Series 3 MRV?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by m_jonis, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. m_jonis

    m_jonis Member

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    PCMag is quoted as saying:

    "Unlike the latest Series II TiVos, it will not allow programs to be transferred from one TiVo to another in a home. That's due in part to technical issues, explained a TiVo representative, but mostly because of unresolved DRM issues. The box will support downloaded content from the internet, which lets users acquire HD and SD movies and other programs via a broadband connection."

    Here's the URL:

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1908898,00.asp

    I hope this isn't true. Especially given that my local cable provide, TW is currently beta testing "MRV" transfers for their 8300 HD recording units.
     
  2. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    According to TiVo representatives at the show they have every intention of supporting all of the same networking features as the Series 2 units. The only limitation might be content which is recorded using the CableCARD, since TiVo has to comply with the rules laid out by Cable Labs, the people who control CableCARD.

    Dan
     
  3. nhaigh

    nhaigh Member

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    Lawrencevill...
    I know they can't give us delivery dates or price yet but I wish someone at TiVo would confirm the level of support we're going to see. I desperately want to buy two series two TiVo's now but won't do it until I know it will work with a series three. For that matter if a series three doesn't support MRV at all then I'm much less excited about getting one and will make do with series two's until that changes.
     
  4. m_jonis

    m_jonis Member

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    I can understand the bits about the cable-card.

    In our area, if you don't have a cable box, and went with cable card instead, you'd potentially lose the ability to record 90% of the shows out there.

    Whereas, if you went with an HD DVR from the cable company (non-cable card) you can record (so far) to your heart's content.

    That, IMO, is an extreme disadvantage, especially if one is going to shell out a thousand bucks.

    Sigh. Guess I better get used to my sucky SA 8300 HD unit until Verizon gets their FIOS TV here and I can switch to the Motorola unit.

    I was hoping the Tivo unit would be my way out, but there's no way I'm spending that kind of money with a decent possibility of the cable companies restricting my ability to record/transfer without their own equipment.

     
  5. beejay

    beejay Member

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    Will you be able to transfer between S2 and S3 units? What about hi-def recordings?
     
  6. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    Technically, I don't think MRV between a series 2 and 3 can happen unless you use a series 3 as analog. Even in that case, we don't know that the format TiVo uses for analog would be the same. Obviously they will not have the ability to do MRV between them at all since it would only be possible in a small number of cases.
     
  7. Dennis Wilkinson

    Dennis Wilkinson Active Member

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    Moving any SD content between a S2 and S3 is very possible, technically, provided the video is MPEG2 (which, as I understand things, it will be on the S3.) "Analog" doesn't enter into it -- the S2 seems to be able to play just about any MPEG2 video at any full-height SD resolution, and at this point digital SD cable is MPEG2. (I say "as I understand it" since the S3 appears to support MPEG4 decode, but I haven't seen MPEG4 encode mentioned, let alone confirmed, by TiVo. SD video in MPEG4, of course, would be S3 only, but it's not clear where other than broadband such video might come from.)

    HD, of course, can't be played on a S2.

    The only wrinkle to SD would be content-protected QAM broadcasts in SD, meaning any SD digital cable that would have to be passed through the CableCARD for decryption. If the decryption is performed at record time, technically that's not an issue, but if it's done at play time it is an issue (actually, multiple potential issues, not just MRV). I would make a(n educated) guess that decryption will be done at record time only.

    Remember that I'm only talking about technical feasibility. There may be other legal/license/contractual issues that impact this, particularly in the OpenCable area.
     
  8. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    My understanding of things is that everything can be recorded to the local HDD in (or likely by extension, an ESATA drive) an S3. CableCard/ flag can only restrict how long it can hang around, external NTSC recording, and MRV/T2G transfers, not if it records to begin with.

    The cablceard decoder will likely output an unencryoted stream, which is encrypted by the TiVo core engine (as DirecTV DVRs do), and encrypt ATSC and analog as well. The recordings will be flagged as to their nature.
     
  9. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I think you misunderstood what I said. The reason why you can't record any of the digital channel now when you switch to CableCARD is because the card is installed in your TV and thus your TV is the only thing capable of decoding the encrypted digital channels. With the Series 3 TiVo the CableCARD will be installed in the TiVo itself, which means it will be able to record anything you could get with a normal cable box with the exception of VOD. (current CableCARDs don't support bidirectional communication, which is required for VOD) The possible restriction I was refering to is that it's possible Cable Labs will force TiVo to conform to their content flagging scheme which in turn could restrict MRV and TTG transfers of anything containing these flags. On the plus side TiVo will only have to conform to this scheme on channels which are encrypted and require the CableCARD to be decoded. All analog, OTA ATSC and unencrypted QAM channels (such as HD local channels) will be free from any restrictions which Cable Labs may impose.

    According to MZ the analog tuners will encode content as MPEG-2 video. So everything except HD and downloaded MPEG-4 content should be capable of being transfered to a S2 unit.

    TiVo's own encryption scheme was approved by Cable Labs a while back, so it will definitely decrypt the video at record time then re-encrypt it into their own internal scheme.

    Dan
     
  10. m_jonis

    m_jonis Member

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    Thanks, although I didn't misunderstand the post. What I meant to say was that there's a strong possibility that cable labs or the content providers will flag the content as "non-recordable" and thus being enforced by the cable card (for the encrypted channels).

    Here, the CURRENT HD channels which are encrypted are everything except our local HD channels. That's: TNT, Discovery HD, Universal HD, HBO, SHO, ESPN, ESPN2, HDNET1, HDNET2, INHD1, INHD2. (I won't list the encrypted SD channels)

    Given the possibility of losing the ability to record such channels, I'm not willing to spend $1,000 on an HD Tivo when I can continue to rent my crappy cable companies "non-cable card" box and not have to worry about "losing" a thousand bucks.
     
  11. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    I think that the cable company or cable labs setting recording restrictions on DiscoveryHD or HBO or anything is unlikely. I would highly suspect the copyright owner would rather reserve that right for themsleves and thus any non-record or other restricition would apply to any DVR, not just the 3rd party TiVo.
     
  12. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Northern...
    The only content cable companies (or content owners) can mark "copy never" is VOD, PPV, and anything else where you order one single show at a time. All the linear channels (including encrypted channels, and including premium channels like HBO, etc.) can be marked "copy once" ... but they can't be marked "copy never".

    Via FCC regulation:
    http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/...cess.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/octqtr/47cfr76.1904.htm
     
  13. lajohn27

    lajohn27 Fanboi.. So what?

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    RE: MP4 content..

    Currently the SD Video in most cable setups is MPEG2. But.. could they not pull a switch (a la DirecTV) and start sending MP4. In which case the S3 would decode and play the MP4 on the cable tuners and items recorded via the other tuners ATSC/NTSC etc .. would still be MPEG2.

    I guess that's all predicated on whether cableco's can switch to MP4 - and while it would be pricey (switching out all those cable boxes..) It could be done..
     
  14. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I just did a quick scan of the Cable Labs website and it appears that regular channels are required to be broadcast in MPEG-2 format to maintain compatibility with legacy CableCARD devices. However I also found other documents which seem to imply that they will allow MPEG-4 for streaming content (i.e. VOD) in the CableCARD 2.0 spec. I also found a 3rd party site via Google that seems to be marketing a CableCARD that can convert MPEG-4 content into MPEG-2 in realtime to maintain compatibility with legacy devices while allowing the cable company to switch to MPEG-4. If Cable Labs approves the use of such a device then it's possible cable companies could eventually switch to MPEG-4 as well.

    In any case there isn't really a problem with the S3 as it has the ability to decode MPEG-4 anyway.

    Dan
     
  15. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Northern...
    Keep in mind that the CableLabs specs are requirements on the CE manufacturers ... not the cable companies. CableLabs specifies what CE makers must implement ... not what cable companies must deliver.

    It's the FCC that specifies what the cable companies must deliver. And while the FCC does specify an MPEG2 transport stream ... they do not specify MPEG2 compression (AFAIK).

    See here for specific links:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=3671306&&#post3671306
     
  16. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Northern...
    These guys?
    http://www.neotion.com/news/kit/flyer NEOTION-Mpeg-4-Cam.pdf

    That is pretty cool / interesting.
     
  17. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Its more of a two way street. Cable can't start doing something that causes the cable card not to work anymore. Now if a CC were rented to the customer that served as an "adapter" as well to some new way the cable was delivering the signal, that could be OK.

    In this case, a change to transmitting many more streams of MPEG4 which the cable company feels would be to its benefit would be OK with a CC card that handled it transparently to the CE device.

    By OK I mean there might have to be some modification of existing agreements, but I think it would be comparatively simple to get approval from the relevant parties as an extension of the current agreement(s).
     
  18. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Northern...
    Not really ... no ... it's not. Not via regulations and agreements.

    There is a (significant) give and take based on market conditions, regulatory atmosphere, and a whole host of other factors. But not the regulations and agreements.

    Let's say cable starts using MPEG4 tommorow ...

    1) They have no MPEG4 STBs (and lots of MPEG2 only STBs) deployed of their own
    2) They have no MPEG4 head-end equipment (and lots of MPEG2 equipment)
    3) MPEG4 chips/equipment are still (relatively) expensive
    4) Customers ticked off (at cable and CE companies) because recently aquired equipment doesn't work
    5) CE companies ticked off at cable because recently sold equipment doesn't work (and they are hearing it from their customers)
    6) FCC ticked off at cable because they are hearing it from everyone ... while cable says they are "doing everything to ensure successful CableCard deployment" making the FCC more likely to side with the CE companies (who as usual are asking the FCC to slap cable around on a whole host of issues)
    7) Etc.

    Ok, so it's not going to happen tommorrow. We've seen these changes before. MVPDs change technology at platonic (sometimes even approaching glacial) speed. How long has/will cable be moving to digital MPEG2? 10+ years and most people still can't get the 'Extended' (MTV, CNN, etc) tier digitally (although that's always coming 'soon') and it's going to be another how many years before they stop being carried as analog? Again ... not via regulation ... via market conditions.

    If cable starts even thinking about an MPEG4 timeline ...

    1) They'll start ordering MPEG4 STBs
    2) They'll start ordering MPEG4 head-end equipment
    3) You, me, CE companies, and everyone else in the world will hear about it
    4) MPEG4 chip prices come down (although mobile devices, dbs, telcos, and next-gen optical are seeing to that as well)
    5) It's going to be a long time before MPEG4 is actually deployed anywhere
    6) When it is deployed, it's going to be with certain limited, niche (or new) content/functionality. Things that are likely to make someone voluntarily switch (and pay more for) a new box.
    7) VOD, 1+GHz, IPTV, and other things that aren't even possible with (current) CableCard equipment come to mind too. 1+GHz, IPTV, and other things that would require a new box anyway and aren't possible on cable's old boxes especially come to mind (again, you want the customer to voluntarily foot the bill).
    8) For the various reasons in my first list and numbers 5, 6, and 7 in this list... it's going to be a long, long, long, long time before anything (much) that is currently available with a CableCard suddenly becomes unavailable because of MPEG4.

    So for the CE makers ...

    1) They could start building (expensive) MPEG4 chips into CableCard products now which may not even be needed for 10+ years (if ever)
    or
    2) They could wait for numbers 1-4 in my list above to happen and start building MPEG4 into products then (if they haven't already done so by then for other reasons)

    Cable is not bound to MPEG2 compression via regulations. They don't have to be because they are bound by market conditions. CE companies (and the consumers) are going to get a good 5+ year head-start notice of any shift.

    People get (significantly) less peeved when something they bought 5 years ago stops getting some content. Especially, when in that time they've bought something that can get that content ... like a product that includes MPEG4 anyway for other reasons ... like a CableCard HD Tivo (downloadable content) or CableCard HD-DVD Burner (required by HD-DVD specs). They might not even notice ...

    Yes, cable could certainly deploy those MPEG4->MPEG2 CableCards. But they'd be doing it out of the goodness of their hearts ... or more likely because they went with a more accelerated timeline than I foresee and were worried about my top list ... not because they had to. If cable went with an accelerated timeline ... well yes, those cards become more likely. But honestly I don't think there's a huge rush.

    Ayway ... AFAIK ... MPEG2 compression is not a regulatory requirement. Feel free to link a source that says otherwise. OTOH, neither is MPEG4 (currently) a market-place reality.

    And again ... see post linked to above. Especially Tivo's own comments:
    Interesting though that Tivo announced MPEG4 at the same time Comcast announced they were buying MPEG4 boxes though (obviously Tivo has other uses like downloaded content). Makes one wonder what was heard round the water cooler at the Tivo/Comcast meetings :)
     
  19. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I really think the first thing that will use MPEG-4 is going to be VOD. With current VOD quality you could cut bandwidth requirements in half by using MPEG-4. And with roughly the same bandwidth being used now they could deploy VOD content in HD. I think, like you said, that will be the only use for MPEG-4 for sometime. Then once MPEG-4 equipped STBs become common place in the market they'll start switching over their main digital content to MPEG-4.

    Dan
     
  20. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    The Cable Card related agreements absolutely are binding on all the parties. An MSO can not choose to change its signal in such a way that a cable card equipped device no longer functions as intended.

    This was done by agreement. The FCC did not impose regulations because it concludes the agreement satisfies what it wants done. Modifying or canceling the agreement would require the FCC's nod, otherwise the FCC would revisit the idea of regulation. The discovery and/or use of some significant flaw in the existing agreement (relative to what the FCC wants done) would also cause the FCC to pressure the parties to adjust the agreement, lest the idea of regulation be revisited.
     

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