Is TiVo in trouble?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Sparky1234, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Apr 3, 2019 #281 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, as Rogers is proving, it's certainly possible to run a full-scale IPTV system and a full-scale QAM TV system on the same network simultaneously. So Comcast could do this if they wanted now. (Actually, Comcast IS doing this now, but they're only serving a sliver of their total client devices -- Roku, mobile phones, and computers -- completely via their IPTV system, so IPTV is not consuming all that much bandwidth -- surely far, far less than Netflix + YouTube on their network. And I doubt that Comcast is running any linear channels via multicast except in areas on EPON and perhaps certain areas where they are reportedly testing deployment of the Xi6 + xFi Gateway without an XG1 or XG2 in the home.)

    As of March, Comcast stated that about 2/3 of their residential customers were using X1 for TV service. (I assume this meant 2/3 of their residential TV customers, not 2/3 of their total residential base, as many of those customers are broadband-only.) Throw in a few percent of customers who are on the Roku/mobile-delivered Xfinity Instant TV IPTV service, and that leaves about 30% of their TV customers who are on legacy QAM-only hardware.

    Their website today advertises "170+" channels on their traditional QAM product and 189 channels on their Ignite IPTV product. Which is a lot, although fewer than Comcast's stated "260+" channels.

    The heart of their footprint is Ontario, which has an 860 MHz cable plant. The other 9% of their footprint is out in the Atlantic provinces, which I presume has a lesser system. Those figures come from the following PDF, which looks like it was made back in 2013. So it's possible that they've further upgraded their plant since then, e.g. to 1 GHz. I don't know.

    https://www.rogers.com/cms/investor_relations/pdfs/At_A_Glance_Highlights-Rogers_Cable.pdf
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  2. Apr 3, 2019 #282 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    There's no good reason for them to offer an all-IP system on their own boxes, as the XG1 and XG2 boxes have QAM tuners. They do, however, offer some packages and channels that are IP-only. Since they are specialty content, they use the 8x4 DSG and IP unicast, but they would need RDK-B on D3.1 gateways to do IP multicast and a wider delivery of content via IP.

    My big question is can they do fiber-deep FDX with rphy and still inject QAM via analog fiber? That's the tipping point that I see for them needing to move entirely to IPTV.

    Interesting. They've got quite a bit less channel tonnage, and because they are all Xi5/Xi6, they may be using HEVC on their IPTV, versus Comcast with the older XG1s that limits them to MPEG-4. It's quite possible that the Atlantic provinces were upgraded later directly to 1ghz, or to the same 860mhz as the rest.
     
  3. Apr 4, 2019 #283 of 350
    dadrepus

    dadrepus Active Member

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    So, I live in the Baltimore /Washington DC area. Got a flyer from Comcast in my mail detailing their new internet based TV network. So, it is here in my area. Verizon is so behind they may never catch up. Oh, finally got my antenna connected to the chimney instead of the attic. What a difference in reception. "Action Antenna" did a great job.
     
  4. Apr 4, 2019 #284 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Rogers reports far lower customer acquisition (hardware + installation) costs on Ignite TV vs. their legacy TV product, which is among the reasons they're shifting over to it so quickly. That could be a reason why Comcast would want to switch to a similar scenario with 100% IPTV delivered exclusively to Xi6/Xi5 + their own gateway. No more XG1 and XG2 boxes with their own internal modems and hard drives.

    As for those XG1 and XG2 boxes, why could their internal modems not run RDK-B firmware, enabling them to directly support multicast IPTV without going through a separate gateway? I realize that the XG1 and XG2 modems are probably D3.0, not D3.1, but multicast doesn't have to be deployed on D3.1's OFDM blocks.

    However, if you're right, and Comcast would have to get all those X1 homes (basically all of which use an XG1 or XG2 as their primary STB, right?) to also adopt a Comcast gateway running RDK-B before they could deprecate their QAM TV system (i.e. by making it SD-only, or only supporting a limited set of channels), then that's another significant hurdle for them. Because I would imagine that a good chunk of those X1 homes use their own retail modems and routers which do not run RDK-B.

    I'm not sure, although I don't think I've read anything that suggests that R-PHY and FDX are inherently incompatible with legacy QAM video, therefore absolutely requiring adoption of IPTV.

    Good point, I would bet that Roger's Ignite IPTV is fully HEVC. OTOH, I don't think they ever converted their legacy QAM TV system from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4, so those 170+ channels it carries are probably eating up more bandwidth than Comcast's 260+ in MPEG-4. Instead of upgrading all their legacy STBs to support MPEG-4, Rogers chose to focus on developing an IPTV replacement, an effort they spent five years on but then abandoned in 2016 when they announced they would instead just license Comcast's X1 as the basis for IPTV.

    I assume the Comcast flyer you mention was advertising their Xfinity Instant TV service? Yeah, they're pushing it somewhat as a low-priced TV service for folks who might otherwise only consider standalone broadband. I'm curious how many subs it has now.

    As for Verizon FiOS TV, I think they finally did roll out a new STB that supports 4K (although Netflix may be about the only 4K content it actually delivers). After they beta tested and gave up on a next-gen IPTV service last year, I don't think Verizon is ever going to replace FiOS TV, they'll just ride it out. For their 5G Wireless Broadband Home customers, they don't even offer their own TV service and instead just give you a free Apple TV 4K and three months of YouTube TV.
     
  5. Apr 4, 2019 #285 of 350
    owine

    owine New Member TCF Club

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    My condo finally voted to select RCN's Tivo/Android TV-based IPTV solution for the building. We're projecting turn up in August. The rep demoed the platform for us last week and it was very slick. Full TE4 interface, nice stream quality, streaming apps and VOD. The box deployed is the eSTREAM 4K™ | Evolution Digital - IP Video Solutions for Cable Operators with a RCN-branded voice remote that includes both TiVo voice control and Google Assistant. No on-prem DVR storage, all cloud-based. The demo was actually done over a LTE hotspot so all boxes can hookup via ethernet or 5Ghz WiFi.

    RCN's deployment seems to be targeted at MDUs for now (at least in Chicago) where they deploy an ethernet-based Gigabit network (no speed tiers) with the IPTV service. All things considered it really blows Comcast out of the water.
     
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  6. Apr 4, 2019 #286 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    I don't think that the XG1 really costs that much more. Rogers was comparing IPTV to their legacy QAM hardware, not X1-based QAM hardware. That, and with cord cutting, they are probably re-using a lot of XG1 boxes that come back.

    They're 8x4, there's just not enough bandwidth to do a whole node's worth of IPTV in a single set of 8 channels. There is plenty when you talk about D3.1. It works fine for VOD and low-popularity channels via IP unicast, as you can just have different boxes on different sets of channels to spread the load out.

    Yeah, I think we discussed that before. They'd have to either force people to rent it as their gateway, which will cause some customer churn, or issue XB6 gateways that are locked down for only IPTV. The bigger issue for Comcast is that they still have a lot of XB3s out there that would have to be exchanged as well. In the category of absurd solutions, a household that wants an owned D3.1 data-only modem with Triple Play would end up with a data modem, an eMTA, an IPTV gateway, and a router all in a jumbled pile of wires.

    The better approach from a support perspective might be to allow people to use the XB6 for their internet and voice for free, and then charge for the router and Wi-Fi like Charter does, although that's not without it's support issues too. For my parents, if they are forced to rent an XB6, I'd probably just set it up as their router, and put it on the same SSID as their other two hardwired APs.

    Yeah, I don't know for sure, it just seems that if you can use QAM with rphy, you basically end up building two redundant fiber networks to each node, which is a massive expensive PITA. I don't know how FDX carves up the spectrum, and if there can be a chunk of it that is downstream-only for QAM. There probably is, as you'd want to have backwards compatibility with D3 and D3.1 non-FDX modems on a traditional split running below the FDX.

    Do they use SDV? That can save a lot of bandwidth too.

    Verizon has 4.66 million TV subscribers, Comcast has 22.12 million TV subscribers. In that mid-tier of MVPDs, there is Verizon, Cox, and Altice. Altice and Cox both have large monopoly markets that they can abuse to make TV profitable, Verizon is not a monopoly for TV virtually anywhere, and on top of that they have an huge channel tonnage, so I doubt that their TV business is even profitable. Their profitability on FiOS come from broadband and FDV, and cost avoidance by offering POTS over the network as well. Comcast, Charter, and AT&T have massive scales of economy and bargaining power that probably make TV marginally profitable for them. I don't think that Verizon even cares about the TV market, they actively market FiOS for cord cutters.

    That's a fairly compelling case for a bulk deal, as much as I have a strong distaste for such arrangements. Is it active Ethernet, like a regular CAT-5 drop into each unit?
     
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  7. Apr 4, 2019 #287 of 350
    owine

    owine New Member TCF Club

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    Yes. Currently have AT&T U-verse who declined to bid at all to keep the business. There are a few providers in Chicago that reuse the homerun from the unit to the node (in building) as Cat5 by re-terminating. In many recent buildings I guess the actual copper is Cat5 terminated as Cat3 for AT&T. Re-terminate the jack in the unit as Cat5, re-terminate in the telco room into a 10G switch, plug your own router into your in-unit ethernet jack and boom. Those providers typically will use point-to-point microwave whereas RCN will run true fiber. And minimal infrastructure investment brings a ridiculously low price.
     
  8. Apr 4, 2019 #288 of 350
    schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

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    This is where Tivo is going and explains Hydra; retail Tivo may be left in the dust bin of history.

    If RCN can do this, why can't they offer this everywhere as long as you have an internet connection?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  9. Apr 4, 2019 #289 of 350
    mntvjunkie

    mntvjunkie Active Member

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    I don't think Comcast will flip the switch all at once. And this is how it has been going so far. They have already started introducing all NEW channels as IPTV only (Newsy, and a few others I forgot). They have also launched MLB/NHL/NBA IPTV, allowing them to increase the amount of HD games they can provide to subscribers. EVERYTHING else is already broadcasting in IPTV for mobile, PC, Roku, etc (and can all be received via IP using X1 boxes. I predict they will continue moving lesser watched channels to IPTV only (as contracts are renewed) until only the top 20 networks are provided in QAM (I could see this moving as well, depending on demands placed by Internet speeds).

    Slowly, more and more will migrate as services require it, until there is no need for QAM. Tivo will need to adapt to this (if Comcast lets them) or they'll lose out as boxes become less and less useful.
     
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  10. Apr 4, 2019 #290 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I'd say an XG1 costs more, not less, than a traditional QAM-only DVR, given that the XG1 also contains IP components, mainly a modem, in addition to the QAM tuners and hard drive. I'd say costs comparison would be: XG1 > legacy QAM DVR > legacy QAM STB (no DVR) > Xi6 (which is basically a Roku Ultra -- no hard drive, no QAM tuners, no modem). But, yes, Comcast is of course re-using XG1s and XG2s as they get turned back in.

    Yep, makes sense. Although, along that gradual path, Comcast will have to take certain steps. An important one would be if Comcast were to stop giving out QAM-capable STBs to new customers and instead only offer them IPTV-only hardware, such as an Xi5 or Xi6 set-top box to be used in conjunction with a Comcast gateway. AFAIK, they've only done that in limited test cases, but I would imagine that will become the regular policy at some point in the future.
     
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  11. Apr 4, 2019 #291 of 350
    BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    I think retail may get a Hydrated android streamer... even if it doesn't involve some sort of managed IPTV service like the MSO version.

    For the last couple of quarterly calls, Tivo has talked up their plans to monetize Hydra. Not just with ads, but they want to embrace a "transactional model". There is a good chance they're going to partner with OTT channels directly, like Amazon, Hulu and Apple are doing with HBO, CBS, Starz, etc. and possibly direct VOD. They specifically mentioned the "consumer footprint" becomes more valuable with these goals in mind.

    Then there was Ted Malone at CES: "I think if we were to do something there [live tv streaming], we would want it to be seamlessly integrated into the tuner experience," Malone said. "We don’t have any plans to announce right now, but... I would like to have something to announce in the area."
     
  12. Apr 4, 2019 #292 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Most buildings built after 1995 have CAT-5e to each unit. It's still CAT-5e, whether it's terminated in an RJ-11 or RJ-45. WebPass does that with microwave. It's interesting that RCN is doing Ethernet, as they are a cable company, and cable companies usually love coax.

    The XG1 is most likely way less than a traditional DVR, as they are universal (work on Moto or Sci Atlanta system), Comcast owns the design and bids out the manufacturing to the lowest bidder overseas, keeping hardware costs very low. An Xi6 is cheaper than an XG1, but I'd bet an XG1 is cheaper than even a non-DVR Moto or Sci Atlanta box. The different now is that they haven't bought traditional boxes in a long time, so they are just re-issued.

    There's no need to do that until after the IPTV transition, since the XG1 is IP unicast capable on it's own, and would work with IP multicast with an RDK-B DOCSIS 3.1 gateway. Heck, there's no need to do that ever, as XG1s and XG2s could be re-issued even to an IPTV-only system. Of course, they wouldn't buy new XG1s and XG2s at that point, since they'd cost more than an Xi6.
     
  13. Apr 5, 2019 #293 of 350
    TKnight206

    TKnight206 Active Member

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    I would like an option to make my TiVo ad-free. Nothing sponsored at all. No ads for TIVo-related stuff either if I don't want it. Either an additional monthly fee or a one-time fee would be nice. Delete ads, pause ads, episode folder ads, Discovery Bar ads, let them be customizable and removable for those of us who want to pay a fee.
     
  14. Apr 5, 2019 #294 of 350
    mulscully

    mulscully Member

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    This was the point in which I dropped DirecTv and moved to Cable/Fios.

    I love the TiVo for live TV and recording shows, but I do not like it for streaming. My TV and FireTv do that better IMHO. So I am not sure what in the future for TiVo as we move more into streaming. I do like the Idea of putting the TiVo experience on the FireTv and using them instead of Mini's. I could see a centralized Tuner/DVR in a closet in my house and AppleTvs, FireTv,s Etc around the house getting the content from it.
     
  15. Apr 5, 2019 #295 of 350
    ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Well-Known Member

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    I am TiVo. Without me TiVo doesn't exist. So says MR Brain.:)
     
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  16. Apr 5, 2019 #296 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Nah. You're overestimating the per-unit premium Comcast paid third parties (e.g. Moto, SA, etc.) for huge orders of legacy DVRs/STBs (in a market with multiple competing providers all using pretty generic, undifferentiated software/technology) vs. the cost savings of owning the design and bidding out the manufacturing. Yes, there are some cost savings there, but I still don't think it would offset the increased build costs of an XG1 -- with its D3.0 modem, larger hard drive, greater number of tuners, voice remote, etc. -- vs. the crappy legacy DVRs Comcast used to buy, much less their legacy non-DVR STBs. (And in both cases, Comcast must license program guide data and metadata to actually provide service to the box, so that's a separate expense.)

    At any rate, this is one of those rabbit-trail debates that's really neither here nor there. I think we can at least agree that, when it comes to ordering and paying for new STBs, it will be much more cost-effective for Comcast to go with something like the little IP-only Xi6 as opposed to the hybrid QAM/IP boxes like the XG1 and XG2. (Rogers says that their per-home CPE+installation costs have dropped from $1200 to $400 by going from their legacy QAM system to the Xi6-based IPTV system. And keep in mind that that $400 figure is still inclusive of the "hefty royalty payments to Comcast for the X1 syndication rights."

    Sure, it's quite possible that Comcast will re-issue XG1 and XG2 boxes to new customers after a big shift to IPTV (e.g. deprecating QAM to SD-only), so long as they are paired with a multicast-capable (RDK-B) gateway, based on the logic that reusing those X1 boxes would keep down the number of new Xi6s they have to buy. But I think that moving to the Xi6 as a standalone box would actually have marketing value for Comcast, because it's small, sleek and energy efficient, more akin to an Apple TV box as opposed to a big, clunky traditional cable box. Note also that the Xi6 has lower shipping costs for self-installs due to its lower weight and smaller size vs. XG1 or XG2. I think that the per-unit cost of the Xi6 will be so low at the scale that Comcast will order them that it just may not be worth it to Comcast to continue refurbishing and re-using the XG1s and XG2s. Although existing ones in use out in the field might remain there until they fail, with their QAM tuners unused. (BTW, note that Comcast is going to use the Xi6 + gateway as the hardware platform for their upcoming Xfinity Flex service for broadband-only subs. This, to me, looks like the initial stage of the next iteration of their X1 video platform.)

    Anyhow, my original point was that, so far, Comcast hasn't (to my knowledge) began giving hardware to their new TV subscribers that is 100% reliant on their IPTV system. When they do that, it will be a big signal to us of where they are on the QAM-to-IPTV transition. Yes, they sell Xfinity Instant TV, which is 100% IPTV, but that is a niche offering that uses Rokus and other retail devices. AFAIK, Comcast is serving all those Xfinity Instant TV subs purely through unicast streams. But when Comcast starts giving their regular, mainstream X1 TV subscribers hardware that is all-IP, such as the Xi6, we'll know that they are serious about scaling up their IPTV system and presumably implementing multicast video.
     
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  17. Apr 5, 2019 #297 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'd say that IF we see a next-gen OTA TiVo DVR (beyond the Bolt OTA) that connects directly to a TV, it will probably be an Android TV device running the Hydra UI. But I'm not sure there will be another such all-in-one TV-connected TiVo. Rather than another box that would house the tuners and hard drive, TiVo might separate those elements out like a Tablo. And, of course, if separated out, I'm not sure TiVo would see the need to even produce a front-end Android TV box that you connect to your TV, since the central network-attached tuner/hard drive box could simply be accessed by the forthcoming TiVo app on existing Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV and Android TV devices. We'll see.

    As for TiVo integrating a live streaming cable service in with an OTA DVR, that would be cool. Sling TV has done it with their own service on the AirTV Player. I'm just not sure that any of the OTT services would ever agree to let their streams be accessed within TiVo's UI rather than their own.
     
  18. Apr 5, 2019 #298 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    True, neither of us has access to those numbers, and they're not really apples to apples anyway, as Comcast hasn't bought legacy equipment in years anyway. Yes, new installations would be cheaper as they buy new hardware, but by the time Comcast gets to rolling IPTV out, they may not be buying new boxes anyway as old ones come in from cord cutting, so I'm not sure how much of a selling point that is at this point.

    Sure, that's quite possible. The existing hardware in the field will be around just about forever, as the most likely part to fail is the hard drive. As long as they can run without a hard drive, they could just keep going like zombies. I wonder if they will start tiering DVR storage using their cloud DVR system? Given the cost of storage, they could make a pretty penny offering chunks of 100 hours for $5/mo or something, especially if they just made it auto-expand and auto-bill you for it.

    I'm not sure that signal will happen. I think that within a given system, letters will go out about upgrading to X1 and an XB6 if they don't have those already, and when the switch happens, it happens, and no one will really notice except TiVo users.

    I'm still wondering how they will handle the gateway issue, knowing Comcast they will force rentals in order to use their TV service, or just raise the price of the bundles in order to include it for "free".

    That's true, but an Android TV box would also provide a much better third-party streaming experience.
     
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  19. Apr 6, 2019 #299 of 350
    tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

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    "Unfortunately no one can say what the Tivo is, you have see it for yourself"/"You mean The Matrix, right ?"/"What's The Matrix?"/"What's the Tivo?" o_O:eek::confused:
     
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  20. Apr 6, 2019 #300 of 350
    ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Well-Known Member

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    All will be revealed in time. Time makes fools of us all.;):):eek::cool:
     

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