TiVo support for IPTV

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by WorldBandRadio, Oct 14, 2018.

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  1. Sep 3, 2019 #281 of 355
    WVZR1

    WVZR1 Active Member

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    The WV...
    I'm quite sure FP3 and Qualifying for the rest of the year is 'scheduled' for ESPNews in a few instances (3 maybe)
     
  2. Sep 3, 2019 #282 of 355
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    It's definitely a bit of a power move to push people into bigger bundles that have ALL of the various ESPNs. Or in the case of my old local cable company, tune in via analog. :confused:
     
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  3. Sep 4, 2019 #283 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Nope, I'm aware of the situation you're talking about and it wasn't that. It was in single-family home neighborhoods. In the upper midwest, IIRC. Maybe mschnebly posted about it months ago in his neighborhood?
     
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  4. Sep 4, 2019 #284 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that might work but it doesn't look Comcast is going that route. My guess is that Comcast just doesn't want to provision expensive hardware to their standalone TV subs. They don't want to give them locked-down XB6 multicast gateways nor do they want to give them old-style X1 boxes with modems inside. My guess is that that kind of X1 box is being deprecated, with no more new ones being ordered from by manufacturer by Comcast. Going forward, it'll be all Xi5s and Xi6s. For new internet+TV customers who request an X1 box with built-in DVR hard-drive (e.g. XG1v4), they'll still offer them. But eventually all those old-style X1 boxes with modems inside will wear out and be retired.

    I'm curious whether new standalone TV subs can even get physical DVRs around here now. (I'm sure they'll continue letting existing ones use their pre-X1 DVRs and pay the ongoing $10/mo DVR service fee.)

    Once Comcast DOES spend the money to provision more expensive CPE to standalone TV subs in a couple years, it'll be a locked-down XB6 plus Xi5/Xi6, which is the logical endpoint for their IPTV system. (Note that this is the only CPE model that's even been deployed to subs on the two Canadian IPTV systems that use X1 hardware, Rogers and Videotron.)

    Yep, I understand how it works. Except by keeping certain HD channels on QAM (e.g. at least those ~20 channels I named) -- and therefore accessible to the vast majority of currently deployed X1 boxes -- they don't have to worry about getting everyone multicast-ready right away. I suspect that during the next 2-3 years, as more and more of their user-base shifts to IPTV-only hardware, but also as more and more of their user-base becomes multicast-ready (with XB6s), then we'll see Comcast shut down more and more HD channels on QAM and replace them with multicast versions that can be dynamically enabled as necessary based on the local number of live viewers.

    I'm not predicting this is what will happen but I think this is one plausible hypothetical timeline for the Central Division, where these changes are a bit further along.

    Oct. 2019: Comcast announces that new subs for their new Basic, Extra and Preferred packages must use IP-capable hardware. Those packages cannot work with QAM-only hardware, such as CableCARDs and pre-X1 boxes/adapters. They also tell existing subs on Digital Economy, Digital Preferred, Digital Preferred Plus, and Digital Premier that if they wish to retain their current package in grandfathered status, they must access it via IP-capable hardware. By the end of the year, the only packages that will still work with QAM-only hardware will be Digital Starter and Limited Basic, along with a la carte premium services. Also, throughout 2020-21, HD versions of channels in the Digital Starter package will gradually disappear for customers accessing that package via QAM-only hardware.

    Jan. 1, 2020: Only the SD and HD channels in Digital Starter and the various premium services remain on QAM and therefore accessible to TiVo users.

    2020-21: HD versions of channels in Digital Starter gradually disappear, starting with the least popular ones.

    Jan. 1, 2022: SD versions of all the channels in Digital Starter and the premiums remain on QAM. But the only channels still in HD on QAM, if any, are major locals, the most popular sports and news cable channels, and flagship premium channels.
     
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  5. Sep 4, 2019 #285 of 355
    dishrich

    dishrich Active Member

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    X1 DVR.jpg
    Sorry to disappoint you, but they very much ARE allowing people to get them here. I just helped 2 clients switch from AT&T to Comcast; one got a single DVR & the other got TWO DVR's (& 6 non-DVR boxes). Both are getting their $10 DVR fees waived for TWO years on a new promo Comcast is running here (EVEN with getting physical DVR's) & even the physical DVR boxes are now ONLY priced at $5/month each like any other box...the store sales rep actually is the one that freely suggested the one client to get 2 DVR's under the new pricing plans, as they had 5 on DirecTV.

    And again while we were in the store, I saw several people leave with X1 DVR boxes...so they sure don't seem to have a problem giving them out here locally.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  6. Sep 4, 2019 #286 of 355
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    If it were profitable, they would do it. The issue is that they aren't making much money off of TV, so they want to use their power to force people who want TV from them into getting their internet from them as well, which is insanely profitable. It may also be a support issue in that it would be an oddball configuration.

    Could be. They eventually want to go 100% IPTV, which will mean that 100% of IPTV customers will have to have multicast-capable gateways one way or another.
     
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  7. Sep 4, 2019 #287 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't disappoint me one way or another. Just asked a question. Someone who seemed pretty familiar with Comcast practices over at DSL Reports posted awhile back that the company doesn't seem to be giving out many non-X1 (QAM-only) boxes any more, so I was curious whether they had many of those old-style non-X1 DVRs to give to folks who take just standalone TV service. Or do they seem to be giving X1 DVRs now to standalone TV customers? My understanding was that X1 had always been given only to those who bundle TV+Internet and I assumed that was still true.

    And yes, that deal you're talking about is available here too and advertised on TV. I expect it's available throughout the Central Division. And, yes, I was aware that the new regular pricing scheme in Central is that you pay $5 per box, regardless of what kind of box (whether or not it includes QAM tuners and/or hard drive), and you pay $10 per account for DVR service*, whether that's cloud or physical DVR. Obviously, if you take only one box and it's a physical DVR, that adds $15 to your bill. (*20 hours of cloud DVR service included as part of the Extra and Preferred packages do not incur the $10 service fee.)
     
  8. Sep 4, 2019 #288 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it's sticks and carrots. Make TV service with all the bells and whistles available only to those who also take internet. That's why X1 boxes have always (AFAIK) only been given to TV+Internet customers, never to standalone TV subs. So it's not hard to imagine Comcast whittling away HD channels, VOD and even DVR service from their standalone TV service too. Make standalone TV service so sad that no one really wants it.

    Again, look at Cox's Starter TV service. It's just locals, not even sure if it includes HD channels. No DVR available with it, no VOD. Comes with a digital adapter or a CableCARD. That's it. If you want anything better than that, you have to go with their Contour packages, which come with X1 hardware (or a CableCARD).

    It's easy to imagine that Comcast will turn their QAM system into something very much like what Cox has, except for now anyhow, Comcast is offering a tier above just locals, Digital Starter. But 2-3 years from now, they might only offer Limited Basic in all-SD on QAM with just digital adapters and CableCARDs, like Cox. Or maybe just wipe out QAM TV completely at that point.

    Well, Comcast would want the great majority of them to have multicast-capable gateways. I'm not sure if it will ever be necessary to have 100% of them using them. Remember, as more and more of our viewing shifts away from linear channels anyway, multicast becomes somewhat less important. The bottom line is that their IP network has to keep expanding capacity to stay ahead of all that unicast streaming demand.
     
  9. Sep 4, 2019 #289 of 355
    dishrich

    dishrich Active Member

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    Well I'm not 100% sure on that, because I haven't come across but 1 person that had TV-only from Comcast. However, I DID ask a rep in our local office if a TV-only sub can have X1, & they told me yes. (I realize 1 rep doesn't say much...but our reps in the local office seem better than the average reps, just sayin'...)
    Also what I CAN tell you - if you recall, they were NOT putting any X1 boxes in commercial/business establishments...that changed early this year & I can also tell you that a couple of our local restaurants, that had standalone non-X1 boxes, recently got switched over to X1's.
    Comcast Makes X1 Available To Businesses Nationwide
    Comcast Brings X1 Video to SMBs | Light Reading

    Since it's NOT a given that every commercial establishment would have Comcast internet, it's pretty safe to say they are NOT requiring internet service to have X1 TV equipment. ;)
     
  10. Sep 4, 2019 #290 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I had already seen those articles about the push to expand X1 into commercial establishments. But the policies surrounding those accounts is different than residential accounts, so it doesn't tell us much IMO.

    Perhaps, though, Comcast is simply running out of those non-X1 QAM-only boxes to give to standalone TV customers. So some standalone TV subs get lucky and are sent an old recycled X1 box (or will get one if they request it), for no difference in price. As we've established, it's now $5/mo per box, regardless of what kind of box you have. And if any of your boxes are physical DVRs, or if you add the 60-hour cloud DVR upgrade to your account, you pay $10/mo for DVR service across the entire account.

    One other thing I just saw in re-reading our new rate card: it affirms that Digital Starter -- which, among new Comcast subs, is only available to those who take standalone TV service -- does include access to VOD and PPV via the included box. Actual wording:

    Digital Starter Includes Limited Basic, additional digital channels, TV Box and remote for primary outlet, access to Pay-Per-View and On Demand programming and Music Choice

    So that would argue in favor of VOD staying on QAM, at least in the Nashville market. That doesn't help TiVo users, though, since the Xfinity OnDemand app for TiVo has been retired. But it would be a small point contrary to my hypothesis of impending QAM deprecation. I still very much believe that channels outside of Digital Starter will become IPTV-only but it looks like, for now anyhow, VOD will stay on QAM around here.
     
  11. Sep 4, 2019 #291 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    BTW, I have a friend I'm advising today about what to do next with her TV service now that her promo period has expired with Comcast. She'll have to stick with them for broadband but pricing comes out better for what she wants TV-wise to go with any of the major streaming cable TV services (Hulu Live, AT&T TV Now, or PS Vue) combined with regular standalone Comcast broadband pricing.

    Think there's any chance that Comcast will give this current TV+internet deal to existing subs? I know it says for new subs only but I've heard that some folks have good luck getting deals as walk-ins to Comcast stores.
     
  12. Sep 4, 2019 #292 of 355
    randian

    randian Active Member

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    I think Comcast's profit is a matter of how revenue is allocated, not actual dollars. Comcast wants to raise Internet prices high enough that they don't care whether you buy TV from them or from a streaming service. Assuming customers are somewhat price sensitive, that necessitates making cable TV less expensive to compensate. Cord cutting doesn't save much money anymore, and may even be more expensive, especially with the increasing Balkanization of streaming services.
     
  13. Sep 4, 2019 #293 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Oh, cord-cutting still saves a significant amount. But it really comes down to what you want/need. Just today, I helped a friend figure out her options of staying with Comcast internet plus TV vs. standalone Comcast internet plus streaming cable TV services (e.g. AT&T TV Now, PS Vue, etc.). She's a longtime Comcast customer but unless she's able to score a new promo package deal, she'll save $18-28 per month for service on 1 HD TV by going the streaming cable TV route versus sticking with Comcast for everything. (I calculated final prices before taxes, so I was sure to include equipment fees, broadcast TV fee and RSN fee.) The savings go up the more TVs you have.

    Now, if you're someone who doesn't need live cable TV channels (which is to say, you're not a sports or cable news junkie), then you can save WAY more by cord-cutting. Comcast's Extra package, with all fees added on (but without any TV box rental fees), costs an additional $68/mo beyond standalone internet. Instead of spending that $68 on live cable channels from Comcast, you could:

    • get whatever live local channels you can get OTA with an antenna for $0
    • get Netflix (HD) for $13
    • get Hulu (HD/4K, with ads) & Disney+ (HD/4K, ad-free) & ESPN+ (HD, with ads) for $13
    • get HBO Now for $15
    • get CBS All Access (with ads) & Showtime for $15
    • get the PBS app (ad-free) for $0
    • get The CW app (with ads) for $0
    • get the Pluto TV, Tubi, Vudu, Roku Channel, & NewsOn (local TV news) apps (all with ads) for $0

    That comes to a total of $56, which is $12 less than Comcast's Extra channel package. And it's a ton of live and on-demand content, more than lots of households would feel the need to pay for. If you insisted on removing the ads from Hulu and CBS All Access, the total would come to $66, still $2 less than Comcast's Extra (which itself only comes with 20 hours of cloud DVR storage).
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  14. Sep 4, 2019 #294 of 355
    dishrich

    dishrich Active Member

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    I think she will, especially since Comcast would REALLY like to get more people off of any grandfathered pkgs. (I would recommend going to the local store, if possible...just so much easier getting to talk to a live body...) Matter of fact, I have had a couple situations where people were still under a contract, but the CSR allowed them to switch to another pkg, as long as they agreed to another 2-year contract for that particular pkg.
    I & several others have been getting repeat new sub pricing on our bundles for years now; personally I've NEVER paid regular pricing on my Preferred Triple Play for almost a decade. Matter of fact Comcast is the one that called ME & offered to put me back on the exact new customer pricing at the end of this past year...so I didn't even have to drive to the store to do that. :D
     
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  15. Sep 5, 2019 #295 of 355
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Yep, I've posted plenty of times that I get the same new customer promo every 2 years on Digital Preferred + Blast HSI after a simple retention phone call. It goes up about $10/mo. every time, right now it's $130/mo. all-in with taxes and junk fees.

    No Comcast equipment other than a card of course.
     
  16. Sep 5, 2019 #296 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, that's good to hear. Although she did say that after getting her bill that had gone up $60/mo, she called in and was on the phone with Comcast over an hour and got nowhere with them! I did tell her, though, that she'd likely have better luck walking into a store. I relayed the info about the current big sale that ends today, don't know if she's going to try for that or just chuck the cable box and go to streaming like I and lots of our other friends do...
     
  17. Sep 5, 2019 #297 of 355
    trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    My Dad pays north of $200 to Comcast. And that's after he called and got his bill reduced and they added in HBO for free. I think he said $220 after his "deal."

    He has phone, internet and cable. Never had a premium movie channel. Comcast better send him an xmas card.
     
  18. Sep 5, 2019 #298 of 355
    WVZR1

    WVZR1 Active Member

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    Your Father/family use what for cell/mobile?

    Much depends I believe on how you 'USE' Comcast/Xfinity - if you can get all of your 'services' for a reasonable fee it can work! If you can get your 'Mobile/Cell', TV, Internet and phone in a package that you 'can' control it can work well.

    I had 250/12 Internet (Xfinity) $90, L3TV $100 (1TB local storage/outstanding PQ) and a ATT Cell $30 (to provision a 30 year + exchange that Xfinity/Verizon couldn't in WV) I needed the ATT to TEXT (I don't speak) All of my medical contacts use that exchange. Same Internet, CableCard, XG1V4 box, phone with (TEXT option on PC), using my own hardware modem/router etc w/no premiums but all sports etc (Preferred I think) for $143 taxes & fees included for 2 years. Xfinity Mobile on my iPhone $3 I believe.

    What happens 2 years? NONE OF US KNOW!!!

    @NashGuy Speculations I doubt will ever effect all of the Xfinity/Comcast world. @Bigg rants regarding PQ are pretty much BS also. My Xfinity on a 64" 1080P Plasma are equal to friends who have DirecTV and Dish.

    You need to be the 'USER' if you're working with Xfinity/Comcast.

    A most interesting post by @NashGuy from some time ago I thought interesting!

     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  19. Sep 5, 2019 #299 of 355
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I certainly enjoy speculation. But when it comes to the future of Comcast TV, and the viability of TiVo as a platform for accessing it, I'm not relying on "the latest rumor". No, there have been lots of sources inside Comcast indicating for a long time now that the long-range plan for the company is to convert from QAM to 100% IPTV.

    I'll direct you back to just one post I made on this very thread earlier this year, post #169 of 2/19/19.

    In that post, I link to an internal Comcast presentation from 2016 that had leaked online. Key take-aways include:
    • Comcast is reclaiming network spectrum (bandwidth) from QAM TV for general internet use as needed. They recently did that through converting digital TV to MPEG-4. The next step of the transition is to IPTV (pg. 4 of the presentation).
    • "Project Gram" is their name for their evolution to an all IP network, with IPTV.
    • In 2015, Comcast began offering all of their TV services -- linear channels, cloud DVR, VOD -- to any screen via unicast streams through their XFi Gateways (XB3 and XB6). This would also be the delivery mechanism that is used for their Xfinity Instant TV service that uses Rokus as STBs. Apparently Comcast has also tried out this delivery mechanism with "regular" Comcast cable TV subscribers using the small tuner-less Xi3 and XiD STBs.
    • In 2016, Comcast began (or was supposed to begin) delivering multicast IPTV to customers through the XB6 XFi Advanced Gateway (DOCSIS 3.1) paired with the Xi5 STB. This box has no tuners or hard drive. The XB6 takes the multicast stream and converts it to unicast for all devices on the home network, whether Comcast STBs (Xi5, etc.), Rokus, phones, etc. Elsewhere, I read that Rogers (Canadian cableco) has licensed the X1 platform to power their new IPTV product Ignite TV, which uses the XB6 and the Xi6 STB. The Xi6 is the 4K HDR-capable version of the Xi5.
    • As pg. 27 of the presentation explains, Comcast uses both multicast and unicast IPTV. And that was back in 2016!
    Now, if you'd like to talk about rumors, there was a juicy one reported by Light Reading, a leading industry news source, back in March 2017. The rumor they reported was that Comcast would deliver IP-only video service to all new customers by the end of 2017. That obviously didn't happen. You can read that article here:

    Comcast May Go All IP by End of Year – Rumor | Light Reading

    But it's further confirmation that Comcast has been headed in that direction.

    And the latest speculation in which I've engaged isn't based on rumors at all. It's based on the updated July 2019 official Comcast service rate cards for markets in their Central Division. As I've said before, Comcast now only offers two channel packages to customers who do NOT also take internet service: Limited Basic and Digital Starter. So it's reasonable to assume that most or all of the channels that fall outside of those packages will soon be removed from QAM and become IPTV-only (requiring both a Comcast internet connection and an IPTV-capable device/app). Because if that wasn't the case, and all of Comcast's cable channels were staying on QAM, then why wouldn't the company continue to offer standalone TV subscribers the full range of channel packages?
     
  20. Sep 5, 2019 #300 of 355
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Just to provide another data point regarding Comcast pricing:

    As you know, you and I are in the same region (maybe even neighboring zip codes) and have virtually identical setups (COE only except for one Comcast CableCARD).

    I also have the Blast + Preferred Double Play bundle (including STARZ) but have recently also started paying $15 for add-on HBO, which I used to get either for free or $1 p.m. for many years. The only major difference between us is that my basic TV service (Digital Starter) is on my HOA's bulk services account. The rest is an upgrade on my individual subscriber account.

    Our total monthly cost (less the HBO fee for comparison purposes) is $85.91 including all taxes and fees on both ends. That breaks down to $37.25 per-unit for the BSA and $48.66 (give or take a few pennies depending on variances in the "Taxes, Surcharges and Fees") on my account.

    What you are paying is roughly what I have previously estimated a retail customer should expect to have to shell out for that tier of services. But if we can assume that Comcast is realizing a healthy profit on our $86, then they are doing quite nicely with your $130 for the same product, thank you very much.:eek:

    And here's another data point:

    I am currently helping my sister transition from Dish to Comcast. She is in the California region and has a completely different set of offers from what is available here (as NashGuy points out, no more bundling for us in Big South region:mad:).

    I advised her that the most economical package for her needs seems to be the X1 Premier Pro Triple Play w/HBO. That package, guaranteed for 24 months w/contract, includes gigabit HSI, Premier TV channels (w/HBO/SHO/STARZ/TMC/Hitz), XG1 DVR (500GB HDD) for 150hrs/SD or 75hrs/HD storage, HD Tech Fee, unlimited domestic VoIP, free installation, and $12/mo discount if she transfers her current Verizon cell phone service to Xfinity Mobile.

    Total cost without additional equipment (she will be using a third-party modem/router) but including all taxes and fees should be around $180 (also factoring in the taxes and fees for XM using the basic "By the Gig" plan) for what equates to a quadruple play plan. Compared to what she is paying now (Dish for TV in addition to stand-alone HBO Now, Sonic for 50Mbps HSI+VoIP, Verizon for cell service) she will save money and get significantly expanded services.
     
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