

    Hope in your case Cox is not true to their name.
     
  13. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

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    The multi-stream/single-stream 'toggle' is between the card and the device. If the M-Card is inserted into a multi-stream host, it is multi-stream. AFAIK the MSO can't restrict that.
     

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