TiVo confirms SDV dongle for 2Q 2008

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by cwoody222, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Feb 8, 2008 #301 of 456
    lew

    lew Well-Known Member

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    I always thought a "SDV dongle" wouldn't be much bigger then a USB ethernet dongle.

    Sounds like this is going to be as big as a set top box. Sounds like another monthly fee. I wouldn't be surprised if paying to rent cable cards and the SDV device will be almost as month as a cc DVR.
     
  2. Feb 8, 2008 #302 of 456
    ciper

    ciper Active Member

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    Its a USB cable modem. There are pictures floating around somewhere. If I remember right it looks exactly like an older Surfboard model from Motorolla but with a different color plastic.
     
  3. Feb 8, 2008 #303 of 456
    MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

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    So we're back to having a set-top box again, albeit with no IR-blasters.
    Everything old is new again...

    At least these CAN be used with TiVos, the few people who have CableCARD enabled TVs seem to be left out in the cold. Of course, with how they have been treated by cable companies so far, getting the shaft again is probably just expected.
     
  4. Feb 8, 2008 #304 of 456
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    The prototypes are disappointingly large, but part of that is probably just an effort to recycle parts that they're already manufacturing. The typical DOCSIS cable modem has everything that this application needs and more, and is designed to retail for $40 or less. Making the board as tiny as it possibly can be and creating a tiny custom enclosure for it would cost unnecessary design time and delay time to market. So, it's a chunk, but at least it doesn't have to be positioned in a visible place.

    I used to use generic wireless bridges for all the network-attached things in my HT system (5 and counting now, with HTPC, TiVo, HD-A30, Xbox 360 and PS3); I just stuck them behind the stuff whereever and I'll do the same with this.
     
  5. Feb 8, 2008 #305 of 456
    morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    I'm more concerned that this is just another thing that needs to be plugged into the UPS (TiVo, external drive and now tuner) which lowers the backup time in the case of a power outage.
     
  6. Feb 8, 2008 #306 of 456
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Yeah, I feel ya'--I was more P.O.'d that they didn't make it USB-powered than with the potential size :D. It shouldn't be much of a draw, though.
     
  7. Feb 9, 2008 #307 of 456
    sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Completely agree, USB powered would be a much nicer design.
     
  8. Feb 9, 2008 #308 of 456
    DCIFRTHS

    DCIFRTHS Active Member

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    I have a CC in my TV, but I never use it as I am always using TiVo.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2008 #309 of 456
    DCIFRTHS

    DCIFRTHS Active Member

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    Are there any pics floating around?
     
  10. Feb 9, 2008 #310 of 456
    DCIFRTHS

    DCIFRTHS Active Member

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    My concern is heat and then size. All of the Scientific Atlanta cables boxes I have encountered / used run very hot and need adequate ventilation.
     
  11. Feb 9, 2008 #311 of 456
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    The one picture of a "prototype" that we saw was of a Motorola DCT700; it's an all-digital, standard-definition set-top cable tuner (no analog tuning) with no CableCARD slot, so it would be against FCC regs for US service providers to purchase for customer lease, though there are probably markets elsewhere where it's still a viable product. It's about the size of a typical cable modem; I doubt that it disappates anywhere near so much heat as their traditional pizza-box general purpose cable STBs do.

    It also lacks a USB connection, so significant modifications to the board will be necessary, but the board design needed tweaking to minimize cost, anyway (it doesn't need all the A/V connections or IR receiver anymore, its graphics chip or graphics memory and no more than about a quarter so much main memory or ROM or even the ability to tune QAM carriers). I'd have started with a cable modem design (already has everything that it needs and fewer things that it doesn't), but no doubt cable modems and cable tuners at Motorola are created by separate engineering groups using slightly different tool chains, so this platform is as close as the the cable tuner group was going to come to a good starting point for the Tuning Resolver, in existing products totally familiar to them.

    We haven't had any hints as to what S-A is using, but it's probably something very similar.
     
  12. Feb 9, 2008 #312 of 456
    Audiodynamics

    Audiodynamics New Member

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    I don't care if the tuning resolver is the same size as my S3. As long as it allows my S3 to tune into SDV and not lose any functionality, I'll be happy.

    I would reluctantly be willing to pay $30-$60 as a purchase fee for the tuning resolver. To me, this is a better alternative than parting with an S3 with lifetime on it.

    I will not be pleased if there's another Comcast rental fee. This would cause me to finally abandon Comcast (and TiVo) and get U-Verse.
     
  13. Feb 9, 2008 #313 of 456
    acvthree

    acvthree Active Member

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    It is hard for me to imagine that there will not be a monthly fee associated with what we have been calling a dongle. It is the size of a set top box. It looks like a set top box. Why would we not expect it to have a set top box rental fee?

    Al
     
  14. Feb 9, 2008 #314 of 456
    Audiodynamics

    Audiodynamics New Member

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    I agree!

    I just hope we're wrong.
     
  15. Feb 9, 2008 #315 of 456
    ciper

    ciper Active Member

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    So will the FCC set rules on the pricing of SDV dongles as well?

    I can see it now, 4.95 each for two S-cards and 4.95 for the SDV dongle. At about 15$ a month its gettng quite pricey!
     
  16. Feb 9, 2008 #316 of 456
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Partially because of politics. The OEMs objected to their use of SDV, stating that it was too expensive for them to build support for it into consumer products and could the FCC please force them to wait until they can specify an easier-to-accomodate set of protocols for core interactive functions??? The cable providers replied, "No!!!! We can take care of some of the complaints with this crappy little pieces of hardware that we've designed as a stop-gap." Now, if they choose to charge a lot of money for this box which only enables people to buy services from them provided as SDV, the OEMs are certain to come back and say, "See--this was just a disingenuous attempt to further rip-off consumers, whose 'digital cable ready' equipment they'd already devalued with SDV, after publically pledging to support it. They're charging an outrageous X dollars a month for it, which pays for the box in 3 months, after which it's all gravy. You (FCC) need to stop them from deploying SDV until they define a simple, cheap to implement standard for interactive services like we asked for before." If they intend for the Tuning Resolver to placate OEM and FCC concerns it better cost little or nothing or they're going to end up forced to implement the CEA's "Digital Cable Ready Plus" proposal, which will set their plans back and let DBS and the telcos chow down on another big helping of their lunch.

    The thing may be the size of the tiniest available digital-only set-top box--which is probably less than 15% of the size of say, an Explorer 8300HD: about half as long, half as wide and a third so thick. However, it is not a set top box, and will not cost the providers any significant fraction as much. It needs about 10% as much hardware on the board (and far less than 10% as much software) to do this, as it would take to tune, image and display digital cable channels. It's one of the stupidly simpliest things I've ever seen split off and put into a box all by itself. No one would have conceived of this tiny piece of a comm protocol split off and hosted in a separate box, if SDV hadn't evolved in the weird way that it has.

    In the end, we have no idea what the final product's going to look like--we've just heard that Motorola is using their tiny digital-only set-top to prototype it (and we didn't hear that from Motorola--we heard it in the blog of someone with "inside Motorola contacts" :rolleyes:). If this is even true, they may refine it, they may not, but that set-top itself is designed to sell in quantity for about $15 and is largely overkill for this application. The size of the enclosure that the thing ends up in is irrelevant.

    Why do we dream up BS disaster scenarios and sit around pissing and moaning about stuff that hasn't happened yet???
     
  17. Feb 9, 2008 #317 of 456
    acvthree

    acvthree Active Member

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    And I hope you are completely correct in your specualtion and I'm completely wrong in my speculation.

    My reasoning is from the deployment of the cablecard where we see a wide range of prices, some quite high and includes a digital outlet fee for each cablecard (in other words double cablecard and double digital outlet fee for the Tivo).

    The cablecard fees at least have a statement from the FCC that they expect the cost to the consumer for cablecard to to be reasonable.

    With the dongle we've had no similar statement from the FCC.

    There have also been no outcry from the CE industry about the cost+digital outlet fee being charged by some cable companies so I could assume the same for the "dongle".

    My speculation seems logical to me, but, again, I hope I'm completely wrong.

    Al
     
  18. Feb 9, 2008 #318 of 456
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    CableCARD is something that the FCC frog-marched the industry into, in a frantic attempt to define a standard for DTV-over-cable to help smooth out the DTV transition. The Tuning Resolver is something that the cable industry created on its own with no FCC prompting in an effort to apologize for disabling people's home equipment with their deployment of SDV. Apologizing while simultaneously profiteering isn't going to seem very sincere and will leave the use of SDV and the high cost of implementing OCAP open to further attack by the CEA.

    The NCTA claims that there are only a few hundred thousand CableCARDs in use--only a subset of those are in devices (like TiVo) which can be upgraded to use the Tuning Resolver. A couple million dollars worth of equipment and installation effort should fix the current problem nationwide. Seems a small enough price to pay to patch up the situation. Just roll it into the line-item for the cost of deploying SDV.
     
  19. Feb 9, 2008 #319 of 456
    acvthree

    acvthree Active Member

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    >>>CableCARD is something that the FCC frog-marched

    Frog-marched as in allowing the cable industry to initiate the idea of cablecard, define the standard and then delay deployment for 10 years?

    Al
     
  20. Feb 9, 2008 #320 of 456
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Congress "mandated" that the cable industry stop using integrated security mechanisms for conditional access services from leased cable equipment such the ability to access such services could be built into equipment for sale to the public which could be moved from cable system to cable system. That mandate was a tiny little part of the Telecommunication Act of 1996 and the FCC had been pretty chill about enforcing it, letting cable take their time, until the issue got wrapped up with the plug-and-play-DTV-over-cable standards effort. That became an absolute frog-march in the end, with the FCC setting a deadline by which cable and the OEMs had to agree on something or they'd pick some set of the alternatives on the table and force it on them. Congress forsaw (and continues to forsee) a massive profit opportunity in the auction of the released digital cable spectrum at the end of the DTV transition, and anything whose purpose is to make that transition smoother is near and dear to their steely little hearts. Once cable television separable security became part of plug-and-play-DTV-over-cable, it acheived high priority status :D.

    If separable cable access security had not become part of plug-and-play-DTV-over-cable who knows how long the FCC would have allowed cable to mull that issue over? I'm guessing that they'd still be at it today :rolleyes:. The cable industry was never enthusiastic about CableCARD, and given how abortive CableCARD has been, it wouldn't necessarily have been a bad thing if they'd been allowed to keep grinding on it until they came up with DCAS. Twelve years ago DCAS wasn't even vaguely conceivable.
     

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