How much does CableCARD change things? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-24-2004, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Currently I'm stuck with Cablevision whom does not offer a PVR unit.
I've thought long and hard about ReplayTv as it seems better than Tivo functionality.... but the standalone units still feel inadequate compared to their intergrated siblings (Directivo, Ultimate Tv, other Cable DVR's)
The recording capacity bothers me lots. 120 gig HD on a Directivo holds 104 hours at top quality, whereby the standalones will yeild about 40-50 hours at top quality due to analog compression.
The Replay has a toslink audio out.... but cannot record digital 5.1...(what's the point there?)
The channel changing takes 4-8 seconds per click on a standalone.... so I'd really like a Cablebox DVR, but my good friends at Cablevision will most likely have one available around Spring 2020... at least in NY.

Anyway, my question involves the CableCard technology. Does this not open up the market to purchase cable boxes from vendors rather than lease them from the cable company? I know the CC technology is supposed to apply to capable TV's... but this should not limit other companies from manufacturing multi-functional set top boxes with this ability.

Since there are MANY cable companies now offering PVR's to their customers... would I be able to purchase one of their offerings, or a Moxi/ Diego type box and utilize my Cablevision CableCard?

Feel free to flame me if this has been explored before...
thanks
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-24-2004, 09:23 PM
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Sony, Motorola, and someone else (?Mitsubishi?) have annouced CableCard DVRs.

Thread on the Sony's
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=371685
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-24-2004, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you....
I guess the Sony is still not available yet... I can't find anything but the press release on their website.
Definately interested even if there was no HD. I can't tell if there's a service fee for the program guide. I could really use one of these soon.

I can't believe this was announced in February, the CableCards are available as of July 1... and there has been no product development announcement from Tivo or Replay. Do these companies WANT to go out of business? A golden opportunity for them to break through.
It would be great for these units to evolve into sattellite/cable universal descramblers... so you could use the best equipment on either platform. Ultimate Tv comes to mind.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-25-2004, 08:25 AM
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I can't believe this was announced in February, the CableCards are available as of July 1... and there has been no product development announcement from Tivo or Replay. Do these companies WANT to go out of business?
The cable companies are still working out the problems with CableCard. If you've read any of the CableCard threads (try this one), you've undoubtedly heard of the problems people are seeing -- such as random QAM channel numbering, no channel labels, and no ability to record via Firewire (bug on SA systems).

ReplayTV development is pretty much dead. The new owners of ReplayTV got out of the standalone DVR business (see ReplayTV forum). Tivo said during a conference call that we might hear something from them on CableCard around the end of the year. Many expect them to demonstrate a CableCard product at CES in January.

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Definately interested even if there was no HD. I can't tell if there's a service fee for the program guide. I could really use one of these soon.
The Sony uses TVGuide Onscreen, similar to the current LG 3410 OTA/QAM DVR. The recording functionality and guide is similar to the Motorola 6208 with TVGuide software. There is no charge for the guide, although available programming information will vary (2-7 days) by location, because it's generally delivered via PBS.

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It would be great for these units to evolve into sattellite/cable universal descramblers... so you could use the best equipment on either platform. Ultimate Tv comes to mind.
Never going to happen. The CableCard mandate does not apply to satellite companies; each satellite company uses their own proprietary encryption scheme, with billions of dollars in equipment being owned by the customers (not the satellite co).
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-25-2004, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I never said the CableCard mandate currently applied to satellite. But it is rational to think that the same forces that yielded this mandate would eventually find their way into the sattelite community.

Much longer, ofcourse... but the government goal is always perfect competition.
I'm sure the cable companies wanted to preserve their "proprietary encryption" too. Ultimately any business or industry will become federally regulated IF it gets big enough. For this type of system to "never happen" to sattellite would mean that their growth must curtail. That is certainly a possibility, should this CableCard's benefits begin to shift people in favor of cable to satellite.

Bottom line is that regulation of this type is innevitable among very large compaines... when? probably a long time so long as they grow.... but then again, my original post was never meant to be a prediction, but a favorable supposition... and what benefits it could yield for the consumer.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-25-2004, 10:33 AM
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I'm sure the cable companies wanted to preserve their "proprietary encryption" too.
No, the cable companies were responsible for developing the CableCard standard. Before CableCard, it wasn't possible for consumer electronics vendors to produce TVs with integrated digital cable tuners and cable STBs. The cable companies would much rather have the customer purchase their box (or TV with a digital tuner), so they can reduce their capital expenditures and increase profits. By speeding the migration to digital cable ready televisions, it helps the cable companies in their transition from analog cable to all-digital (or nearly all-digital) cable systems, thereby freeing valuable bandwidth for more VOD, VOIP, and 10+Mbps broadband.

CableCard does not give cable companies any advantage that I can see. DirecTV and Dish Network STBs have sold STBs to customers for years. CableCard just helps to level the playing field. Dish Network and DirecTV STBs should continue to be more cost effective, because they are subsidized (i.e. every box sold at a $100-$200 loss -- a marketing expense), whereas CableCard STBs from Sony and LG will probably be sold at a considerable profit.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-25-2004, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure where you're going with this... I never said any of this was what Cable Companies wanted, but a way for the governamet to provide for better competition in the market. The cable companies developed the card because they were required to. They make more money leasing cheaply made devices across areas of geographic monopoly. I'm glad that it may have some benefit for them, but I'm sure we wouldn't see it for another couple of years without a gov't deadline.

The government has been expected to help break up the monopolies to provide for multiple competing vendors in the same geographic marketplace for a while... this is certainly one small step in giving the consumer a choice.
The boxes themselves "selling at a loss" is another anomoly of limited competition, and fat exclusive contracts... once the market sees more third party involvement.... competition and economies of scale will begin to bring the prices down... all while still making a profit.

But I do gotta say that I'm confused as to whether we agree or disagree....
My main position is that I like the possiblities the CableCard can bring, and am happy to see a big electronic company like Sony inevitably draw it's competitors into this market.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-27-2004, 09:41 AM
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Originally posted by opus123
I never said the CableCard mandate currently applied to satellite. But it is rational to think that the same forces that yielded this mandate would eventually find their way into the sattelite community.

Much longer, ofcourse... but the government goal is always perfect competition.
Their long term goal through all of this has simply been commercial availability of navigation devices. DBS STBs are available for sale ... so ... for now FCC and Congress are likely to be satisfied.

There are parts of 'CableCard' (stuff underlying it) that DO apply to DBS companies. Namely, all MVPDs must support non-integrated security for conditional access. DBS has access cards so ... they meet that mandate.

Cable also has had to support non-integrated security for a while. The problem was ... Cox Fairfax could support one thing, Cox San Diego another, and Comcast Fairfax yet another. The electronics companies said that (in theory) with each cable company being able to use whatever standard they wanted, there was not enough incentive to make STBs for sale. So ... CableCard, used by all cable companies, was mandated.

In the near term ... as long as navigation devices are available at retail, I think Congress and the FCC are going to be happy. The idea of ALL MVPDs using the SAME conditional access technology has never been a stated goal of Congress nor the FCC.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-27-2004, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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directv has already stated that they plan to sell all merchandise themselves in the not too distant future thereby excluding electronics companies other than hughes.... so here we go round and round.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-27-2004, 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by opus123
directv has already stated that they plan to sell all merchandise themselves in the not too distant future thereby excluding electronics companies other than hughes.... so here we go round and round.
Yah ... I was thinking of that as I was typing the above. Interesting to see how Congress and the FCC will react. I still don't think they'll care as long as STBs remain commercially available (for sale in a store). However, only having one supplier would certainly seem to be against the spirit of the original law so ...
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post #11 of 12 Old 09-27-2004, 02:33 PM
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directv has already stated that they plan to sell all merchandise themselves in the not too distant future thereby excluding electronics companies other than hughes.... so here we go round and round.
Actually, DirecTV got out of the STB business.

DirecTV's stated goal is for all new STBs to be sold under the DirecTV brand. Two consumer electronics firms -- Samsung and Thomson(RCA) -- are now responsible for all DirecTV STB design and production. Note how the HDTV DirecTivo now carries the DirecTV brand, even though it is now manufactured by Thomson.
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post #12 of 12 Old 09-27-2004, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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whoops... my mistake, ofcourse that still excludes others.
it'd be nice if Samsung were to be responsible for the interface. I've used a Samsung box for a time, and it was heads and shoulders above every other brand. GUI was very pleasing, with good layout/features.... and super speedy.
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