Originally Posted by NV5655
When we start seeing consumer DVR's hit the market, will we see the service fees dissapear? Then the cable company will get some real competition. Also, will these devices support Cablecard 2.0 and be easilly upgradable to whatever standard comes next?
Just what do you mean by consumer DVRs? Do you mean DVRs you can purchase? Or DVRs with more capable and featured software? DVR software development is very expensive
, and is the primary reason why you don't see any manufacturer selling a HDTV DVR product without a monthly fee. In addition, support costs for DVR products tend to be high, primarily due to hard drive failures. Some manufacturers such as Sony and LG tried, but they got out of the market after they bled red.
The cable providers spend tens of millions of dollars on R&D development (and associated licensing fees) for the software used in their boxes. They can afford to do this because they spread the cost over hundreds of thousands of units. A consumer electronics manufacturer can't afford to spend millions to develop robust and featured software for a box if they are only going to sell 20,000 units with free, unlimited service and support.
If you just want to purchase your own box, you may be able to do that soon. FCC mandate (also known as the "integration ban") prohibits most cable systems from purchasing new STBs and DVRs with integrated encryption systems (CAS) after July. Beginning in July, most cable companies must purchase new STBs and DVRs using CableCard. These boxes aren't the traditional unidirectional CableCard products we've seen in the past; these CableCard products feature full bidirectional receivers with OCAP. They support every feature -- the guide, VOD, PPV, SDV -- of current boxes, but they use a CableCard to decrypt channels.
There are six models in the new Motorola DCH Series of digital cable set-tops:
Motorola DCH100 - An all-digital, standard-definition (SD) interactive cable set-top with an integrated MoCA home networking interface.
Motorola DCH200 - A standard-definition interactive digital cable set-top with support for analog services.
Motorola DCH3200 - An all-digital, high-definition interactive cable set-top.
Motorola DCH6200 - A high-definition interactive digital cable set-top with support for analog services.
Motorola DCH3416 - An all-digital, high-definition digital video recorder and interactive cable set-top with a standard 160 GB hard drive for storage of content.
Motorola DCH6416 - A high-definition digital video recorder and interactive digital cable set-top with support for analog services and a standard 160 GB hard drive for storage of content.
LG, Scientific Atlanta, Samsung, and others have demonstrated similar products.
With OCAP and associated middleware, these boxes will download the guide software from your cable company. This allows the customer to purchase their own box via retail, and they'll get the same software and services
as the box from the cable company. You may or may not avoid the monthly DVR fee, depending on the cable company; remember, the DVR software is still developed and paid for by your cable company.
You can forget about buying your own box with more featured software, especially if you want one without a monthly fee, for the reasons stated above.