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Old 01-19-2004, 12:01 AM   #1 (Print)
Diacritical
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Cable cards?

New TVs are coming out that will not need cable boxes... just a "cable card" that will enable them to tune digital cable (including HDTV). Is there anything in the works to do this with TiVo?

I'd love to get rid of these danged cable boxes. They offer nothing but added heat, cables, and something that can break. This might also be the answer for HDTV TiVo for those of us who have to used cable for HDTV (no OTA receivable here and I cannot put up a sat dish).

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Old 01-19-2004, 08:09 PM   #2 (Print)
aaronw
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Check out www.opencable.com for more info on Opencable projects/standards. I am sure that every manufacturer of TV/video appliances is looking into this. It will be very exciting when it actually happens. Just like the first cable modems, and then DOCSIS came out...
Probably buried somewhere in the opencable.com site is the timeline and such, but I can't seem to find it right now.

But it's coming!
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Old 08-15-2004, 11:54 AM   #3 (Print)
bmoura
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Re: Cable cards?

Quote:
Originally posted by Diacritical
New TVs are coming out that will not need cable boxes... just a "cable card" that will enable them to tune digital cable (including HDTV). Is there anything in the works to do this with TiVo?

I'd love to get rid of these danged cable boxes. They offer nothing but added heat, cables, and something that can break. This might also be the answer for HDTV TiVo for those of us who have to used cable for HDTV (no OTA receivable here and I cannot put up a sat dish).


Well, the Cable operators are making Cable Cards available, but I haven't seen too many products that support them yet.

A Tivo that accepted the Cable Card would be an obvious enhancement to their product line. I wonder if work on such a Tivo model is underway?
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Old 08-16-2004, 10:05 AM   #4 (Print)
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Supposedly one is in development.

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Old 08-21-2004, 10:49 PM   #5 (Print)
cwestpha
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The problem with cable cards is that some (Comcast) Cable providors are charging almost as much as a cable box for one of these (though the first one is always free). Also the current standard (1.0) only supports one stream per card. So if you wanted a dual digital tunner TiVo that would be two cards.

Woops, also forgot that the cable cards do nothing for PPV or other advanced services in its current generation.

Last edited by cwestpha : 08-21-2004 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 08-22-2004, 06:27 PM   #6 (Print)
Ronin1
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Multiple CableCARDs!

What would be very nice would be a TiVo that could take multiple CableCARDs and would be able to record multiple channels simultaneously. The boxes that Time Warner Cable is using from Scientific Atlanta are capable of recording two channels simultaneously or recording one and watching another. I can not see why multiple channel recording/viewing would not be possible in a TiVo as well...maybe more than two. There could be a small door that would allow access to a bay of PCMCIA slots to install CableCARDs.

I am just guessing, but it appears that the cable companies are limiting the PPV and other features in the CableCARD to keep the cable box in your home so that they can try to sell you other things. They will probably be forced to abandon this position by the FCC &/or FTC and competitive pressures from manufacturer who will simply make a card that is compatible with the cable company's interface and offer it for sale.

There should also be a user installable hard drive that does not void the warranty of the TiVo. I do not believe that it would be that hard to have a bay for the physical installation of the drive and a menu driven setup which would do whatever is necessary to have the extra drive be recognized and utilitzed. Let's face it. Adding a drive is not that big of a deal. At the very least there should also be provision for backup to a firewire drive or DVD burner.

Last edited by Ronin1 : 08-22-2004 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 08-22-2004, 08:55 PM   #7 (Print)
cwestpha
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Re: Multiple CableCARDs!

Quote:
Originally posted by Ronin1
What would be very nice would be a TiVo that could take multiple CableCARDs and would be able to record multiple channels simultaneously. The boxes that Time Warner Cable is using from Scientific Atlanta are capable of recording two channels simultaneously or recording one and watching another. I can not see why multiple channel recording/viewing would not be possible in a TiVo as well...maybe more than two. There could be a small door that would allow access to a bay of PCMCIA slots to install CableCARDs.

I am just guessing, but it appears that the cable companies are limiting the PPV and other features in the CableCARD to keep the cable box in your home so that they can try to sell you other things. They will probably be forced to abandon this position by the FCC &/or FTC and competitive pressures from manufacturer who will simply make a card that is compatible with the cable company's interface and offer it for sale.

There should also be a user installable hard drive that does not void the warranty of the TiVo. I do not believe that it would be that hard to have a bay for the physical installation of the drive and a menu driven setup which would do whatever is necessary to have the extra drive be recognized and utilitzed. Let's face it. Adding a drive is not that big of a deal. At the very least there should also be provision for backup to a firewire drive or DVD burner.


Depending upon the cable providor you can expect as much as 3 or 4 dollars extra a month for each cable card over 1.
Cable companies (mostly Comcast) are trying to force the cable card price as high as possible so as to force people to take the cable boxes (to force PPV, their own PVR, ect) but still be under the cost of the cable box to avoid the FCC's wraith (remember now that the FCC is now already oversteping its legal bounderies in the TV industry with forcing DRM and other reguiernments and is being un-opposed).
Also you can not legaly reverse engenear the cable cards distributed by a cable company under federal law (DMCA).

There are many problems to users modifying their TiVo hardware. Acidently remove the front cable and power it on without reconnecting it corectly and you kill your cable. And thats the least of the problems. You also have to understand that some people who own TiVos probebly dont even know how to set their VCR clocks.
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Old 08-22-2004, 09:03 PM   #8 (Print)
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Also the tech support issues, and the irate customer who just bent all the pins (and broke a few off) and now wants a refund.

I think the "opening it up" process as current is easy enough for someone with a modicum of skill but keeps most of the clueless out.

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Old 08-22-2004, 09:36 PM   #9 (Print)
Ronin1
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeteEMT
Also the tech support issues, and the irate customer who just bent all the pins (and broke a few off) and now wants a refund.

I think the "opening it up" process as current is easy enough for someone with a modicum of skill but keeps most of the clueless out.


But why should you have to void your warranty to do something as simple as installing a SIM card in a cell phone?

I think that the cable companies will be forced to allow the use of third party equipment which will make them be more competitive in their features and pricing. These CableCARDs can't be much more complicated than a WiFi card (or cost much more).
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Old 08-23-2004, 08:22 AM   #10 (Print)
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Installing a SIM card is rather idiot proof, the current state of adding a hard drive isn't totally idiot proof. Also because of that exposed power supply in the TiVo , it wouldn't pass the cert tests for consumers to open it.

It'd have to be enclosed, thus costing Tivo more bucks.

There are avenues already if you can't do the upgrade, A) Get someone to do it for you, there are plenty of services out there B) Buy a different unit from TiVo with more capacity

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Old 08-23-2004, 08:48 AM   #11 (Print)
Ronin1
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PeteEMT,

Of course this would be a new machine! It simply is not that hard to design something with an area that is intended to be accessible by an end user or a service tech without entering the "sealed" box thereby voiding warranty. TiVo, and every other company that remains in business for that matter, will be bring out new models periodically. The comment was about "desirable features" for a new machine. Nothing is written in stone.

One of the very reasons that TiVo (and the competition for that matter) have not achieved greater "market penetration", i.e. sales, is that these devices are rather limited in what it can do. Finding the mix of capabilities that the market desires is the trick.
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:58 AM   #12 (Print)
classicsat
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A: The point of cable cards is to 1: allow customer owned tuners and 2: alleviate the need for providers to deal with whole boxes.

B: The current cards are in their first version, which is right now limited to one way authorisation of "static" pay services. Further versions will allow PPV and VOD capabilities, and I believe, multiple tuners with one card.

C: Installing a CC into a CC capable tuner Tivo or otherwise, does/will not involve opening the case. There will be a slot somewhere on the unit to install the card.

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Old 08-23-2004, 02:09 PM   #13 (Print)
cwestpha
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Quote:
But why should you have to void your warranty to do something as simple as installing a SIM card in a cell phone?

many phones do not have the SIM card acessable because there is little reason for the consumer to need to do it. Most of the times a SIM card is replaced by a consumer it is to switch the service of their phone and requires some dismanteling of the phone. Furthermore if you have access to the SIM card you could clone it with the proper equitment.

Quote:
I think that the cable companies will be forced to allow the use of third party equipment which will make them be more competitive in their features and pricing. These CableCARDs can't be much more complicated than a WiFi card (or cost much more).

Current this is not legal, as I said. inorder to make a cable card that is usable would require reverse engenearing of the cable company issued cards (illigal under the DMCA). Also the readers would need to be aproved by the cable labs or else there may be side effects on the network (especialy when they introduce true two way cable cards). If the FCC mandated the cable cards open, then the cable industry would fight tooth and nail to stop it.
Remeber cable companies currently make their money through bundeling services and charging for additional boxes. subscriptions barely cover content costs, network expantion and upkeep, and the costs of employement.

Quote:
Of course this would be a new machine! It simply is not that hard to design something with an area that is intended to be accessible by an end user or a service tech without entering the "sealed" box thereby voiding warranty. TiVo, and every other company that remains in business for that matter, will be bring out new models periodically. The comment was about "desirable features" for a new machine. Nothing is written in stone.

This is why I think they should support USB attached external storage. The encryption would stop most copying and TiVo makes most of their money off of subscriptions anyways.

Quote:
B: The current cards are in their first version, which is right now limited to one way authorisation of "static" pay services. Further versions will allow PPV and VOD capabilities, and I believe, multiple tuners with one card.

PPV is on track for the 1.1 standard. I am not sure about multiple stream decoding.

Quote:
C: Installing a CC into a CC capable tuner Tivo or otherwise, does/will not involve opening the case. There will be a slot somewhere on the unit to install the card.

That is correct. Open a user accesable panal and slip in the card (like a satalite reciver). However we are talking about the dificulty of users upgrading their hard drives by opening the case. Lots of ways to kill your TiVo and they will never support it under warentee.
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:21 PM   #14 (Print)
Ronin1
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"That is correct. Open a user accesable panal and slip in the card (like a satalite reciver). However we are talking about the dificulty of users upgrading their hard drives by opening the case. Lots of ways to kill your TiVo and they will never support it under warentee."

It simply is not that hard to design a product that has user accessible areas which are "safe", i.e. not hazardous to the installer or the unit. Especially with SATA drives the installation can be "falling off a log simple". The whole point of designing a product in this way is to make it expandable *without voiding the warranty*.
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Old 08-23-2004, 03:56 PM   #15 (Print)
cwestpha
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Well this is why I support USB hard drives being attached. It should be plug and play (not plug and pray) as this is the only thing that you should have to do is plug it in, a format window pops up, and you hit ok and it mounts. external SATA is part of the 1.1 standard and probebly wont be incorperated until the cheapness of IDE drives are gone and they may include an external plug... or perhaps not.

However I could see why TiVo could want to do this. They do make a little bit of money off of the higher end units though most of their profit is from subscriptions. Probebly the biggest thing would be a challange from the MPAA . They could argue that once you get the content onto an easily movable device, one could easily hook it up to another TiVo to share shows or even to hook it up to a PC and download and decode the stuff onto your computer. While for the most part it is baseless, it could make TiVo reluctant.
Also there is a problem of removable storage on the TiVo. Mounting and unmounting automaticly with a range of hardware is still not a sure thing with Linux. Also what would happen if you unplugged the hard drive as something was being recorded onto it? That would require a lot more code and lots of trials with the duzens of removable high density USB storage devices out there.
If you want I could go on with what TiVo would have to consider before doing even the USB thing.
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