NCTA to FCC - 100% OCAP Rollout by end of 2008 for major MSO's, Reject DCR+, Tivo

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by sfhub, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2007


    Coming on the heels of TiVo's filing here, all I can say is:

    Let the OCAP Wars of 2007 Begin!

    Looks like after a couple of years of playing nice, the gloves are off.

    TiVo's filing

    NCTA's filing

    Excerpts provided by vegggas on AVS:
    Monday's (9/10/07) filing by NCTA about commercial availability of navigation devices and compatibility between cable systems and CEA specifying OpenCable platforms, Tivo and other stuff.
    Good, but long read located at:
    Table Of Contents
    ASSISTING THE BROADCAST DIGITAL TRANSITION.............................5
    A. The OpenCable Platform Helps Migrate Consumers into the Digital Transition. 7
    B. The OpenCable Platform Is Being Commercially Deployed Today ............ 9
    C. The OpenCable Platform Is Ready for Retail ....... 10
    D. Content Providers Agree That the OpenCable Platform Provides the Environment
    Required to Bring Better Programming to Consumers........... 12
    E. TiVo Displays a Profound Misunderstanding of the OpenCable Platform .... 14
    A. Networks Must Continue to Innovate and Rapidly Deploy Enhanced Services to
    Consumers.............. 17
    B. The Proposed OpenCable Platform Rules Allow All Parties to Continue
     to Innovate Rapidly.......... 19
    PARTIES THE FREEDOM TO INNOVATE ....................... 16
    A. Networks Must Continue to Innovate and Rapidly Deploy Enhanced Services to 
    Consumers......... 17
    B. The Proposed OpenCable Platform Rules Allow All Parties to Continue to
     Innovate Rapidly......... 19
    A. The CEA Proposal Would Create Consumer Confusion and Limit New and
     Enhanced Service Offerings, with No Real Cost Savings.......... 22
    B. The CEA Proposal Leaves Creative Content and Other Intellectual Property
     Bereft of Adequate Protection and Vulnerable to Illegal Use and Distribution.26
    C. By Refusing to Offer Any Firm Commitment Whatsoever to Make DCR+ 
    Equipment, CEA has Renounced All Responsibility for Its Risky Proposal ...... 28
    D. The CEA Proposal Does Not Promote Competition......... 29
    E. The CEA Proposal Sacrifices Innovation for Premature Standardization ..... 32
    F. The CEA Proposal is Based on “Standards” That Do Not Exist and is Otherwise 
    Technically Deficient in Ways that Would Hamper Innovation, Compromise Cable
    Network Security, and Thwart Law Enforcement Activities.........34
    G. Even Under the Most Generous Assumptions, the CEA Proposal Could Never Make a
    Timely Contribution to the Broadcast Digital Transition........ 37
    H. The CEA Proposal is Not Carterfone for Cable ........ 40
    I. Why Not Adopt Both? Because DCR+ is a Consumer “Minus”......... 42
    A. Top Ten Technical Failings of CEA’s Proposal
    B. DMAs with OpenCable – December 2008
    C. Proposed Regulations
    D. Critique of CEA’s Proposed Licenses
    There are a great couple of pages (15/16 of PDF) about Tivo, but I'm having a problem posting that split format, maybe someone else can do a better job.

  2. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Interesting that Tivo is proposing HME as a short-term alternative to OCAP:
  3. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Here's pages 15/16 of the PDF hard to copy/paste because of split screen table format:

    TIVO: TiVo claims that testing and certifying retail devices would be too difficult. It claims that the current CableCARD specification is insufficiently complete to ensure thorough testing.
    CABLE: Comprehensive testing is a necessary solution, not a problem. OpenCable Platform testing has already certified both Samsung and LG digital televisions for retail manufacture and sale. Every cable modem ever sold has been certified after testing. Current UDCP testing is too limited, which has resulted in consumer problems with UDCP devices. The remedy is more comprehensive testing, not less testing as suggested by TiVo. CEA recognized this fact in the one-way MOU where the parties agreed that two-way devices would require additional testing considerations. Navigation Devices FNPRM, 18 FCC Rcd at 548.

    TIVO: TiVo contends that the OpenCable Platform was not designed or developed to support multifunction devices with non-cable related features.
    CABLE: CE and cable collaborated to resolve these precise issues. The product of that collaboration is included in version 1.1 of the OpenCable Platform specification.

    TIVO: TiVo claims that OpenCable licensing requirements prevent or interfere with the range of functions that competitive set-top boxes could otherwise offer to consumers.
    CABLE: TiVo has it backwards: retail devices are invited to innovate. But they are also required to present cable services and protect cable networks.

    TIVO: TiVo claims that the OpenCable specifications allow the cable operator, and not the CE manufacturer, to control the user interface and functionality of the retail devices used with their systems.
    CABLE: This is not true. The OpenCable Platform permits the cable guide to appear, but it does not prevent the operation of competing guides. A Series 3 TiVo guide could appear on a retail device exactly as it does in retail TiVo devices today.

    TIVO: TiVo claims that the OpenCable Monitor Application ensures that only programs authorized by the cable operator will run on an OpenCable-enabled device.
    CABLE: This is not true. TiVo has presented no evidence of such a practice, and version 1.1 of the OpenCable Platform specification provides exactly the opposite, allowing for Cable, CE, and crossover-mode functionality.

    TIVO: TiVo claims that the OpenCable licensing requirements lock out any program or innovation by a device manufacturer unless the manufacturer has a separate agreement with every cable operator. TiVo claims that VOD would be unavailable to a retail device.
    CABLE: This is not true. CE manufacturers may innovate as much as they like as long as they also preserve the cable experience. VOD services are available to retail devices through the OpenCable Platform. The cable industry is already running multiple VOD applications today that can be available to CE devices through OpenCable.

    TIVO: TiVo claims that OpenCable is not a complete or sufficient solution for device manufacturers to access cable services.
    CABLE: CE devices may access cable services through the OpenCable Platform.

    TIVO: TiVo claims that the present OpenCable specification omits critical technical elements needed for the design of competitive set-top boxes with two-way functionality.
    CABLE: Two CE retail manufacturers have already made OpenCable DTVs which have been certified for retail manufacture and sale. The OpenCable Platform is completely sufficient to enable CE devices to access interactive cable services. Many innovative cable services are implemented in specific ways by specific cable operators. Their features, functionality, and therefore their user, network, and billing interfaces are particular to a cable system, and therefore must be supported at the application level. OpenCable solves this by abstracting those differences. If TiVo is seeking data internal to program guides, specific and standardized applications for IPPV, VOD, or switched digital, TiVo’s claim is just another way of asking for DCR+ protocols, and it is missing the technical point. These are all non-standard applications from a wide variety of vendors that are abstracted through OpenCable in order to make the services available to OpenCable-enabled devices.

    TIVO: TiVo claims that through OpenCable, the cable company controls the performance of the retail device, and a manufacturer cannot differentiate its product.
    CABLE: Manufacturers differentiate their products through a wide variety of features, resources, processing speed, etc. OpenCable adds one more feature to such devices. It does not remove their differentiation.
  4. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

    Aug 29, 2002
    Translation: as long as they fundamentally maintain our user interface, CE manufactures can "innovate" by adding various bells and whistles.
    Someone is, ummm.. doing some serious "spinning" here. The descriptions of OCAP we have seen in this forum indicate that the cable company has pretty much full control over what will run, over the UI, and can override pretty much anything they want.
  5. bdraw

    bdraw Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Tampa, FL


    Yeah, that's the best line ever, I'll rephrase it: CE manufacturers may innovate as much as they like as long as they also preserve the same terrible experience.

    Seriously, this really says it all doesn't it. Cable just doesn't understand that some people think that the "cable experience" is a bad experience.

    Whatever you say cable, you're right, I paid $800 for a Series3 and $10/mo because I like the way the STB looks in my rack and the remote is neat. What would make it even better is if I could somehow get SA sara software to run on my TiVo.
    What a joke.
  6. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    I don't see why VOD and PPV should be treated as "applications" at all. Just define a protocol for them and be done with it.
  7. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    TiVo employees must have steam coming out of their ears after reading this! Can you imagine Pony and his team around the conference table going through these responses?
  8. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    What's really funny about this however is that Tivo is using the OCAP interface for the Comcast/Tivo software are they not? According to Tivo OCAP would not be sufficient to design things how they would like, so does this mean they have already admitted before rollout the Tivo/Comcast solution is not adequate? The other way to look at it - it's taken 2+ year for the Tivo/Comcast solution to be developed and still no production release. So maybe that does point to real problems/limitations with OCAP Tivo has been trying to work around. Either way it does not seem to be in Tivo's best interest to make a successful OCAP product since it would contradict a lot of what they are saying to the FCC.
  9. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    but that box is specific to Comcast. Basically Comcast hired TiVo to make a better interface and better performance on their motorolla hardware. No one has seen this working in the wild yet so doubts do remain as to how well it is working.

    What is backwards about a wide cable card 2 OCAP spec is that each cable company gets a lot of control of the interface and TiVo has to figure out a generic framework that can allow for that AND present the TiVo interface most of us would rather have.

    So TiVo turned that around and said we already have our interface and also we have this HME app that many have used to present their own application/interface within this HME framework. Gives the cable companies what they claim they want while allowing Tivo to continue down its own interface path.

    can anybody post anything that is FCC commenting on all this spin fest :)
  10. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    There is also a contract with Cox which likely uses the same base software and there were plans mentioned to get it working on SA boxes as well. I don't know for sure if the solution is fully OCAP or some intermediate non-standard format, but for Tivo's sake I would hope it's the latter.
  11. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

    Mar 3, 2002
    Apples and oranges. The Comcast/Cox software is a TiVo application written to run ON OCAP as the application. What TiVo has problems with is being the host FOR OCAP and not being able to control the interface on a TiVo-branded box (S2, S3, HD, etc). Those are two different issues.
  12. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

    Aug 29, 2002
    Agreeing: The Comcast box with TiVo software will have whatever TiVo functionality that Comcast wants it to have. Functionality that they feel is against their interests will not be there; things like MRV, TTG, TiVoCast, Unbox come to mind as possibilities in this category.
  13. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I only skimmed this thread, but the first one
    Cable is totally ignoring what Tivo has said. Tivo has said that the testing *CANNOT BE DONE* because the specification is incomplete.. Not because they're too lazy to test it, is how I infer the cable's response.
  14. vman41

    vman41 Omega Consumer

    Jun 18, 2002
    Plus, saying the OCAP TVs have been certified doesn't garantee they'll work in the field.
  15. MickeS

    MickeS Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Or that they'll ever even reach market.
  16. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2002
    Actually, I think they are refering to Tivo's filing, footnote#18, page 33. See the first post for the link. (Why do lawyers love to jab other companies in footnotes?)

    In the first half of this footnote, I agree with NTCA. No spec. is ever complete no matter how detailed it is, and testing to that spec. certainly doesn't uncover every bug. Do you really want to spend five more years developing the spec.? Do you really want a 12-month long test event every time you modify the box or add a new feature? Wouldn't that delay your next-gen box, and wouldn't that drive its price up?

    I agree with Tivo on the second point. Since Motorola and SA are not subcontractors for Tivo, and CableCards are not money-makers, they cannot put any pressure on Motorola and SA to fix the bugs in the CableCards. So Tivo is having to update their software to work around the bugs.

    Tivo's last statement is, "consequently, there is no mechanism for a CE company to build a retail device that can be tested to ensure it will perform adequately in the field." There is, it's called beta testing, and Tivo has done a poor job of it recently. Have it pass the CableLabs test first, as this allows access to the cable networks. THEN do EXTENSIVE beta testing on the several major cable networks, fix any bugs, THEN release the product.

    As a side note, the NTCA is just "ticked off" at Tivo, but really p*ssed at Sony. Can anyone find Sony's filing?
  17. mrmike

    mrmike Custom User Title

    May 2, 2001
    I think you have a major misunderstanding of the homogenity (Is that a word) of cable plant configurations. Just because something works with TWC of Podunk doesn't mean it will work with TWC of BlahBlah. Even among a single cable system you may see several different CableCard configurations and several different firmware revisions on the cards themselves. And none of this is under your control. The testing plan would be a nightmare. There are functional network and protocol standards out there, they just don't tend to be single sourced by an organization with a vested interest in making it difficult for outsiders to work with their hardware.
  18. kmill14

    kmill14 New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    Considering Tivo has said publicly that they are aligning themselves with Cable, it is very frustrating to see both sides in such heated public disagreement over this topic.
  19. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2002
    No, no misunderstanding here. This is exactly why the NTCA didn't like CableCards. They warned that it wouldn't work, but obviously didn't state why: their cable systems are a non-uniform mess. CableCard simply exposes how badly the systems are maintained, and gives them a whole new set of problems to poorly maintain. They can barely get the boxes they already have to work. At least with one DVR, they only have one set of problems to poorly maintain. :)

    With regards to beta testing, the plan isn't as complicated as you seem to think. Just hit the major markets. Beta testing isn't going to catch everything, but it should catch when for example, both brands of CableCards don't work well with your new product. Having two emergency software updates within 60 days after your product launch is a sign you're not doing something right.

    Tivo is throwing up its hands saying, "we can't sell products like this." And the NTCA is saying, "I told you so."

    Edit: Here comes the post, "well if they maintained their systems better there wouldn't be as many problems." To which I say, "that'll be $10 more per month, please." And then someone will post how that price increase is outrageous, and the monopolistic cable companies need to kept under control, blah blah blah.

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