ComTiVo 1.05 software - doesn't stink

Discussion in 'HD Comcast TiVo DVR (Archive)' started by lkupersmith, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Naugahide

    Naugahide Nauganut!

    50
    0
    Jan 24, 2008

    Advertisements

    I won't try to dissuade you from trying a Series 3 (hint: tivo.com has refurbed Tivo HDs for $179 with 30 day no questions asked return policy).

    I did have one issue with sports and seasons passes when I was using the Comcast TiVo product.

    When the UEFA Championships was on (kind of the European Super Bowl for soccer) it would not record a season's pass. For some reason, all episodes showed up with the title "Soccer" and the software didn't realize they were episodes of the same series, so no season pass. I had to go find them all and individually record them. Given how dreadfully slow the pre-1.05 software was when it came to setting up recordings, that was a nightmare.

    On the other hand, I had no issues with getting a season pass for "NFL Football" last season.

    What was the specific thing you were trying to get a season pass for?

    I did some googling and came up with the following thread on this forum:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=386757

    Other interesting articles:

    http://www.gizmolovers.com/2008/03/05/tivo-developing-standalone-ocaptru2way-box/

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2008-08/the-tivo-quarterly-call-no-tru2way-this-year/

    http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6506184.html

    It seems clear to me that TiVo is embracing Tru2Way, and it will be part of the next-gen TiVo "Series 4" DVR, and prototypes of that box are expected to be shown in January 2009.

    It's not clear to me if a "Series 4" will be required or not. With my engineering hat on, I can see that Tru2Way is mostly software, and it seems feasible to me that TiVo could come up with a USB dongle to do the hardware aspects, if they should choose to do so. With my business hat on, I can see why TiVo might want to retire Series 3 boxes by the time Series 4 is ready.

    Seems by the time all the bugs are worked out and CableLabs approval is done, it'll be late 2009 / early 2010.

    Then, we'd have to speculate as to when Comcast would deploy their side of all of this (hint: look at how they're doing with TiVo deployment), and how long it will take the "Series 4" to come down to a reasonable price (usually a year or so after the first box ships).

    Clearly the CableCard technology itself won't be shut down when Tru2Way comes out, because Comcast's current boxes all have CableCards in them, and they'll need to support them for a very long time or have to replace every set top box they already have in the field that has a CableCard.

    So, it seems to me the current technology won't be surpassed for 2-3 years, and will still be functional for a lot longer than that.

    Personally, I am not a big On Demand / PPV user, so I don't miss not having that much. If I did need it, I'd just get a non-DVR hd box from Comcast and use it to drive the other HDMI input on my TV, and only use it for On Demand / PPV.

    I am a big fan of expandable storage, but I don't see how Comcast would roll that out. Seems whatever revenue they'd take in would be spent in doing support calls.

    So, I think my strategy of buying a refurbed Series 3 and 500GB storage box from TiVo is pretty solid for the next 3-5 years.
     
  2. mtchamp

    mtchamp New Member

    637
    0
    May 15, 2001
    MA
    I already had a TiVo HD and I've tried the Comcast TiVo twice and had 8888's the first time and the second time, about a month ago, they just couldn't get it working due to down servers and other technical problems with their hardware and systems so I returned it.

    Comcast probably needs to get TiVo onto a new box designed for the way Comcast wants to communicate with TiVo. I don't believe the guide data is stored on their box and if you lose communication with Comcast servers, you have problems. They seem to be getting better at it, especially in NH, but for now, I would just buy another TiVo HD like I did.

    You can always use another TiVo DVR in the house even if Comcast does get it right before year's end. I think you can get a refurb under $200, see the TiVo HD Forum, and buy Lifetime for $400 or $300 if you are a Lifetime customer already. And I don't miss ONDemand (always the same old stuff my TiVo can record for me) and don't use PPV. I have free TiVoCast programing, Amazon Unbox and now I have tons of fun with YouTube on my TV with the TiVo UI and some very good quality videos about travel and music and all matter of subjects you might be interested in. I was looking up places I hiked in NH last night. Good times revisited from my couch on the big screen.

    You can do much more with a TiVo like network TiVos, send video to and from your computer, transfer video to portable devices and retrieve video from the internet, so get a TiVo HD now, you'll get your monies worth, and get a Comcast TiVo later. Go to TiVo.com and see what a TiVoHD can do these days. The features and benefits of owning a real TiVo are increasing by leaps and bounds.
     
  3. Naugahide

    Naugahide Nauganut!

    50
    0
    Jan 24, 2008
    One thing I learned during all my fun and games with Comcast TiVo is that it has to talk to a server every time you schedule a recording. This kind of amazed me. The way I learned this was I lost two-way communication due to a hardware issue. Almost everything kept working except scheduling new recordings. Also it did start to lose the tv guide data, so I think it has some saved locally but needs to refresh it from the servers.

    I just was playing with the YouTube app and it's excellent!

    I played a video I shot with my digital camera at a rock concert and was amazed that it looked pretty decent on my widescreen.

    I'm enjoying using the TiVo to play all my MP3s from my computer through the TiVo to my stereo.
     
  4. markjrenna

    markjrenna Active Member

    233
    27
    Mar 23, 2006
    New Jersey
    Naugahide... Great post. I have a comment regarding this...

    Comcast hates Cable Cards. Tru2Way will eliminate the need for them. Comcast also hates to be in the hardware (STB) business since they, in essence, losing money on every DVR STB they deploy.

    Tru2Way, once the bugs are ironed out, will get deployed to every STB and will find itself preloaded in many manufactures electronic products. Sony and Samsung for example will introduce Tru2way TV's. I would expect third party DVR's to be made available at retail as well.

    The advantage of Tru2way allows you, the consumer, to purchase whatever piece of equipment (TV and DVR) that you want. For example; A manufacturer may offer a four tuner, 500 GID HD DVR and it will be pre loaded with Tru2way. Comcast can then update Tru2way as they need via their coax network already in place.

    Comcast wins since they accomplish 3 goals. 1. They get out of the hardware business. No more STB's and no more Cable Cards. 2. They stop losing money on STB's. 3. They have less overhead and probably a large reduction on Truck rolls.

    The STB's in the field already will get Tru2Way deployed and the Cable Card functionality will be disabled. All of the Encryption will get downloaded to each STB depending on what services you subscribe to. This is know as Downloadable Conditional Access or DCAS.

    I would expect to see Tru2Way and DCAS make its big debut for Christmas 2009. It was suppose to be this Christmas but it didn't pan out for Comcast as the hoped due to technical hurdles. They need to rely on Cisco and Motorola to provide the most important part (DCAS) and it may not be in their best interest to do so.
     
  5. Naugahide

    Naugahide Nauganut!

    50
    0
    Jan 24, 2008

    Advertisements

    Thanks for your insights. I had always heard that the cable operators liked STBs because of the control that it gave them over exactly what services were available to the customer base.

    I know it'd even be better if they could keep that control while having the customer buy the hardware to run the software enforcing that control, but it seems we are a few years away from that happening, and the cable operators will have the problem of the installed base, both their own STBs that have CableCards, and customer supplied devices.

    This begs the question, why do they keep shipping DVRs then? I'd presume they are afraid of ceeding control to TiVo et al, but it's just my guess.

    It's not clear to me that tru2way's security feature (DCAS) is 100% software. I do have some experience in this area, and every solution I know of in this space relies on a tamper-proof way of storing the device's identity and other security credentials, and the only acceptable way of doing this is with custom hardware. Writing this identity to an ordinary flash device isn't usually deemed tamper-proof, unless the thing you are protecting is not of significant value.

    I think this is a great goal for Comcast, and one that would be achievable over time. I just wonder what that time frame is.

    One thing the Comcast TiVo rollout shows to me is how much time it takes to deploy a new technology in a cable plant, and how poorly suited (IMHO) the cable plant is for time-critical two-way communication.

    As above, it's not clear to me if DCAS can or will be a 100% software solution.

    Also I'm somewhat pessimistic about rolling out a new generation of software technology to the installed base. From what I've seen after 25 years in the software field, no one wants to do that. Instead they want new software to run on new hardware and have the old solution (both hardware and software) fade away over time. It's just a lot easier to let the old stuff do what it's been doing than to perturb the status quo.

    I find it interesting that TiVo is talking of needing a new Series 4 DVR for Tru2Way. On the other hand, googling seems to suggest they will be able to support Tru2Way (previously known as OCAP) on their current boxes. This kind of surprises me, given how underprovisioned the current boxes are (400 MHz CPU, 256M DRAM).

    This could be optimistic.

    Some googling gives us a few articles saying that the first Tru2Way boxes will still rely on CableCard instead of DCAS for security.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=975729

    And some are even more pessimistic:

    http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6580976.html

    Bottom line to me is that I can see all the flaws of the current situation, but it's clear that change in this industry is very slow, and I'm still feeling fine with my descision to buy a TiVo HD DVR. I think I'll end up keeping it somewhere around five years, and in that time frame, I will have gotten my money's worth out of it.
     
  6. BlackBetty

    BlackBetty I

    2,455
    0
    Nov 5, 2004
    There are so many errors in this post I am not even sure where to start and I don't have an hour to list them all out.

    I will say however that cablecards will be needed with tru2way technology. We may see the day when there is a security chip loaded in tru2way electronics that will let the cable companies to allow the box to receive pay stations, but we won't see that for a long time. First generation of Tru2way will be utilizing cablecards.
     
  7. cypherstream

    cypherstream Member

    31
    0
    Oct 27, 2007
    Reading, PA
  8. Naugahide

    Naugahide Nauganut!

    50
    0
    Jan 24, 2008
    See, you just spent $300 for a cpu and a disk. TiVo HDs are $300 for the entire box.

    There is a certain price point that one needs to hit with a set-top box, because the cable operators and/or the consumers just won't buy it if it's too expensive.

    The relatively slow CPU is because it is integrated on the same chip with the all the hardware needed to implement the decompression of the two video streams, etc.

    OTOH, I don't see why they don't have lots of memory on the box. In my experience, that's what is needed to make these kind of applications run fast.
     
  9. cypherstream

    cypherstream Member

    31
    0
    Oct 27, 2007
    Reading, PA
    Well wasn't the original Tivo S3 like $800? I could get a whole computer for $499 that has more powerful hardware. Add dual tuners, Cable card slots and licensing from cable labs, I could see it being close to $800 again. Monthly subscription pays for the software development. You don't have to go all out for dual core cpu's. Heck, a 1.8 GHz CPU would trump the 400 MHz Broadcom or whatever is in it now. Plus memory (both disk and RAM) is cheap. Load it with 1GB of RAM and a 500GB SATA HD.
     
  10. markjrenna

    markjrenna Active Member

    233
    27
    Mar 23, 2006
    New Jersey
    What I wrote is what Cox, TW, and Comcast envision. What will most likely happen is most certainly different then what is planned.

    Please take the time to come off your high horse and point out all of the errors in my post so that none of us intentionally mislead anyone.
     
  11. Naugahide

    Naugahide Nauganut!

    50
    0
    Jan 24, 2008
    Yes, but as usual I presume they were gauging the early adopters to get back their R&D investment. I suspect the current $299 price is much closer to their cost, and they are now doing as you say and living off the monthly service fees. I kind of doubt they would be selling units at a loss, but who knows?
     
  12. lkupersmith

    lkupersmith Member

    35
    0
    Dec 17, 2001
    FL
    Oh well, more problems. I found both of my boxes tuned to channel 10 (the lowest number in my guide) last night and the blank screen problem was there. Changing channels restored the picture, but both boxes had a phantom record light indicator for the second tuner, which was not recording on either box. Time to reboot again.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements