There is no CableCARD 2.0

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Mach1_8, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. Mach1_8

    Mach1_8 New Member

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    Found this brief write up over at EngadgetHD. Thought some of you may find it interesting.

    Link
     
  2. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    I found Ben's article used some terms incorrectly. If you go look at the cable labs CableCARD Primer (and I suggest you do) you will find information directly from the source in a pretty readable format.

    http://www.opencable.com/primer/cablecard_primer.html

    CableCARD 1.0 and CableCARD 2.0 are SPECIFICATIONS not cards.

    S-Cards were compatable with CableCARD 1.0 specs and M-Cards are compatable with CableCARD 2.0 specs.

    Both supported two-way comms, but the hosts in which you plug them may be limited to one-way comms by cable labs.

    In order for hosts to use two-way comms, CE equipment must be OCAP 2.0 Hosts which, last I heard, ceded control of the UI over to the cable companies.

    The rub is that cable provided boxes seem to be able to use two-way without being OCAP compliant.
     
  3. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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    ah30k,
    Sorry I didn't make it clear, but that is what the Motorola VP said to me. The main thing that I was trying to convey in the post, was that the lack of bi-directional 3rd party CableCARD support was due to specifications and not the CableCARD itself.
     
  4. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    That is certainly true.

    Once instance of inaccuracy that is getting constantly perpetuated is that CC2.0 equates to bi-directionality and you quote
    seems to imply that by parenthesizing (CC2.0) after bidirectionality.

    -----
    edit - I guess after re-reading the article, it is just the one quote that seems to throw me off.
     
  5. pkscout

    pkscout Well-Known Member

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    That's my understanding, and where the rubber really meets the road. The cable companies thinks there is competition if you can buy the box anywhere and just run the same old UI and software on it. The CE companies understand that the real competition comes from the software, not the hardware. I bought TiVo for the software and UI, not the hardware.

    Since CableLabs is owned and operated by the cable cartel, they just won't certify anything that runs anything other than the crap software the cable company wants to give you. But the cable companies get to claim they are allowing competition without actually allowing any. Great job if you can get it. :rolleyes:
     
  6. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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    Good point, I did that since most people equate bi-directional to CC 2.0.
    I see what you mean though, I didn't do enough to clear up the confusion between the name of the standard and the hardware itself.

    I edited the post in an attempt to clarify the distinction.

    Thanks for your feedback.
     
  7. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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    That is a great explanation, I might just make a post out of it!
     
  8. Leo_N

    Leo_N Lucky 200 member

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    Would probably make a decent letter to the FCC also.
     
  9. pkscout

    pkscout Well-Known Member

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    If you can get more people to understand that and work to change it, please be my guest.
     
  10. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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  11. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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  12. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    Old habits die hard.
    The very first sentence once again says that CC 2.0 will enable bi-directional comms when that is not the case. CC 1.0 allows bi-directional.

    CC2.0 introduced mult-stream. I don't want to be a pain in the ass on this, but it is very hard to break the misconception.
     
  13. gwsat

    gwsat Member

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    I, too, bought my TiVos because of their software and UI, not the hardware. I am convinced that TiVo’s future lies in making a success of deals such as those it has with Comcast and Cox to roll out TiVo software on cable company owned DVRs. All of that seems to be moving with glacial slowness but hope springs eternal.
     
  14. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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    Interesting, I've never heard of such a thing. When I think of 2.0, I think of two way. What do you think the cause of the misconception is?
     
  15. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    Look as post #2 of this thread. I've provided a link to the official CableLabs web site that has a primer on CableCARDs. Since you've asked, I think the cause of this confusion is people posting wrong information on sites that lend a certain amount of credibility to the postings. The internet is a perfect mechanism for perpetuating incorrect information. Your posting on Engadget looks very official but there is no way of verifying your credentials to post the material. Posting random thoughts here in a forum seems different than posting articles on Engadget. I expect more expertise when posting on Edgadget. Sorry, but you asked.
     
  16. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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    ah30k,
    I went back and read it and found the part you are mentioning. The problem seems to be the same one that TiVo has, everyone calls their DVR a TiVo whether it is actually a TiVo or not.

    Why do they call them M-Cards, if they are in fact they are CC 2.0? The article even states that "The media has frequently reported that first-generation CableCARD 1.0 modules are one-way devices1. This is simply not true. CableLabs had always intended to develop the CableCARD module and host receiver standards with two-way capability. "

    So in this case it appears that I'm part of the media and am also mis-reporting this. The problem is that at this point everyone who even knows what a CableCARD is, thinks there is a two-way device (called CC 2.0) coming for 3rd parities who don't want to use OCAP, and it doesn't appear that it will ever come. So I guess I'll have to write another post to explain this entire mess.

    Thanks for trying to get through to me.
     
  17. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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    ah30k,
    Thanks again for correcting me, I spend some time with CableLabs and have written another post.

    http://www.engadgethd.com/2007/06/22/cablecard-2-0-is-ready/

    In the past week we have been on a quest to make sense of this entire CableCARD mess. We started out by talking to Motorola which was great, but left us even more confused, so we decided to go straight to the source and give CableLabs a call. While we're not excited about the answers, we did learned that CableCARD 2.0 does exist and it's ready to go. Along the way we also learned what's preventing TiVo and Microsoft from adding our favorite features to their latest CableCARD host devices.

    We aren't sure why this is so complicated, but right off the bat, lets clear something up. CableCARDs have supported two-way communications for some time, it is the two-way host device certification that is new to 2.0. This is the certification that is required by any consumer electronics device that wants to use the two-way CableCARD functionality. These cards also happen to be multi-stream cards, (up to 6 simultaneous) so they are called M-Cards -- older cards are S-Cards for single-stream. New boxes that are certified for two-way communications are already being deployed by SA and Motorola, and starting July 1st, 2007, all newly deployed digital cable STBs in the US will be CableCARD 2.0 certified. Some CE companies (LG, Panasonic and Samsung for example) are already starting to test their two-way devices with various cable companies around the US, and with any luck we should see one in the wild this year, or next.
    At this point you should be asking, what is stopping TiVo or Microsoft from creating two-way, multi-stream CableCARD devices? The answer is, some CE companies are not happy with the certification specification that CableLabs has decided on. As we previously discussed, the point of contention is the OCAP requirement. While CableLabs is a technology lab, and not involved in all of the politics that define these requirements, basically the members of CableLabs feel that without OCAP, disintermediation (their word not ours) would occur. Or to put it in layman's terms, this would cut out the middle man, -- where the middle man is your cable company. With OCAP, TiVo couldn't deploy their software on a two-way host device without the cable company's approval, so the concept of going to the store and buying a TiVo that works anywhere wouldn't exist unless every cable company agreed to distribute and support TiVo's OCAP software -- this is how the long-awaited Comcast and TiVo agreement is going to work. The same might also be said for Vista Media Center, Microsoft would have to develop an OCAP VM in Vista Media Center and then work with each cable company to get them to deploy their user interface. This is assuming that the OCAP platform can provide the same rich UI that we've come to love from TiVo and Microsoft; otherwise the user experience when switching between other functions and OCAP required functions, would be anything but smooth.
    Comcast TiVo

    The other interesting detail we learned, was that features like TiVoToGo, Multi-Room Viewing, and even eSATA external hard drive support, are not included in the CableCARD certification specification. These details are in the license that the company must sign when getting certified. The good news is that companies can submit solutions to enable these features to CableLabs and be added to the license. So there is hope that these features will become a reality, but again, the members of CableLabs, -- just about every cable company in the US -- controls what's added to the license.

    We can certainly respect the cable companies desire to control their networks, after all they do own it, and they do have a business to run; and a rogue two-way CableCARD devices could cause a lot of havoc. While CableLabs is complying with the law, we don't think it is in the spirit of the law, because it does not introduce a truly open platform. At some point the cable companies need to realize that what's good for their customers, is good for their business.

    In the end, we hope that the FCC steps in and requires CableLabs to certify two-way devices that do not require OCAP.
     
  18. mike_camden

    mike_camden New Member

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    I read this article earlier on the site. Talk about a situation that just makes me mad as a consumer. Thanks for digging so hard to put togther a good story. A nice followup for engadget would be to have some conversations with the CE makers and get their thoughts/insights as to what they are doing.
     
  19. bdraw

    bdraw Member

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    Thanks, I have contacted TiVo and Microsoft, but haven't heard back yet. Who else do you think would have something to say?

    Ben
     
  20. demon

    demon BURNINATOR

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    Not sure if you could get them to talk to you, but I know Sony was involved in trying to steer bidirectional CableCard away from OCAP - in fact, they submitted a letter to the FCC some time back explaining that their involvement didn't mean they *liked* OCAP, but that they were trying to steer things in a better direction. I can't seem to find a link, but I'll update my post if I do eventually.
     

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