S3 and Futureproof-ness

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by cekauzl, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. cekauzl

    cekauzl New Member

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    For 8 bills, the s3 had better last a while, but some features are questionable in this regard:

    1) Cable card - Unclear if CC will ever become common. Once 2.0 standard is finalized, s3 cannot be upgraded by software alone, would require hardware if possible at all. CC may be eclipsed by open cable or another standard before (or just as) CC becomes common. (This is not TiVo's fault since these standards are not yet finalized). TiVo was wise to include multi-stream capability

    2) Lack of 1080p support. Screen shots indicate that the s3 only supports 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i resolutions (http://www.tivolovers.com/Photos/Series3-Review/). Although not much programming is in 1080p, more and more 1080p capable televisions are being sold and more content should be coming in this format. The S3 should be able to convert 1080p to another resolution but doubtful it can record in the gold-standard of HD.

    3) HDMI version - I have not seen which version of HDMI the s3 runs, I would guess 1.2. This also is not upgradable by firmware alone, although new standards will be backwards compatable (but will not be capable of new features)

    4) Audio - Dolby Digital or PCM seems to be the only capable audio. This is not that much of a limitation because these are standard now and have been for some time, especially for broadcast. Perhaps the HDMI output will be able to pass newer standards such as TrueHD or DTS-ex?

    Are there any other futureproof related issue?
     
  2. mikebridge

    mikebridge Member

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    IIRC, there's no standard for broadcast 1080p yet, and you've seen how long it takes for them to come up with those. save that 1080p for bluray/HDdvd.
     
  3. Stanley Rohner

    Stanley Rohner New Member

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    Shouldn't this be in the S3 forum ?
     
  4. arc6th

    arc6th Fair and Balanced

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    Where are the S1 & S2 forums? Why is there a S3 forum?
     
  5. bidger

    bidger Active Member

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    OK, your other points are valid, but why are you including this? No one knows when this will be a broadcast standard.
     
  6. BrettStah

    BrettStah Well-Known Member

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    You're in it.
    Does it matter why, really?
     
  7. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    I don't think the op's points are cause for concern at all.

    1) CableCard is the industry standard implementation for OpenCable. All set-top boxes from cable companies will be using CableCards in a few years.

    2) Don't expect any 1080p delivered content over broadcast or cable in the next five years. Even then, it wouldn't matter for film-sourced content; your TV can deinterlace 1080i content to 1080p just as older TVs deinterlaced 480i to 480p.

    3) Looks more like the Series3 uses HDMI 1.0/1.1. But HDMI 1.3 has no advantage over older HDMI versions for video sourced from broadcast and cable.

    4) TrueHD and DTS Master Audio are high-bitrate lossless codecs that will never be used on broadcast or cable. These codecs are meant only for fixed disk media like HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

    I'm more concerned with the following:
    If you are completely satisfied with paying $800 for today's Tivo functionality with HD support, then the above shouldn't really concern you. However, if you were hoping the Series3 would provide the hardware to support future applications like a Netflix video store delivering high-def movie downloads over broadband, then you are in for a disappointment.

    In my opinion, Tivo needed to implement the hardware that would give it room to grow in the future. As it is now, Tivo is going to find itself in a situation where it will have a relatively large installed base of Series3 Tivos in three years, but the xml and java video store applications that it must support to stay competitive won't work on the Series3, because of the decision to base the design on cpu/video hardware from 2004. Said another way, Tivo is building yet another legacy video device; the Series2 couldn't support online stores because it lacked MPEG-4 support, and now the Series3 won't be able to support them due to inadequate processing and memory capabilities.
     
  8. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The way TiVo's HME platform works is similar to Remote Desktop. The processing is all done on the remote server, and only the interface is processed on the client. Because of this TiVo doesn't really need a lot of processing power in the box itself to create interactive applications like a Netflix video store. As long as the server is fast enough to handle it the TiVo should work just fine.

    If I had to guess I'd say they went with this platform because it allows them to recycle code from the HR10 DirecTiVo box. If they went with a new platform then a lot of stuff would have had to have been rewritten from scratch. That would have taken a lot of time and they wanted to bring this to market as quickly as possible.

    Dan
     
  9. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Dan,

    How many content providers are going to spend lots of money developing specifically for the Tivo platform? How many HME developers do you think someone like Netflix or Blockbuster employs? I would bet the answer is close to none. Both those companies have told investors they are developing online stores in Java and XML, to support a wide variety of platforms and devices, but the processor in the Series3 isn't adequate to support those.

    What are the chances of a major content provider building one architecture for Tivo and another supporting everything else (PC, Mac, future standalone HD-DVD and Blu-ray players)? If you are Tivo, you need to support the architecture used by everyone else, not rely on every content provider to build a complete end-to-end solution just for your product.

    The hardware in the Series3 doesn't even have the processing power to support the interactive menus and features on HD-DVD and Blu-ray. So even if Netflix were to produce an online store designed exclusively with HME, you couldn't view any of the interactive content designed for BD or HD-DVD. Contrast that to Vista or OSX, where all those features will be supported with third-party software (perhaps built into OSX). The iHD and BD-Java platforms are intended to provide the same interactive experience regardless of platform and source (i.e. same experience with a disk vs. download, same experience on PC vs Mac, etc) and I just don't see content providers creating separate versions of their video content for the Tivo.

    The Broadcom processors are all backward compatible, for the most part. It looks to me more like Tivo was trying to leverage their experience with a a past hardware design. The Series3 really only departs from the HR10 design in two significant ways -- MPEG-4 by way of an add-on chip, and CableCard support in place of DirecTV, and the former isn't even supported by the current software.
     
  10. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    BK:

    1. You are right about the difficulties of getting others to come to your platform.

    2. I think TiVo is a Broadcom shop and it is not easy to shift to another "architecture;" in which case, there are limitations, esp. when you don't have the money to fund development of products to your needs.
     
  11. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    There is no need. The Java/XML app can run on TiVo's servers, or the users PC, and they can simply serve up a front end that TiVo has designed in house. That's the beauty of HME, it can actually interface with almost anything that can run natively on the server machine.

    Dan
     
  12. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    This is misleading at best. While CableCard may be the industry standard and may be used by cable company STBs, there are very clear indications that S3s being sold today will never be able to support the prevailing CableCard standard that will be applicable in the future -- the whole point of the thread is "futureproof-ness" and that's exactly what S3 doesn't have. In another thread folks waxed on and on about how unreasonable it would be to expect S3 to be futureproof, given the state of the CableCard spec and the direction of the cable industry.
     
  13. cekauzl

    cekauzl New Member

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    Yeah, most futureproof-ness issues are not TiVo's fault, the industry changes so quickly, like all technology. TiVo had to get an HD tivo on the market in order to keep market share.
     
  14. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Well, "fault" is a loaded word. There is no question that TiVo could have made decisions that would have made the S3 more futureproof. They decided not to do so. For those of us who wanted that futureproof-ness, that was a bad decision. For those of us who didn't care as much about that as about getting the S3 on store shelves already, it was a good decision.
     
  15. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Future CableCards will be backward compatible. So while the Series3 isn't "future proof" as far as supporting future cable services, the Tivo Series3 will continue to work as it does now after cable providers have moved on to using CC2.0 or CC3.0 in their boxes.
     
  16. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Unfortunately, much of the interactive content in the pipe is not conducive to that sort of server side operation. The interactive content on HD-DVD and Blu-ray, which is also meant to carry over to PCs and Macs, requires significant processing power on the client side. Broadcom's newer solutions are designed to support these features; the older BCM7038 used in the Series3 was not. Broadcom says as much in their marketing literature.
     
  17. Gregor

    Gregor Wear Your Mask! TCF Club

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    Nothing is futureproof. Tivo has delivered a box that meets today's standards that have been agreed upon. For cable card 2.0, it's pretty hard to build a box and get it certified when the specification hasn't been finished yet.
     
  18. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    So the current design wont support built in HD-DVD or BluRay, big deal! Such a device is at least a couple years away anyway.

    I was talking about interaction with a Netflix type service. That is entirely possible using HME and offloading the processing on to the server.

    Dan
     
  19. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Microsoft's goal is to have downloaded high-def content -- from Netflix and others -- be functionally identical to the same content purchased on media.

    Well, who is going to pay for this?

    Is Tivo going to pay for it? I don't see Netflix doing it. I don't see Tivo doing it unless they get some compensation from Netflix.

    Support would be so much easier if Tivo just supported the architecture used by everyone else (PCs, Macs, HD-DVD and Blu-ray players with ethernet and PlayForSure), and not rely on every content provider to build an end-to-end solution or separate server architecture just to support their product.
     
  20. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Future CableCards will only provide advanced functionality to devices designed to work with CC2.0 or CC3.0, i.e., not the S3.

    S3 is far from futureproof -- the only question is how long until it can no longer provide all the programming that cable operators are offering.
     

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