TiVo confirms SDV dongle for 2Q 2008

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

  1. cwoody222

    cwoody222 Well-Known Member

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    Must be nice to have that with Time Warner.

    I just spent time in another state and they have Sci-Alt boxes (like me) and are running the Passport software. It's SOOOO much nicer than the piece of crap SARA software I'm stuck with here.

    I'd actually consider the Passport software an adequate alternative to TiVo. I wouldn't even recommend SARA as an on-screen channel guide.

    Even the VOD menus of Passport look much better. My SARA screens look like they're from 1999. Hell, TW hasn't even put their logo on the screens since they took over from Adelphia here over a year ago. We just have a blank space where the Adelphia logos used to be. Pitiful.
     
  2. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    Actually it makes perfect sense. The analog channels have to be broadcast anyway since something like 50% of Cox subscriber base is still analog only, so I don't see analog going away any time soon. Hence the digital simulcast (a digital duplication of the analog channels) are the ones taking extra bandwidth that not everyone is using, so it makes sense to make them switched. In fact Cox Fairfax VA apparently did this very thing once SDV was deployed which is further confirmation that it is likely to happen in Cox Orange County CA.
     
  3. ldudek

    ldudek New Member

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    I would say it works the same way in my area as well. But I believe that the cable companies will give the boxes up to the analog people. Many cable companies have already done this in certain areas.

    With the limited bandwith that cable has and the fact that D* is or has just recently put another bird up they are going to need all the bandwith they can get to compete. Right now D* is whipping cable something fierce in the HD market. They are going to have to do something to be as competitive and I say come 2009 they will have converted their analog customers.
     
  4. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Based on which metric?

    I think it is important to remember that the only metric that either company cares about is profit.
     
  5. ldudek

    ldudek New Member

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    I have no idea what that means but I'm talking about HD channels available.
     
  6. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Yes, I thought you were. However, my point was that "number of HD channels" is a metric that neither company really cares about. And most consumers, in the final analysis, really don't care about that either. What most consumers care about is how many hours of programming that we watch does one company provide in HD versus the other. Therefore, the more HD channels a company provides, the less each one provides value (since, presumably, companies add HD channels in order of popularity -- a less popular HD channel provides less value to consumers than a more popular HD channel). Eventually, the cost of providing additional HD channels could exceed the value provided to consumers (i.e., the ability to provide profit to the service provider) from those (increasingly less popular) HD channels.

    Does that make better sense now?
     
  7. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this, and it seems to me that not much has changed in this regard with cable vs satellite. At least when I was looking, I'd frequently see more channels offered on satellite than I did on cable... however, the vast majority of those channels were of zero interest to me. Same with HD (for me) so far, what satellite has offered is not enough for me to switch to their service, so cable hasn't even needed to compete by offering more HD channels. For cable to add a lot of HD channels that aren't in much demand yet seems to me to be a bad strategy. They will eventually need to get more HD, but the majority of their customers right now could probably not care less.
     
  8. ldudek

    ldudek New Member

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    Yes, it does. As a matter of fact most of the additional HD channels I now have don't mean anything to me. I mostly watch the networks however I'm pretty big fan of FX and Sci Fi, which I don't get in HD.
     
  9. Grakthis

    Grakthis New Member

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    We just got NFL Network in HD. I seriously watch the NFL network maybe three times a year and I am a HUGE NFL fan. I don't understand why they did it... there are a dozen channels I would have rather had in HD.
     
  10. cwoody222

    cwoody222 Well-Known Member

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    Because sports channels - especially HD ones - make cable companies more comparable to satellite.
     
  11. Bodie

    Bodie Member

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    +1 (also got the NHL network in HD :rolleyes:)
     
  12. JakiChan

    JakiChan New Member

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    I held off on the S3 for the price. I held off on the HD because of SDV but it looks like we're all good to go now. Good thing Xmas is coming.

    However, I will say this: if they charge more than $2 for this dongle then I hope the FCC just nukes them. THEY (the cable "providers") are the ones who created the CableCard spec. Now they're changing their systems so that stuff we buy won't work with it. I think it's clearly their responsibility to make it right and charging us for it would simply add insult to injury.
     
  13. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    They created the CableCARD spec under tremendous pressure from Congress as exerted through the FCC. CableCARD, though it serves to provide some choice in equipment to consumers, does nothing for the cable industry except to tie their hands. They can expand the capabilities of leased boxes in any direction that they damned well please but there are severe limitations to what they can do within the framework of CableCARD, especially if they have to maintain compatibility with Version 1 (S-Cards in unidirectional hosts).
     
  14. JakiChan

    JakiChan New Member

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    Welcome to regulation. :) They could have had a standard imposed on them. They chose to create one and now it doesn't do what they want and I feel that's entirely their fault. I can't imagine no-one foresaw bi-directional communication when they were creating the standard.

    As satellite continues to eat their lunch it also gives them a way to compete better. Oh, and since they have monopolies in many areas then making FCC and the customers happy keeps them from being broken up like Ma Bell.

    Anything that would degrade consumer-purchased equipment based on the spec they created should not be allowed without a work-around provided for, free of charge, by the providers. Just my opinion.
     
  15. Alcatraz

    Alcatraz Occasionally Helpful

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    You could always switch to Verizon Fios to use your cablecards...

    I don't have it, but it's an option.
     
  16. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Oh, they did--I was pointing this out in a post in another thread this morning. (I give a pointer there to the HTML-based API for interactive services that they defined in the original V1 POD and POD Host specs).

    I'm actually pro-cable regulation and have little to no sympathy for cable industry. They still have a healthy part-monopoly on the multichannel programming business with a 61% nationwide share that they wouldn't have if more consumers had a choice. Hopefully the telecos will expand their footprint quickly to bite them in their asses, since they haven't learned to stop acting like they don't have any real competition. I just point out that CableCARD was never their idea because your post made it sound as though "well, they came up with this spec, so they should be willing to live with it". They never wanted anything to do with it and I think that they believed that they could shine the FCC on for many more years. Unfortunately for them, the issue of separable security became intertwined with a much more vital effort to define a set of standards for supporting DTV rebroadcasts on cable that was seen as essential to the smooth transition from analog to digital television, something near-and-dear to the hearts of Congress as they expect (however unrealistically :)) to reap billions of dollars from the auctioning off of the analog spectrum.
    How so? I don't see a single profit opportunity in the support of CableCARD. Not even a small one. As stated, it inhibits them from expanding into most new technology related to their business--they can't get into higher bandwidth modulation systems or more efficient media encodings. They're largely stuck with MPEG-2 over 256- and 64-QAM carriers. If course, the broadcasters are stuck with MPEG-2 as well.
    I agree, but I can also see it from their side. Unfortunately SDV is the only way that they're going to be able to compete with DBS on a bullet-point-for-bullet-point basis. I'd love to be able to blast them for resorting to it unnecessarily, but it's really the quickest and least expensive route to maintaining parity with their competition. Members of the FCC have said things indicating that they're quite in favor of its use. I do agree with you that they should supply these adapters as close to free of charge as possible, though.
     
  17. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    That's really it, for me, in a nutshell. As soon as Comcast provides those two, I'll be satisfied. (I already have USA HD and Discovery HD.) Lifetime HD, BBC HD, and ABC Family HD would be nice too.
     
  18. JakiChan

    JakiChan New Member

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    Simple. You do CableCard and allow consumers to bring their own hardware or the FCC takes your monopoly away. It's just like when Ma Bell made you lease phone hardware from them.

    It's the cheapest way for them to compete, not the only way. The problem is that cable companies, especially mine, nickel and time you death. So since they're not willing to take the big leap and upgrade their infrastructure and since they knew this problem was coming when they created CableCard then I really feel it needs to be a 100% free solution.
     
  19. Luke M

    Luke M Member

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    "Cable ready" analog TVs are a competitive advantage for cable. That's why they still support analog, at great expense.

    It's not clear to me why cable would not want to maintain and extend this competitive advantage with digital. If TV customers are effectively forced to buy a cable box with every TV - even if they don't subscribe to cable - isn't that an advantage for cable companies?

    As far as 'inhibiting' new technology, they are equally inhibited by their own set top boxes, which would cost a fortune to replace.
     
  20. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Not so much. They do it from time-to-time as technological advances offer new profit opportunities. For instance, there was no digital cable at all until 10 years ago. It took some years for the technology to take over, because it required the swapping out of millions of STBs, but it allowed them add a hundred or more new channels, large multi-channel subscription tiers and emergent technologies like VOD and IPPV.

    They could go for expanding their physical plant to things like 3GHz tech and fiber-to-the-home, directions in which they'll almost certainly be forced, but all of that will require not only updating leased subscriber equipment, but updating the wiring in the ground. It will require years to complete, while D* waves its "150 HD Channels" banner the whole while and the telcos do who knows what. SDV is quick to implement, reasonably priced and allows them to pile on a buttload of new services immediately. It's impossible to argue with except in that it disenfranchises CableCARD users, whom they claim only number about 300K nationwide--in the noise.

    Like bicker and ldudek, I'm pretty satisfied with what I have. Nothing in that mass of channels that D* added over the past couple of months impressed me. Either I already had it and wasn't watching it anyway or I had no interest in it. With only two programs that I regularly record that aren't on the national networks, I already store a difficult-to-keep-up-with 23+ hours of HD television each week. Give me national networks, TNT HD, the ESPN HD channels (mainly ESPN2 HD for tennis) and the new Sci Fi HD and I won't ask for more.

    However, I clearly see how it's difficult for cable to compete with "up to 150 HD channels". If the telcos were to come on strong with similar offers, they'll be sunk if they don't respond in kind.
     

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