Charter Letter Today - Tuning Adapter

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Resist, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

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    East Moline, IL
    I don't know if that should be much of a concern. Once the channel is tuned, I would think the TA sits idle until the next SDV channel is requested. I have nothing to base this on; I gave back my cisco 1520 when I dropped cable awhile back.

    I don't know if I agree with that. If a system were 100% SDV, that would free up tons of bandwidth. For example, there could be a bunch of new children's programming on during the daytime if "popular" channels like HBO weren't provided as linear channels, which are probably NOT viewed during that time. Cartoons take a lot less bandwidth than high-motion live programming, because of mostly static backgrounds.

    Perhaps lrhorer could set me straight here, but I'm wondering if SDV can be controlled at the distribution level as well. In other words, would someone on the East side of town be able to tune an SDV channel (without a TA) that was requested by some that requested that channel on the West side of town?
     
  2. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    No. The host (in this case the TA) must periodically update the headend with the status of the existing tuning request, otherwise the headend processors will assume the stream is no longer required and terminate the stream.

    He's partially right, although he over-stated the case. A typical fiber node serves between 400 and 1000 homes. Take a quick glance at the Nielsen ratings, and you will see the lion's ahare of all programming being "watched" at any given time is on one of five channels - the broadcast networks. Note, however, while for the purposes of the Nielsen ratings there is no difference between analog, digital SD, and HD programming, in terms of the utilization on the CATV systems there is a difference. In particular, an individual watching an analog or digital SD version of a program is not watching the same stream as one watching the HD version. Thus, if a particular show has a 3% rating, it may only mean each of the three streams is only being watched by 1% of the potential viewing audience. If a stream's adjusted rating is above 0.1%, then the odds are some receiver somewhere in the node's service area is going to be watching it. City-wide, there probably is not any node at least one of whose constituency is not watching that stream. Now, 0.1% sounds like a small number, but it really isn't. The top rated show in America only gets 7%, which means it's HD stream may only be viewed by 2% or 3% of subscribers. If the #1 program is only being received by 30 out of 1000 households, then the #10 program is surely only going to be received by perhaps 3 or 4 households on a node. The #20 program may not be watched by any of the households on a given node. There is no question that the #100 program is going to be missing from lots of nodes around the city, no matter how popular the shows following or preceding it on the same channel might be.

    The linear QAM modulators purchased by a majority of CATV systems serve 8 QAMs of programming. With the most common rate shaping, that's a maximum of 88 SD channels or 16 HD channels plus 8 SD channels. A compromise might be 14 HD channels and 36 SD channels. If the company broadcasts the most popular 14 HD channels and the most popular 36 SD channels on those 8 QAMs, then the remaining 500 or so streams are all without question going to be - for at least a significant part of the day - much less than 0.1% each in rating. This means that many of the nodes across the city will not be carrying any specific one of the channels. If node A is serving up Showtime Comedy HD but node B is not, then node B can use that same time slot to serve up Starz Comedy HD, for example.

    As more and more channels become available (and the programming on the most popular channels get worse and worse), the trend toward more diverse programming and more diverse viewership continues rapidly. This means fewer and fewer streams will be "locked" on every node in the city. Any channel all of whose streams are not "locked" on every node in the city 24 hours a day is a reasonable candidate for SDV. Any channel viewed via VOD or via interactive means such as the popular "Start Over" must be SDV, whether its main feed is linear or not.

    Most CATV companies are still broadcasting a number of analog channels. These eat up a tremendous amount of bandwidth. Even if the company shuts down all the analog channels, however, they are still limited to about 200 HD channels and about the same number of SD channels, none of then VOD or interactive. A properly engineered CATV system employing SDV with only a fraction of the same bandwidth can offer literally an infinite number of channels. Assuming 2 streams per QAM and 1000 homes per node, a node could hypothetically require an absolute maximum of 1200 QAMs - far more than any CATV system can deliver. The reality is, however, that most of the receivers by a wide margin will be receiving streams from a small group of channels, leaving only a few dozen unique streams to be delivered over and above the most popular ones.

    That's not really relevant. The CATV company has to rate shape the channels on a static basis, the varying momentary content requirements notwithstanding. SDVs advantages lie in the fact the demands for a given node are unique and far less than the total demands for the entire city.

    The CATV company certainly can deliver different streams to their linear QAMs in one part of the city than another. This represents a significant engineering headache, however, for limited returns in capital savings. Given that ethnic considerations are by definition a minority issue, I suspect that by and large any geographically specific streams are going to be best served by SDV in any case. This is especially true since the decision to deliver a particular stream on a linear QAM rather than via SDV must be made on a channel by channel basis, not a show by show basis.

    Eventually, all programming on CATV systems will be SDV. It's inevitable. It's also a very good thing, because "popular" content is that which by definition appeals to the lowest common denominator among all people. "Quality" content, however, is going to be consumed by a variable minority of the viewing audience as a whole. That, plus a choice of ay one of 1000 or so HD channels to record allows for the notion of "what I want, when I want" to become a reality. With any luck, it will also mean the demise of the broadcast networks and their $trillion a year gouging of the American public.
     
  3. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Don't you have a TiVo? Then why are you changing channels? I haven't changed a channel in 11 years. I haven't watched a channel in 11 years.

    You're countering your own argument, here. Since by your own estimate, analog channels are crap and becoming moreso, digital channels are by direct deduction the medium of choice.
     
  4. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    You should complain to both your CATV provider and your local franchise authroity. How far you will get, I don't know, but a quiet wheel rarely gets the grease.

    This is the current listing of HD channels on TWC San Antonio, ignoring On Demand and Pay-per-view channels:

    103 Nickelodeon HD
    104 WOAI-NBC
    105 KENS (CBS) HD
    106 KPXL HD
    107 KMYS (CW) HD
    108 KLRN (PBS) HD
    109 KWEX HD (Univision)
    110 KNIC HD (Telefutura)
    111 KABB-FOX HD
    112 KSAT-ABC HD
    113 tbs HD
    114 AMC HD
    115 The Science Channel HD
    116 TCM HD
    119 MLB Network HD
    120 G4 HD
    121 NBA TV HD
    123 ESPNU HD
    124 ESPN HD
    125 ESPN2 HD
    126 ESPN News HD
    127 TNT HD
    128 A&E HD
    129 The Discovery Channel HD
    130 HD Theater
    131 USA HD
    132 WE tv HD
    133 MTV HD
    134 Palladia
    135 CNN HD
    136 The Weather Channel HD
    137 CNBC HD+
    138 HLN HD
    139 TruTV HD
    140 Planet Green HD
    141 ABC Family HD
    142 Disney Channel HD
    143 Disney XD High Definition
    144 Hallmark Channel HD
    145 Cartoon Network HD
    146 CMT HD
    147 Food Network HD
    148 History International HD
    149 TLC HD
    150 Fox Sports Net HD
    151 MavTV
    152 Fox News Channel HD
    153 Hallmark Movie Channel HD
    154 Fox Business Network HD
    155 Animal Planet HD
    156 Fuse HD
    157 National Geographic HD
    158 Travel Channel HD
    159 Fox Soccer Channel HD
    160 The Golf Channel HD
    161 Smithsonian Channel HD
    162 MSNBC HD
    163 FX HD
    164 Universal HD
    165 MGM HD
    166 LMN HD
    167 HGTV HD
    168 Versus HD
    169 Speed HD
    171 Spike HD
    172 SyFy HD
    173 BET HD
    174 History HD
    175 bio HD
    176 Bravo HD
    177 Cookiing Channel HD
    179 HBO 2 HD
    180 HBO HD
    181 HBO West HD
    182 Showtime HD
    183 Showtime HD West
    184 Cinemax HD
    185 Cinemax HD West
    186 The Movie Channel HD
    187 Starz HD
    188 Starz West HD
    189 Comedy Central HD
    190 Crime and Investigation HD
    191 Investigation Discovery HD
    210 DIY Network
    213 Investigation Discovery
    215 Science Channel
    216 The Hub
    219 Discovery Fit and Health
    220 Planet Green
    291 Galavision HD
    292 DIY HD

    All but about 15 or so are SDV. I count 92 in all.
     
  5. brewman

    brewman Member

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    TA problems are not necessarily inherent to the devices. I've got 4 TiVos with 4 TA's (they've been active for about 4 months now) and haven't had to reboot them once. They will, occasionally, fail to tune a channel, but that generally clears within a few minutes. I will gladly accept that issue if the trade off is a substantial increase in the number of HD channels.
     
  6. bensonr2

    bensonr2 Member

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    I still don't think SDV is ready for prime time.

    When I had my SA cable box I would tune into the SDV HD movie channels I had rarely. But as rarely as I did tune into those channels I remember frequently getting the "channel not available". Usually if I came back to the channel 10 minutes later it would be view able.

    Its not the end of the world I agree but its still annoying. And my feeling is TV needs to be bullet proof. People want watching TV to be an experience without error messages. It needs to just work.
     
  7. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Seriously, what's the point of having a TiVo if it has to tell some other device to tune in the channel, only to have that other device fail to have that channel ready when it's time to start recording?
     
  8. bensonr2

    bensonr2 Member

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    I just thought of another possible SDV problem (though this one only affect users using a TA, ie Tivo users).

    I believe a common problem among users of the 3 tuner Moxi box is that the Cisco tuning adapter will limit your box to 2 tuners even if your box has more. Though this only affected the Cisco TA and was not a problem for the Motorola. I did some research on the Moxi box on the AVS forum before purchasing my Tivo and I believe this was a common problem.

    Now obviously the Tivo currently is only a dual tuner device. But apparently the 4 tuner version is coming (eventually) so this could affect the Tivo community soon.

    And I very well could be wrong about this so please if anyone knows better then I please correct me.
     
  9. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    I believe the FCC mandated new TAs to support more than 2 streams are required some time later this year. This would only affect Cisco TAs obviously.
     
  10. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

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    I am still amazed that my local Charter office and Tech didn't know anything about a Tuning Adapter.
     
  11. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Blame the CE manufacturers (that includes TiVo) for insisting they be allowed to produce UDCPs because they didn't want to spend an extra $15 per unit to make them 2 way, and the FCC for listening to them. Failing to require that all digital devices be 2-way was just stupid.

    Or do you mean oversubscription of the bandwidth? That's the result of a poorly engineered system.

    If on the other hand you fail to see the point of not wasting 98% of the bandwidth on the system and subsequently limiting the number of channels available to the subscriber, then I suggest you take a hike.
     
  12. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Why does that amaze you?
     
  13. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Not at all. Hundreds of thousands of streams a day are served up via SDV QAMs.

    The SA8300 is a horrid piece of @#%^. That doesn't mean the underlying technology is bad.

    Most likely, it was a flaky DVR, but barring that, it suggests a poorly engineered system. In order to make proper use of SDV, the CATV plant needs to be properly engineered so that the number of homes per node does not exceed a threshold where a tuning denial becomes likely.

    That's fatuous nonsense. NOTHING is perfect. The CATV systems today, thanks to digital transmissions and fiber delivery to the node are many times more reliable than in decades past, but nothing, repeat nothing is failure free. More importantly, above all else TV needs to be affordable, and the cost of hardening a system skyrockets quickly beyond a certain point. If you want to pay $10,000 a month for a video feed that is guaranteed to deliver more than 99.99% reliability, then fine, go do so. Meanwhile, the rest of us will get along just fine with systems that only fail a few times a year and cost us already nearly more than we can afford.

    We TiVo owners in San Antonio have been enjoying the very significant advantages and benefits of SDV for over 2 years. In that time, there have only been a handful of failed recordings, and there is no evidence that any significant fraction of those failures have been tuning denials. It's true the TA should be more stable - I objected to its design while it was being designed, but it is certainly not beyond being tolerable. Certainly the TiVo + TA combination is far more reliable than the Series I + STB solution, and vastly more reliable than the SA8300HD. It's also vastly more reliable than a bank of VCRs trying to record a few programs a week.
     
  14. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

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    Because it was Charter that sent me the letter telling me to set up the appointment to have a Tuning Adapter installed. So their installers should know what it is.
     
  15. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    I'm saying that if the tuning adapter doesn't work properly, it's rather pointless to have money tied up in something with which to record its output.

    Now that I think about it, it's also rather pointless to be paying the cable company for not being able to deliver the channel you want when you want it.
     
  16. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    I've been using a TA for more than 9 months now. I think it has failed to tune a channel 2 or 3 times in that period (and those were for live tv, not recordings).
     
  17. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    When you say failed to tune a channel, do you mean failed to move from the channel it was on to the one you wanted, or moved to it only to get a "not availible" message?
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    You're discounting the incompetence of the average CATV employee.
     
  19. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    One does not record the output of the TA, but in any case this is a foolish statement. It's like saying it is pointless to go fishing because every cast of the line does not result in a fish being caught, or that it is pointless to eat pecans since every once in a while one comes across a bad one.

    'More of the same nonsense. If the UDCP / TA combination failed to tune channels more often than not, or even on a regular basis, then there is cause for criticism, but because every once in a while a tuning request might be denied for a few minutes is not sufficiently poor service to consider it pointless. Rifle rounds occasionally mis-fire, especially under field conditions. Does that make it pointless for a soldier to carry a gun? Suggesting the availability of more than 90 HD channels is pointless just because one of them might be unavailable for a short time every once in a while is just foolishness.
     
  20. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    The former is an internal failure of the host, most likely due to a lost button press. With Infrared remote control systems, such occasional failures are inevitable. The latter is due to the bandwidth on the node being currently completely in use by prior requests.
     

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