OCAP- Who is capping whom?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Justin Thyme, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

    2,013
    0
    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...

    Advertisements

    I've had to sit in alot of meetings like the following:
    - Engineering (Me)
    - Product Management / Marketing
    - Lawyers

    With Engineering discussing what is and isn't feasible ... Product Management / Marketing discussing what will and won't sell ... and the Lawyers of course figuring out the legalities, regulatory issues, copyright, patents, etc ...

    Fun fun (although occasionally enlightening)

    Actually "meeting" is a bit of a misnomer. It's usually a very long drawn out process ...

    And a few times ... in a few "smaller" companies / situations ... I've been forced to (try to) wear multiple of the above hats (sometimes successfully ... sometimes not so much). Engineers get hired first ... then the Lawyers, Product Managers, Marketing Departments, Business Development departments, etc. get to come in and clean up our mess after the fact (which I've also been invloved in). :)
     
  2. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
    0
    Nov 27, 2002
    This is the question of whether the DVR is a Product or a Feature, where many influential folks say Feature. If the DVR is an embedded feature within a greater product offering, and that DVR is used to sell other profitable features, then TiVo has a business problem selling a DVR as a product against the other DVRs.

    So what is TiVo's answer/strategy? That question has been floating in my head for a while without the time to analyze sufficiently to talk much about.

    Differentiated features from cable/Sat are needed to make the TiVo DVR worth more than the other DVRs to enough people to have an on going business. Better interface is a start. Season pass...OK. Download entertainment from the internet (with better offerings and easier navigation...) important. In home networking, portability of content to other devices... all important.

    So far, TiVo has not proven to be premium enough vs competitors to be succesful. To be fair, even when there basically were no competitors, TiVo did not sell itself well enough to acheive business success.
     
  3. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

    2,013
    0
    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    Yes ... that's the Catch-22 ...

    As this Wiki article notes:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videoguard

    Like I said on the above ... some of that is "my interpretation" of the FCC regs. The FCC regs are a little vague on that line between "conditional access", "navigation device" that does not perform "conditional access", "navigation device" that does perform "conditional access", and "navigation device" without any mention of whether it performs conditional access or not ...

    I think it's very intentional since the Telecom Act specifically said that the FCC couldn't compromise an MVPD's "security". So, the FCC explicitly said "conditional access" is the MVPD's ... and they couldn't prevent a "navigation device" ... without themselves explicitly drawing the line between the two. They even noted that to do so would require them to get into the "arbitration of standards business" ... which they didn't want to be in.

    That's where the PODs and integration ban come in to play. That allows an MVPD to decide for themselves where that line is ... what part is required for "security" ... and then they have to provide that part (upon request) ... and rely on it themselves ...

    A little triangle of interrelated regulations.

    The FCC and others even noted that the PODs / integration ban weren't required to open up the market to third party boxes ... it was there because the FCC interpreted the Telecom Act to not only have them pass laws that made it possible to make thrid party boxes ... but to pass laws that would encourage that third party market (in this case, by bringing more parity between the third party and the MVPD's own supplied boxes).

    So I think, in theory if NDS refused to license VideoGuard to a third party ... if it weren't for reasons of "security" ... well, that third party could take News Corp, NDS, DirecTV to court. It would be a long, messy, expensive trial ... would require getting in to all sorts of technical details and interpretations of FCC rules / regs ... but I think in the end, the third party would prevail. Then again ... that's my interpretation so ... maybe not ...

    But that's just a theory because the market-reality is ... NewsCorp owns DirecTV, and NewsCorp owns NDS, and NewsCorp is controlling those VideoGuard licenses ... and the free market breaks down a little bit ... and you'd have to go to court to figure it all out ... and bringing NDS/DirecTV/News Corp to court wouldn't exactly be a fun day in the park ...

    Lets break it up a bit more. Say the MVPD and CA company aren't owned by the same parent (like DirecTV / NDS used to be and is the case with cable and SciAtl / Moto). Well, again ... if the deal between the CA company and MVPD is something along the lines of "MVPD licenses the CA system and gets to determine who else gets licensed" ... well, the MVPD in the end is determining who gets those "security" licenses or not. If the deal is "MVPD licenses the CA system and CA company gets complete freedom to decide who else to license" ... well, it's completely up to the CA company. But neither of those deals tends to happen in a free market. After all, the CA company wants to make money from either 1) vendor lock-in (cable must then buy their boxes) or 2) licensing the CA system to others. The MVPD wants to 1) avoid vendor lock-in (they want to have a competitive market for boxes) while 2) making sure security isn't compromised. So the deal is usually along the lines of "we license the CA system on the grounds that you/us get to make sure its licensed to others if we all assure security isn't compromised". That's what happened in cable. The CA companies locked cable in. Cable didn't like it. They started making sure they wouldn't be. Balance was (somewhat) reached. Sony, Pace, Pioneer, and others can (and did and do) make boxes by licensing CA system. But ... it's (still) a little cheaper / easier for the CA companies to make and sell their own box. Cable decides based on cost / features. CA company makes money directly or by licensing. There's an opportunity for others to make boxes. Etc ...

    Things only break down if the CA company out of the goodness of their hearts decides not to license the CA system to others ... which wouldn't tend to happen in a free market ...
     
  4. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

    2,013
    0
    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    I wonder if anyone mentioned any of this durring the News Corp / NDS / DirecTV merger talks. I would think someone would have had to ...
     
  5. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

    3,306
    1
    Mar 29, 2005

    Advertisements

    The grotesqueness of a lawsuit is not at all dissuasive to some companies. At for them, the credible threat of a lawsuit could motivate Carriers to change their behavior.

    MS is getting cozy with DirecTv for portable video, but I could see them coming up to say Dish and making the legal case to the E* lawyers, let them stew on it a few weeks and then give the following pitch- we MS will take you to court and we promise you if we do, we will fight it through to the end and we are confident of winning [grind you to dust etc.] .... OR....

    You can sign a deal with us to allow vista approved PCI card producers to manufacture boards with your security technology.

    Dish's Problem is they lose control of their UI for MCE devices.

    Alternatively, Dish could as a defense against such an MS or Apple move, proactively go out and license the access technology to CE companies who would likely not sell many boxes so that they could point to them and say look- there are third party vendors- no need to fix what ain't broke. Dish does this because it is better to have puny competitors that can be manipulated than immovable object competitors like MS where resistance is futile.
     
  6. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    17,877
    0
    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    As I said before, you need the satellite tuner hardware as well. Although the tuner hardware likely will be minimal, you will still need it. Plus you will need some sort of mediaswitch, to allow the the two outputs of the satellite tuner/demods to input into the DVR/MPEG chip. The BCM7401 can handle 5 inputs, the current S3 would use 4, if that chip is what is used in the S3 TiVo.

    Unless pressed by regulators to do so, no. Their model is to sell or give away their hardware. which will work only on their service.

    Having to sell universal hardware would mean they have to sell the hardware at full price, which is not what the public is expecting.

    Technically, it is doable. It would all be in contracts and regulators whether or not they can make the unit access DirecTV or Dishnetwork's services.
    AFAIK It is still there. If a manufacturer wishes to build an STB, they have two options:
    • Build a tuner requiring a completly modular access unit.
      Little contracts or licensing are required, but this would require the CA or service provider to develop and deploy CA modules, and honor ther use.
    • Build part or all of the security into the STB, requiring them to purchase and/or license the CA hardware/software, and still, the provider be obligated to honor such a system.

    I thought you were a software engineer- you obviously know your way around the regulatory environment, but I am curious- do you have some background in law as well?
    [/QUOTE]
     
  7. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
    0
    Nov 27, 2002
    More on the iTunes analogy...


     
  8. Apr 4, 2006 #168 of 169
    dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

    2,013
    0
    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    CEA status report to FCC on progress of two-way products. They seem to be working with CableLabs on issues with the OCAP resource manager ...
     
  9. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

    3,306
    1
    Mar 29, 2005
    DT, At the time, I thought you underestimated the OS platform threat that OCAP poses to CE and IT companies.

    I was surprized at your evaluation that CE companies were only concerned about particular properties of OCAP.

    Apparently, the CE companies are almost united in opposition to OCAP. The only exception are those with fat orders for hundreds of thousands of OCAP boxes from cable companies. Last month, the CEA proposed, along with 11 other major CE and IT companies a standard for how interactive features would be supported in third party devices without OCAP.

    One article discussing the filing specifically recognizes what OCAP is:
    source

    Personally, I think we are going to have interactive features like VOD, PPV and switched video on Tivos without OCAP and other onerous aspects of the CC2.0 spec.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements