Is this a good idea?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by BillyT2002, Jan 19, 2006.

File a "Petition for Rulemaking" with the FCC?

  1. Yes this is a good idea.

    21 vote(s)
    61.8%
  2. No this is a waste of time.

    13 vote(s)
    38.2%
  1. BillyT2002

    BillyT2002 Crush!Kill!Destroy!

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    Oct 19, 2002
    Waterville, ME
    Please vote whether or not you think this is a good idea and if not, please state why.

    Recently I had a thought that the "Plug and Play" rules created by the FCC for cable television are good for the consumer. No one can doubt that the standardization provided by cable cards (thanks to Cable Labs) is great for us consumers.

    Therefore, I think that the DBS satellite providers should be forced to create a similar Satcard which conforms to the same standards created by Cable Labs (in terms of form factor, communication protocol(s), etc). There is no reason it couldn't be easily done from a technology perspective and a smart card could still be used, if necessary, which plugs into the Satcard for authentication of DBS satellite services.

    This would be great from a consumer perspective as it would make it so that a third-party company (such as TIVO, Replay or any other company for that matter) could create a digital video recorder which can easily accept source material from both cable television and DBS satellite services using existing Cablecard ports.

    So, my question is this. Would it be worth having a "Petition for Rulemaking" regarding this suggestion drafted and submitted to the FCC for review?
     
  2. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Mar 29, 2005
    A lot more background on this issue may be found in this thread.
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=3257000&&#post3257000

    Under the 1996 telecom law, all carriers are required to allow "third party navigational devices" access to their networks. This was the same idea the government had with the phone companies- consumers should be able to plug in other phones not made by Ma Bell.

    For phones it seems like common sense, but the carriers have been screaming bloody murder about it for the last 10 years. Satellite companies were granted a waiver because they at the time were fairly new. The 1996 act states that waivers are to be temporary only for the time necessary to promote the new technology that a waiver company is working on.

    Well, after 10 years, I think they have gotten the kinks worked out of satellites, so it is time for them to join the rest of the carriers and Comply with the dang law.

    One question though- what does a petition for rulemaking do exactly? Is this the procedure one normally takes when citizens wish to point out that their government is not carrying out the laws passed by Congress?
     
  3. BillyT2002

    BillyT2002 Crush!Kill!Destroy!

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    Oct 19, 2002
    Waterville, ME
  4. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Mar 29, 2005
    Excepting the fatalists who think that any form of interaction with the government is a huge waste time that will as a matter of principle yield little or no fruits...

    Are there those who instead feel it is not the correct action to take for a more specific reason, EG political climate with current FCC chairman, there is a better mechanism to use than the rulemaking avenue, etc?
     
  5. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    Jan 2, 2004
    Well I have read a couple of posts here about this ;)

    and yes a petition can be a good idea but you are going up against a lobby and their is evidence of the cost to Satellite providers that would allow them to drag on a rulingh once it was granted. This will take quite some time to happen
     
  6. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Sure, and maybe in 10 years the product landscape will be vastly different. But it would be beneficial to possible products I would show up on enthusiast boards for- Say a Myth based box with usability and support questions solved. They could use a Sattellite cablecard standard. Whoever those third party vendors are- the only way to get to such a standard in 2016, will have been for us "way back in 2006" to start work now.
     
  7. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

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    Apr 18, 2002
    Fairfax, VA
    *raises hand*
     
  8. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    Jan 2, 2004
    well for sure it wont happen on its own given the non actions of the FCC and the total lack of incentive for the satellite companies to do anything
     
  9. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Hey FCC isn't your one stop customver service department for the US Gov...Maybe we go over their heads.

    Maybe Mega, DT and I should go put on ties and give testimony to Congress this year about how they should rework telecom law.

    You got any ties anymore, you can come too. None of those ones with the Tivo Guy the antennae that light up though.... I think that would tip our hand...
     
  10. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

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    Mar 3, 2002
    .worcester.m...
    Put on... TIES?! Are you mad?!
     
  11. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Nevada
    The only problem I see here is that DSS uses completely different tuner technology then cable and OTA. So it would be virtually impossible to make a box that would work with both cable and DSS even if they used the same CableCARD technology for decrypting. That's not to say I don't think they too should be forced to standardize and allow 3rd party manufacturers to produce products that work with their service. I just don't think that such a device will be completely interchangeable between cable and DSS.

    Dan
     
  12. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    I am not sure its that big a deal. After all, the BCM7038/BCM7411** chip pair's smartcard interfaces support both satellite and cablecard POD cards- support both cable and satellite tuners- with on chip support for both cable and satellite formats. Echostart uses that chip pair for its 942. Others use the same chip pair for full on cablecard reference designs including those with OCAP support. The architecture for both could be largely identical, so if the market becomes interested in multiple carrier support, a box could be built to support them at not a huge increase in hardware complexity.

    ** I think it likely S3 will go with the successor of this pair that incorporates both chips on the single BCM7401.
     
  13. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    The issue JT, isn't anything to do with cablecard or the front end system/video processor, it has to do with the back end tuner, which is fundamentally different at a hardware level for satellite (it uses a higher frequency, and widely different modulation scheme), as for some form of "all media" STB to exist, it will have to have a separate satellite tuner (in a tin box with RF components and chips in it), as well as what is needed for cable and OTA.
    I suppose down the road, they could make some sort of all mode front end decoder chip (makes a bitstream the CC/video decoder can use), with separate front ends for cable/ATSC and satellite.
     
  14. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Mar 29, 2005
    Are you sure about that? My understanding very large integrations have put all that junk on single chip or chip pairs. The BCM4501 chip for example provides dual tuners for all the connectivity you need to DirecTv, DVB-S and DVB-S2 systems. It costs $25. Source1 general info Source2 chip tech info

    Similarly, even high end Cableco connectivity (tuners, QAM and DOCSIS 2.0/3.0 all ) is provided with the bcm3255 paired with bcm3420's.
     
  15. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    That is excatly what I mean. to make an all provider box you'd need two each of those chipsets, as well as two each of the truner RF portions (for a dual tuner DVR or dual head receiver, 1 set each for a straight STB)

    If you mean you want a universal satelite only receiver, that is just as easily doable.
     
  16. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Mar 29, 2005
    I was trying not to do a hand wave about how super simple it would be right now- That isn't the impression I was trying to give. I was just saying it is not as complex and hideously expensive/ out of reach that many assume. I am just saying that a multi mode Tivo is getting closer to reality. That is, with separate input paths that when given a channel returns an mpeg stream from different carrier native connections. This is a highly complex operation which formerly required a board full of chips to handle multiple LNBs, non standard modulation schemes, non standard encryptions, non standard use of mpeg and so on and so forth**.

    But now it is a path that requires in some cases just one 25 buck chip. That's pretty astounding.

    Why should we care. Why would you want largely redundant services. Sure in many cases the same hidef show is on both your DBS and your cable line. Yeah, but all hidef is not equal. One could be delivering 15Mbits of signal, and the other is delivering 25. So which one do you want to record for your 1080p set? But even if you knew where to dig up this info before a show came on the air, would YOU atually keep track of which one is not having its quality compressed into junk? Are YOU going to keep track that one show costs you 2 bucks while the same show costs you 99cents on a different carrier? Are YOU going to go and check normally encrypted channels to see if encyption is off because there is a holiday special when HBO is free, or the provider turned it off for other reasons?

    Nope- I wouldn't go to all the bother. But I know a little guy with funky aerials that would be happy to.... And that's the differentiation that the carriers aren't going to provide- that's another advantage to a third party provided guide. That's why you need some smart software that optimizes for PQ, for price, or for earliest viewing- whichever value attirbute you are seeking to maximize.

    For travel, there are a handful of sites that do this sort of thing and help keep airline costs pretty competitive. Perhaps in a decade or two we will see the same with the carriers.

    **For an understandable presentation of how the signal from the satellite gets transmorgified into an MPEG stream, take a look at Rod Hewitt's DVB page where satellite distribution of Mpeg data is explained. These chips "tuner" chips are doing heaps of work.
     

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