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Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by lee espinoza, Jan 10, 2006.
A quick summary of what was said would be nice.. it would save everyone from having to listen to a 48 minute presentation.
Around the 12 minute mark he talks about how a 3rd party DVR service doesn't fit into the DirecTV plans for the future. They want to invest in their own solution, put all their efforts to making their solution the best in the market and unique to DirecTV. In summary : nothing new here.
Around the 18 minute mark - he talks about HDTV capacity on DIRECTV and their plans for capacity offering up to 150 HD national cable networks and then local affiliates in x number of markets etc.
Around the 21m:30s mark - he briefly touches on providing broadband internet content to the new DirecTV DVR units. VERY briefly.
Around 23m mark.. the discussion turns to the existing 700,000 to 800,000 HD customers and the conversion of those customers to the MP4 boxes. He says by the end of January, all new boxes shipping to consumers will be MP4 boxes. Conversion of existing MP2 customers to MP4 will take upwards of two years according to their estimates.
Around the 41m mark he talks about the deal with Microsoft making DirecTV an MCE compatible experience.. Customer buys a MCE computer and DirecTV sends them a smart card which fits into a slot etc..
Except for the last item, it was all old news; and the last item was newsy, but already announced really.
So, Lee... why so excited?
To much kool aid
Actually, this is a LOT more specific than the previous announcements. I got the impression that the sync might work w/ portable media center devices only. It's GREAT to hear confirmation that we'll have a way to get DTV content on our MCE PC's!! I just hope we don't have to buy a specific DTV computer.
You really think we're going to see a PC "Satellite Card" in our lifetime? It's been a decade since the last time this was discussed. Unless MCE takes off like wildfire, which is unlikely, DirecTV won't be providing this card. Especially with no date announced.
And how can they say by the end of January all HD boxes will be MP4, when they won't have a MP4 HD DVR solution until end of Q2 (announced) to 2007 (reality)? No more HD Tivo's after the end of January? I doubt it.
All the other stuff is old news, unless I'm missing something.
Absolutely correct, couldn't agree more.
There are pending CableCard PC Cards coming out very soon (if not out already). This makes sense, since CableCard is a standard, and independent of cable companies. We have CableCard TV's, CableCard SA HD Tivo's, etc. - there's 100% chance we'll have CableCard PC Cards.
And MCE currently supports OTA ATSC/HD (and finally two HD tuners, although 2+ would be better), so that's covered.
So, just like the SA HD Tivo, MCE will soon cover like 85% of the TV viewing audience - OTA NTSC, OTA ATSC, Cable. This leaves DirecTV and Dish out in the cold (Fiber TV supports CableCards). Satellite would probably like to be part of MCE, but they need a proprietary PC Card, each. This just isn't going to happen any time soon. DirecTV has hardly been innovative when it comes to hardware, and since they are pulling it all back in-house (instead of their original licensing plans), it's even less likely. And the costs would be prohibitive, since the market is so much smaller (a third party has like 65 million targets with CC, DirecTV has ~12 million).
DirecTV has lost their edge. Fiber (Verizon FIOS and the like) seems to be picking up the gauntlet, and I predict will gain all us high-end early adopters, especially when the SA HD Tivo is released.
DirecTV and Dish will be relegated to the places where Cable and Fiber don't reach, within 5-10 years.
Hence the bit about the conversion taking 2 years I imagine.
His point was if you called and ordered a new non-DVR DirecTV receiver.. you're going to get an MP4 capable box in all likelihood by the end of January that's all they'll be shipping.
He wasn't not talking about DVR's specifically at that point.
Regardless, this switch to MP4 is going to be the proverbial nightmare I think.
A Few things I look at with regards to the PC stuff..
1) Microsoft knows this is a KEY straw to their future of MCE.... They have done the studies, they understand why people aren't JUMPING at MCE... They know they need to get other then analog cable and DIGITAL OTA tuners into MCE
2) Microsoft VISTA will have most if not all of todays MCE components. So if Vista stays to it's timetable, holiday seson 2006 will see a large increase in "MCE" systems
3) IIRC it was Intel whom would be working on the add-in board? If that is correct, then you are talking another major powerhouse player working on it.... Mix DirecTV, Microsoft, and Intel.... It's going to get done and done "quickly"
IMHO DirecTV needs to be first in this one.... If they want to jump start the race again... Right now the playing field has come fairly even accross all the players... I know there a lot of people out there that dont' like Microsoft.... but... both DirecTV and Microsoft have a LOT to gain out of this one.
Again... Fiber FIOS ect... I am in a brand new subdivision... not even 5 years old, and still building. I don't think I am going to see Fiber or anything other then cable modems for at least another 5 years (at least till all the subdivisions are done in my area) And you would think Verizon or whom ever would be pro-active in this, but they are not.
You look around Chicago Land... and they "JUST" got done upgrading the Cable Infrustructer. It is going to be a long while (more then 5 or even 10 years) before the cities and the counties let "the new guy" come around and start digging up everyones backyards again.
Heck I can't even get DSL, because SBC is so behind in building a new CO to accomidate the 3,500 new homes that are being build (starting 5 years ago, and project till 2010)
And by then... We will be on another "new" technology.
And then me personally, I make purchases an decisions on about a 2-3 year look out.... things move so fast in my opinion, looking beyond the 3 year lookout is too difficult.
Regarding the DirecTV card:
- Msoft and Intel have worked on a lot of things that haven't happened, so that means almost nothing.
- MSoft doesn't need the DirecTV card to get the vast majority of the TV audience. They need a cable card PC card, which they will have. Once they have that, the satellite companies are important, but hardly critical.
- DirecTV has a history of being very closed. Once you introduce the PC, you have to be open. This is why the original DirecTV card got pulled (years ago).
- Verizon went from 0 to hundred's of thousands of customers in the DC area in a matter of a year.
- The cost per customer recently was reported at about $1000. That's in the range of everyone else. It's unclear if this is a cost they pay for everyone up front, or just new customers.
- Expect to see it far sooner than 5-10 years. Verizon and SBC at least are going full steam ahead with building the infrastructure, and they have the money to do it.
Again, unless you're in some back-woods suburb, I'll bet you'll see Fiber to your house from your Bell before you see 6.2 on the HD Tivo. Heck, I think I'd bet you'll see Fiber to your house before we see an MP4 HD DVR (but I don't know your area well enough to say for sure).
My neighborhood is pretty suburban. We can't get DSL. We couldn't get cable modems until 2+ years after I moved in. So many of us have Satellite - they were our TV saviors. Now, Satellite is targeting the low- to middle-end customers, and leaving us higher-end customers out. FIOS (Verizon's Fiber) seems to be targeting everyone. And the infrastructure is far sounder than the cable infrastructure - the foundation is data, everything else rides on top of that.
Unless the Bell's screw it up (and they certainly could), I'm betting Fiber (Bell fiber, not Cable-co fiber) will be the predominant form of video delivery in the country within 10 years, easily.
MCE 2005 actually supports QAM based TV, but MS hasn't turned it on. I can actually setup MCE to download local digital cable channel information, but it doesn't do me any good since no tuners are enabled to do this. MS was supposedly going to do this in fall 2005, but decided not to because of DRM issues with content providers.
I have actually seen movies recorded via analog channels in MCE 2005 marked as protected, which I guess means I couldn't copy them to DVD, etc. I haven't tried it.
Vista will have a secure file system to store digital video content in, satidfying cable companies, content providers, and D*, so I would expect to see a MPEG4 digital PC card. At the outside it might require two slots or work outside with a connector.
MPEG4 digital isn't the issue, it's the DirecTV tuner that's the issue. Once it's in a PC, it's 1000x easier to hack.
And I thought the new Windows file system didn't make it into Vista, at least the last buid I have. If you mean the encrypted directories, that's easily defeated, and I can't imagine that will satisfy DRM nuts.
WinFS was pulled from Vista... but I do believe an updated version of NTFS is being put in it's place (for now)
Again... as usuall... for most of this stuff, talk is cheap and only time will tell what happens... The past usually does predict the future, but then again... things do change.
As I think about it more and more.... Most of my "intrest" in this is now I have a real reason to consider a new PC... Vista is cool, and would have gotten it anyway... but if it is now getting to point, that I could buy a power machine that could record from all the major sources of video..... Now... that is a reason to invest in a Media PC.
So I think in the end-game... This is more a "Microsoft" needs these to work, more so then DirecTV needs it to work. (I am almost Certain unless Microsoft signs an exclusivity agreement, they are talking to Dish to get a card built for their system)
Could you imagin a central PC that record from the 4 major players (OTA, Cable, DirecTV, and Dish), the mix in the variety of "internet" based broadcasters, or any of the other "free" ones out there.... That could be one cool box.
Mix a good set of APIs so that the user community cold write 3rd party programs to control the recordings.... the sky is the limit.
Despite all the hype about Windows MCE and the possible Apple DVR, I can't see your average consumer purchasing a $1000 PC/Mac-based DVR just to get some extra features. Here's my thinking:
The statistics I've read are that 85% of people watch TV either by subscribing to cable or satellite (with that number remaining constant for years and satellite taking cable market-share). Less than 15% of people (and shrinking) get their TV via an OTA antenna. Most people aren't going to invest $500 in a good OTA antenna install simply because the PQ is "less compressed". It would take years before the "subscription cost" of local HD channels catches up to that up-front cost. So, very few people will care about the ability for a DVR to record HD OTA (besides those of us who read these boards).
Cable and satellite companies already provide "servicable" SD DVRs and soon they will all provide HD DVRs, for a very inexpensive ($10/month or so) rental price. The gap between DVRs provided by cable/satellite companies and standalone DVRs (Tivo, MythTV, MCE, etc.) is also shrinking, at least as far as basic capabilities go.
So, the vast majority of that 85% will be happy either with what they have (basic cable, digital cable with no DVR) or upgrading to the DVR provided by their cable or satellite company (whatever "OS" it's running). They won't invest $1000 (as Earl would) in a "power machine" as some kind of central server when they can rent one for less than $120/year. Especially when the technology behind DVRs is so complex and changing. Who wants to "run a server" at home. Very few people.
Personally, although I'm glad the FCC mandated it, I don't see a CableCard being used by many people beyond those that don't need a DVR (i.e. people who just want to plug the cable card into their TV and forget about it) or the super-users who want to build/maintain their own DVR.
I'm happy to see competition in the DVR world, as I think it's ultimately good for consumers. If nothing else, it might force cable/satellite companies to keep upgrading their DVRs to keep up with what consumers could purchase on their own. I do wish there was some kind of satellite card standard, or satellite usb dongle that could be integrated into a Mac or PC-based DVR solution. That would be real competition.
The only way I see PCs or Macs becoming the central hub is if they get cheap enough and full-enough featured that people would rather have that in their living room (with a cable card) than a $10/month DVR from their cable cos. For all we know, Comcast and DirecTV could release MRV, TTG & HMO features on their DVRs, further reducing the differences between provider-based DVRs and a Windows MCE or Series 3 Tivo box.
Heck, I spent $1,000 for a device with no new features (except recording HD).
But I'm the first to admit I'm far from average. What I find funny is that they say in the beginning that non-DirecTV units just aren't in their future and then 10 minutes later announce the Microsoft partnership. Unless DirecTV bought Microsoft when I wasn't looking, all they really did was change from a partnership with TiVo to a partnership with Microsoft.
I'm with you...sorta...except I know nothing about MCE or whatever all this PC stuff they are talking about is. I know it can't be about watching tv on a tiny 19 inch monitor. And are PCs really that reliable that you'd trust them to 'tivo' all your programs? I think not. I do know that my XP laptop is very reliable, but i'd never trust it vs a 'single' purpose computer like tivo. Plus running a video server while playing Doom just doesn't sound very 'safe or reliable' if you ask me. And then there's the issue of keeping your PC on all the time to just watch tv? nahh....i dont see the need
oh and over dialup this would never work
I just got through watching a replay of Intel CEO Paul Otellini's CES keynote. Chase Carey, DirecTV President/CEO was on stage for several minutes showing how DirecTV and Intel were working together to provide DirecTV content through Intel's VIIV platform. One of the things shown was a DirecTV box that had the Intel VIIV logo on it, suggesting that this was an MCE box with integrated DirecTV receiver. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to do screen captures from WMP (all I get is a blank area), so I can't attach pics. Carey also showed how DirecTV boxes would be Internet-enabled, allowing two-way communication.
Curiously, there was also a TiVo logo earlier in the presentation in the list of Intel partners for VIIV. This is intriguing.
Thats very interesting to say the least. One of the big things mentioned in the cable vs satellite debate is that cable can do on-demand. If a future DVR from D* was internet enabled, then D* could provide on-demand viewing of programs. I am not sure if "ironic" is the correct word to describe it, but D* using cable companies internet infrastructure to provide on-demand video to it's satellite customers is at least humerous