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As background, while some other CableCARD conditional access encryption systems exist, in the US most operators choose either PowerKEY (Scientific Atlanta), or MediaCipher (Motorola), and a few choose VideoGuard (NDS). At this point most of the major operators have a mix of conditional access solutions in their various acquired franchises (as some of the acquisitions were using Motorola solutions, and some were using Scientific Atlanta solutions, and what was in use was kept). All of the original companies that designed these conditional access solutions have been acquired, had assets spun off, but the branding of the underlying solutions are still seen. FWIW, The largest NDS operator in the US I was aware of (Cablevision) converted to PowerKEY some time ago.

There can be many issues with CableCARD support, but this particular reported issue by the OP is only about the PowerKEY CableCARDs and their scheduled failure in late 2024 unless changes are made in at least some deployments.

It is slightly unclear in the wording on the lightreading article if the issue is in the PowerKEY CableCARD chip itself, or the secure (enclave/processor) chip in the host that it talks to (there were a couple of companies that provided the host chips during that period of time for STB manufacturer). But the words from the current owner of the PowerKEY assets that it can be solved "via an update to the client conditional access software image" suggests that it can be fixed if the device manufacturer wishes to fix it.

I would strongly recommend those with TiVo's using PowerKEY CableCARD solution reach out to TiVo (open a support case) and ask if TiVo will be impacted, and, if so, whether TiVo will issue such an update. The answer might vary in terms of whether the device is considered legacy. And then get back to this topic with the official reply.
 

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Even in the same house as the DVR, only Xf client boxes (XiD, etc.) stream directly from the XG1, while 3rd party streamers still are streaming from the cloud.
Comcast has started phasing out their DVRs, according to the manager of my local Xfinity store. I had a Xfinity X1 XG1v4 4K physical DVR that failed and it was replaced with a X1 Xi6 4K streaming box and I kept the 10.00/month 150 hours of cloud DVR storage space. One issue is that some phone support reps will tell you that a physical DVR is required for using a streaming box, but the current policy is that a physical DVR is NOT required for an X1 TV streaming box.
 

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It's like Y2K all over again. 😂

However, I think ALL cable cards will be terminated by then. All the cable providers are going to IPTV or OTT. I mean every single channel available today is available over broadband...even other countries...and has been for the past several years. Comcast has already had their Xfinity Stream product for over 2 years.

Today, major motion pictures aren't even on film anymore. They are transmitted to the movie theater company and theaters using 256-bit AES security and DRM over the internet, or on a hard drive that the theater puts on their server.
Traditional QAM cable TV service will eventually be discontinued, as the cable companies are slowly switching their TV service to IPTV and using the QAM TV channel space to upgrade their Internet service speeds. Comcast is my service provider and they are moving more and more QAM channels to IPTV in our service area. That is why I have setup my cable/OTA TiVo Bolt+ to use as a OTA DVR and I have an Xfinity X1 Xi6 4K streaming box and 150 hours cloud DVR storage space for my TV service.
 

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As background, while some other CableCARD conditional access encryption systems exist, in the US most operators choose either PowerKEY (Scientific Atlanta), or MediaCipher (Motorola), and a few choose VideoGuard (NDS). At this point most of the major operators have a mix of conditional access solutions in their various acquired franchises (as some of the acquisitions were using Motorola solutions, and some were using Scientific Atlanta solutions, and what was in use was kept). All of the original companies that designed these conditional access solutions have been acquired, had assets spun off, but the branding of the underlying solutions are still seen. FWIW, The largest NDS operator in the US I was aware of (Cablevision) converted to PowerKEY some time ago.

There can be many issues with CableCARD support, but this particular reported issue by the OP is only about the PowerKEY CableCARDs and their scheduled failure in late 2024 unless changes are made in at least some deployments.

It is slightly unclear in the wording on the lightreading article if the issue is in the PowerKEY CableCARD chip itself, or the secure (enclave/processor) chip in the host that it talks to (there were a couple of companies that provided the host chips during that period of time for STB manufacturer). But the words from the current owner of the PowerKEY assets that it can be solved "via an update to the client conditional access software image" suggests that it can be fixed if the device manufacturer wishes to fix it.

I would strongly recommend those with TiVo's using PowerKEY CableCARD solution reach out to TiVo (open a support case) and ask if TiVo will be impacted, and, if so, whether TiVo will issue such an update. The answer might vary in terms of whether the device is considered legacy. And then get back to this topic with the official reply.
I agree with you that customers with the PowerKEY CableCARD should contact TiVo. My concern is they aren't going to upgrade the client conditional access software image, even for the Bolt and Edge platforms.
 

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Offtopic, but....

Comcast is my service provider and they are moving more and more QAM channels to IPTV in our service area.
In my area I have not seen many channels being moved from QAM to IPTV (only), although there are some from time to time, but Comcast pretty much only offers new channels in IPTV (with exceptions that make sense to Comcast). For those who only want access to some basic channels, that is not yet impacting, but after HSI mid-split will come FDX, and the prep for that change will likely accelerate the migration to IPTV (only) as clearing ~50 MHz is relatively easy compared to clearing the next 100-150MHz.

Linear QAM (like the cat) is not dead yet, but, as the story is told to make it easier for some to accept, it is up on the roof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
One issue is that some phone support reps will tell you that a physical DVR is required for using a streaming box, but the current policy is that a physical DVR is NOT required for an X1 TV streaming box.
Agree, which is why I said on my 1st post:
All XG1 physical DVR's have come with the cloud counterpart for several years now, so streaming works exactly the same, regardless if you even have any model physical DVR(s).
FWIW, our local office routinely (attempts) to replace XG1 DVR's with XG2 non-DVR QAM boxes, especially if you have XiD's, which must have at least 1 XG1 or XG2 box to function. BUT if you insist on another XG1 replacement "with the front clock" (their words, not mine) they will acquiesce. My neighbor just had a tech out last week after a power surge & his XG1 wouldn't boot up...the tech replaced it with another XG1 without any prompting by my neighbor. (although I forewarned him about them trying to swap it for an XG2)
 

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.....my next question would be......what does TIVO / Xperi plan to do?
So many have spent lots of money on hardware / subscription memberships (I bought a new edge this past March w/lifetime along with my old bolt w/lifetime) that could potentially be useless.......??
My thought process is example: what if AT&T or VERIZON would ever decide that they will no longer support any APPLE devices on their phone systems and networks.....

If you speak to the cable company, a manager at SPECTRUM explains that these "cable card" agreements were made many years ago with TIVO before the Xperi acquisition. ......AND THEY CONTINTUE TO SELL NEW TIVOs WITH LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTIONS...........whaaaa?
 

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.....my next question would be......what does TIVO / Xperi plan to do?
They intend to most likely do nothing, this is not a business that makes them money.
The requirement for a cable Tivo is a CableCARD, all they have to do is state that, it's your choice as a consumer if you want to buy a product in a market that may be shrinking in the future.
 

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They intend to most likely do nothing, this is not a business that makes them money.
The requirement for a cable Tivo is a CableCARD, all they have to do is state that, it's your choice as a consumer if you want to buy a product in a market that may be shrinking in the future.
Of course if they do nothing, in a couple of years they'll be making even less money (or losing even more) when they suddenly lose a big chunk of their existing customer base...
 

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In my area I have not seen many channels being moved from QAM to IPTV (only), although there are some from time to time, but Comcast pretty much only offers new channels in IPTV (with exceptions that make sense to Comcast). For those who only want access to some basic channels, that is not yet impacting, but after HSI mid-split will come FDX, and the prep for that change will likely accelerate the migration to IPTV (only) as clearing ~50 MHz is relatively easy compared to clearing the next 100-150MHz.

Linear QAM (like the cat) is not dead yet, but, as the story is told to make it easier for some to accept, it is up on the roof.
Comcast has stated that they will begin offer "symmetrical multi-gig" cable internet in some markets by the end of 2023. And I don't think those kinds of speeds will be possible with mid-split alone; I believe it will require FDX as well. As you state, that kind of network upgrade will be a logical (or even necessary) point at which they dump QAM.

Meanwhile, Charter is currently doing high-split upgrades and will later go with extended spectrum DOCSIS rather than FDX. But those upgrades also appear to be spelling the end of support for CableCARD (and possibly QAM altogether) on that network.

And lastly, Comcast and Charter have formed a joint venture, now dubbed Xumo, to bring to market streaming boxes and smart TVs built on Comcast's X1/Flex software and app store. Comcast already uses that platform to power their standalone IPTV-only boxes, such as the Xi6. The first Xumo Streaming TV boxes are supposed to roll out from the joint venture by the end of 2023, presumably for both Comcast and Charter customers.

In light of all the above, it's quite possible, even likely, that neither Comcast or Charter will be supporting CableCARD devices (either their own STBs or retail devices like TiVo) by late 2024, when this PowerKEY time warp bug could be a problem. It's just another reason for them to hasten the migration away from that outdated technology.
 

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Spectrum here (Charter) with a Cisco CC. I firmly believe they will abandon the platform altogether in November 2024. They have already made getting a CC almost impossible. I have a friend I gifted a Tivo Premiere to several months ago and he is still waiting on a tuning adapter and CC for use with it. They simply keep telling him they are out of stock. I would assume I'd get the same treatment should one of mine fail for some reason. I have certainly gotten my money's worth using the Tivo ecosystem for better than 20 years now with lifetime subscriptions on the many boxes I've owned through the years. This will be a painful transition though because I am currently running two Tivo's with three minis so I'm essentially covering 5 cable boxes with DVR functionality for $6 per month. I am done with Spectrum when they drop support -
You didn’t say where you live but here in Rochester NY, I just walked in and they gave me a pre-packaged kit with cable card and adapter for my new Edge. I wonder if it’s regional and if there’s enough volume, they’ll keep CC’s. When I turned in a cable box, I noticed it had a CC installed in it, too.
 

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Of course if they do nothing, in a couple of years they'll be making even less money (or losing even more) when they suddenly lose a big chunk of their existing customer base...
I have a strong feeling the money from the Tivo consumer side of the business is already at a loss, and the less machines they have using the servers and getting serviced, will result in them keeping the status quo.
 
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.....my next question would be......what does TIVO / Xperi plan to do?
So many have spent lots of money on hardware / subscription memberships (I bought a new edge this past March w/lifetime along with my old bolt w/lifetime) that could potentially be useless.......??
My thought process is example: what if AT&T or VERIZON would ever decide that they will no longer support any APPLE devices on their phone systems and networks.....

If you speak to the cable company, a manager at SPECTRUM explains that these "cable card" agreements were made many years ago with TIVO before the Xperi acquisition. ......AND THEY CONTINTUE TO SELL NEW TIVOs WITH LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTIONS...........whaaaa?
What would you expect TiVo to do?

Discontinue their product line because of unspecified plans from unspecified providers with no timelines? Maybe they could require proof that you don’t have Spectrum and only sell to those customers? Or maybe they should just declare bankruptcy and walk away because Spectrum is sending scary letters to some of their customers.

Or, maybe they should continue to sell their products since they work perfectly fine as advertised.
 

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I would strongly recommend those with TiVo's using PowerKEY CableCARD solution reach out to TiVo (open a support case) and ask if TiVo will be impacted, and, if so, whether TiVo will issue such an update. The answer might vary in terms of whether the device is considered legacy. And then get back to this topic with the official reply.
Is this even within TiVo’s power to fix? From the article I read, it seemed clear it was up to the cable card manufacturer or perhaps the cable operator. Nowhere did I see that STB manufacturers had any power to correct the issue, even if they wanted to.
 

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You didn’t say where you live but here in Rochester NY, I just walked in and they gave me a pre-packaged kit with cable card and adapter for my new Edge. I wonder if it’s regional and if there’s enough volume, they’ll keep CC’s. When I turned in a cable box, I noticed it had a CC installed in it, too.
I'm in Charlotte, NC and the friend that still has not acquired a card or tuner is in Columbia, SC. We're still hopeful they eventually ship them. The stores here (at least in Columbia) won't even take your equipment or issue CC related anymore. They insist you go to the UPS store to return equipment and all of their theirs is shipped unless you schedule a service call (for a fee).
 

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I had one of these boxes from Altice (Optimum) and the Tivo cable card stopped working about a year ago. Altice had no interest in fixing it. I switched to FIOS and frankly, their cable software is pretty damn good, maybe better than Tivo. (I still use a Tivo Stream for Netflix, Hulu, and Prime)
FYI. A while back about a year ago Optimum stopped support for their old CC (NDS I think). They required a swap to a Powerkey card. As of today, my Powerkey cards on Optimum are functioning along with tuning adapters for both my Tivo bolt 3gb and HD Homerun.
 

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Is this even within TiVo’s power to fix? From the article I read, it seemed clear it was up to the cable card manufacturer or perhaps the cable operator. Nowhere did I see that STB manufacturers had any power to correct the issue, even if they wanted to.
The vendor who owns the PowerKey access talked about upgrades to the conditional access system. There are a couple of parts of the entire system, one in the CableCARD itself, and one in the host. Either, or both, may be impacted (and workaround in one might mitigate against issues in the other).

CableCARD vendors typically have a contractional obligation to support their firmware for many many decades. If this was just a CableCARD firmware issue it would be expected the vendor will update the firmware and all would be well, but the article explicitly called out TiVo as being impacted, so either the article is not entirely accurate (which would not be at all surprising), or TiVo has some work to do, too.

Calling TiVo and opening a case will likely not get any better answer than "we are looking at it", but we don't know until customers with a contract and use PowerKey call and report here.
 
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