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FiOS to begin enforcing CableCard restrictions

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hopefully they don't lock down too many non-premium channels.
Quote:
Despite years of predictions about the sky falling one day, only now have a few FiOS customers received letters notifying them that the party's over. What we mean is that starting July 31st, you won't be able to just slide an activated CableCARD into another box, like you can now.

The real bad news however, is that some premium content will now be flagged Copy Once. Although the FCC has always permitted the use of this flag on most content, Verizon has never used it. Essentially that meant that you could record anything you wanted on your TiVo or Windows Media Center PC and copy those programs any which way you'd like.

Engadget
post #2 of 50
Pretty sure HBO and the likes didn't appreciate this much so in order for Verizon to continue to carry their content they had to make the change.

On Charter, most but not all, channels outside the Premiums are copy freely which is nice.
post #3 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Pretty sure HBO and the likes didn't appreciate this much so in order for Verizon to continue to carry their content they had to make the change.
On Charter, most but not all, channels outside the Premiums are copy freely which is nice.

One more nail in the coffin.

Putting aside those who want to go entirely internet and drop cable/sattelite, not too long ago a big reason to have an HTPC was to allow that flexibility to record what you wanted and watch it where you wanted to watch it.

But look what's happened with set top boxes. With my DirecTV, I now have a total of nine DVR tuners in four set top boxes, several terrabytes of storage, and the ability to watch any recorded show not only on any set top box in the house, but on pcs connected to my home network. Even a year or so ago none of that technology existed, and none of that is being threatened by new DRM restrictions. To the contrary, they're encouraging it. On the other hand, they're making it so that with an HTPC, you can only watch what you record on the particular system on which you recorded it.

Plus, with things like HBOGo, and DirecTV anywhere, they provide the ability to watch programming anywhere you have an internet connection, on nearly any kind of device, and they get the ability to sell you on demand programming as well.

The vast majority of people didn't want to mess with HTPCs in the first place. It's a lot simpler to simply get the equipment from DirecTV and use it. Indeed, the "whole home" setup works really well. So that leaves an HTPC as an archival recorder using a capture card like a Colossus (at least for the time being - let's face it, eventually the FCC is going to close the analog hole. It's not a question of if, it's only a matter of when.), and as a streaming media player. But even on that last item, a Roku, or even the apps built right into their TV, is an easier solution for most people. And, of course, the HTPC remains the best "media server" for ripped movies, at least until the studios figure out an effective way to prevent it. But for an increasing number of people that may also become irrelevant as new modes of selling protected movie downloads and streaming movies become more commonplace.

Microsoft also made it pretty clear in their announcements a week or so ago that they see the XBox - not the pc - as the centerpiece of their home media solution.

The way these things are headed, those of us who use htpcs may become even more niche and irrelevant to the market than we are today. I wouldn't be looking for any mainstream players to be directing many R&D dollars in our direction.
post #4 of 50
Copy once only means you can only watch it on the (HT)PC where it is recorded or an extender of that computer. I hardly see that as a nail in the coffin. Copy freely basically allows people to copy wtv's to another computer or USB drive doesn't it? I don't think that HBO and the like support that. SilconDust already has an iPad extender app for on the go viewing.
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Copy once only means you can only watch it on the (HT)PC where it is recorded or an extender of that computer. I hardly see that as a nail in the coffin. Copy freely basically allows people to copy wtv's to another computer or USB drive doesn't it? I don't think that HBO and the like support that. SilconDust already has an iPad extender app for on the go viewing.

I know what copy once means. But there is no such restriction on ANY content with the whole home set top boxes. With DirecTV I can record anything on any DVR and watch it on any set top box or even any pc in the house. I can watch part of it on one TV and pick it up at that point on any other TV. A lot more convenient, wouldn't you say?

A year from now there probably won't be such a thing as "copy freely".
post #6 of 50
And all those set top boxes in all those rooms cost a lot of money on a monthly basis, especially if they are DVR's. Cable cards pay for themselves in the first year, especially if you are running that kind of setup. It's a shame most Americans aren't tech savvy enough to setup a simple cable card DVR system or else cable companies would be forced to lower their insane prices on their DVR's because of competition. They basically have a monopoly due to the ignorance of the American public.
post #7 of 50
How much is the whole home DVR per month? I know with Uverse it was $7 per box plus a $10 HD Tech fee if you had U200 or below (no premium channels). With Charter it is $5 per STB plus $20 for "DVR Service" up to 4 STB's and their whole home DVR is on hold.

That said, this isn't too much of an issue right now because I have 2 HDTV's in my house and both of them are connected to PC's -- One to my HTPC and the other to my son's i7 gaming rig. Both with WMC and the HDHR Prime. Most Charter content is copy freely but recordings can be made on either PC.
post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I know what copy once means. But there is no such restriction on ANY content with the whole home set top boxes. With DirecTV I can record anything on any DVR and watch it on any set top box or even any pc in the house. I can watch part of it on one TV and pick it up at that point on any other TV. A lot more convenient, wouldn't you say?
A year from now there probably won't be such a thing as "copy freely".

I can do it today on my WMC with 3 Xbox 360s. I don't see your point. Your recordings on your DVRs are still copy protected. You can't make a copy out of it. You can only watch from it on the approved box or app.
post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post

I can do it today on my WMC with 3 Xbox 360s. I don't see your point. Your recordings on your DVRs are still copy protected. You can't make a copy out of it. You can only watch from it on the approved box or app.

Sure they're protected. That's why the studios don't object and indeed encourage that approach. But you can watch it on ANY DirecTV STB or ANY pc on the home network. With copy once you can watch it on the single pc on which it was recorded or on XBox 360s. I don't know too many people who have (or want) Xboxes all over the house. And that still doesn't let you watch it on other pcs in the house, such as a laptop out on the back deck. And it will work with any new RVU compatible television without any STB. I assume RVU compatibilty is going to become increasingly common.

Meanwhile, WMC is dying, and the ability to watch WMC recorded content is being further limited. I'm sure, though, that Microsoft would love your solution. "Just buy a case of XBoxes and hook them up all over the house."

Surpisingly, STBs are becoming MORE flexible than HTPCs in where you can watch protected content, while more content is becoming protected.
post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDiesel14 View Post

And all those set top boxes in all those rooms cost a lot of money on a monthly basis, especially if they are DVR's. Cable cards pay for themselves in the first year, especially if you are running that kind of setup. It's a shame most Americans aren't tech savvy enough to setup a simple cable card DVR system or else cable companies would be forced to lower their insane prices on their DVR's because of competition. They basically have a monopoly due to the ignorance of the American public.

Look were things were to where they are now. Even one year ago you could say that the Cablecard gave you more tuners and the ability to watch your recordings more places. Well now you can get a STB with 5 (DirecTV) or 6 (Dish) tuners, and the ability to watch from anywhere is being enhanced on the STB while its being restricted on the htpc.

I understand the STB is more expensive. That's why I said to put that issue aside fpr the moment. But if your cablecard solution comes down to only being able to watch what you record on a single TV, that's not going to be a very attractive alternative to being able to watch anything anywhere in your house. At that point the cablecard is a cheaper but inferior solution.

Some people prioritize the cost issue. Others prioritize the ablity to view the content easily and conveniently. Eliminating cable or saving money was never my motivation for having an HTPC. I suspect I'm not alone. For others that's the primary motivation. For them, enhanced STBs are irrelevant, at least until the htpc become so restricted it no longer meets their wants or needs.

My only point is that the assumption that an HTPC provides greater or more flexible viewing options may not be true, if not today, then soon.
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Sure they're protected. That's why the studios don't object and indeed encourage that approach. But you can watch it on ANY DirecTV STB or ANY pc on the home network. With copy once you can watch it on the single pc on which it was recorded or on XBox 360s. I don't know too many people who have (or want) Xboxes all over the house. And that still doesn't let you watch it on other pcs in the house, such as a laptop out on the back deck. And it will work with any new RVU compatible television without any STB. I assume RVU compatibilty is going to become increasingly common.
Meanwhile, WMC is dying, and the ability to watch WMC recorded content is being further limited. I'm sure, though, that Microsoft would love your solution. "Just buy a case of XBoxes and hook them up all over the house."
Surpisingly, STBs are becoming MORE flexible than HTPCs in where you can watch protected content, while more content is becoming protected.

I use Xbox 360s exclusively on all my TVs. It's a better setup, IMO and cheaper too. With the upcoming release of Ceton Echo extender, there will be new alternatives to Xbox 360s. PCs are too cumbsom to be used on TVs for watching TV duties.

The decision to not allow PCs act as extender is made by Microsoft long time ago. There is nothing we can do about it.
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post

With the upcoming release of Ceton Echo extender, there will be new alternatives to Xbox 360.

Ah yes. The much ballyhooed Ceton Echo. It's just over the horizon and will cure all ills. I'll believe it when I see it.

And how is that going to work with MS no longer certifying new devices, and with WMC dying off?

Not going to do much good to have an "extender" that is incapable of playing protected content when everything will soon be protected.

I wouldn't count on the media moguls authorizing any new pc devices or software for viewing their content.

And BTW, how much market is there really for extenders? Big companies like Linksys abandoned this market long ago because there simply wasn't any demand. We've just been lucky that the XBox has survived because it's a wildly popular gaming system. If it was just an extender, it would have been discontinued long long ago.
post #13 of 50
Isn't WinCE licenced for use on many STB's these days?

HMM, It all comes into focus now.
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Isn't WinCE licenced for use on many STB's these days?
HMM, It all comes into focus now.

Don't know, but the DirecTV DVRs are entirely Linux based.
post #15 of 50
My friend is interested in the idea of a WMC cablecard DVR. He is moving into a new place at the end of the summer and is having me build him a simple box with three priorities:

1) DVR
2) web browser/ESPN3
3) music library for stereo playback

When I was going over cost and options, the one thing that stuck him as expensive was the cost of the tuner. At approximately $450 for this system he won't be recovering the cost of it as a DVR for some time, but that's not his only reason for wanting it.

However he does have the choice of Comcast or Verizon and being able to screw with recordings to watch on his Macbook was a reason he was planning on going Verizon.
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Ah yes. The much ballyhooed Ceton Echo. It's just over the horizon and will cure all ills. I'll believe it when I see it.
And how is that going to work with MS no longer certifying new devices, and with WMC dying off?
Not going to do much good to have an "extender" that is incapable of playing protected content when everything will soon be protected.
I wouldn't count on the media moguls authorizing any new pc devices or software for viewing their content.

First of all, it is already posted somewhere that current Win7 is going to be supported by Microsoft until 2020. Win8 will be supported way past that. So your existing extenders will still work past 2020. Are you really going to use these parts forever, for your grand children?!

Second of all, the certification has nothing to do with this at all. It simply means new tuners devices are not going to be tested/certified for Win8. It doesn't mean current tuner devices will suddenly stop working on your existing system or Win8.

Lastly, your PCs can't actually watch live TVs from your DTV DVRs. Only playback recordings. Xbox 360s or other WMC extenders let you watch live TVs as well as recordings.
post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post

First of all, it is already posted somewhere that current Win7 is going to be supported by Microsoft until 2020. Win8 will be supported way past that. So your existing extenders will still work past 2020. Are you really going to use these parts forever, for your grand children?!
Second of all, the certification has nothing to do with this at all. It simply means new tuners devices are not going to be tested/certified for Win8. It doesn't mean current tuner devices will suddenly stop working on your existing system or Win8.
Lastly, your PCs can't actually watch live TVs from your DTV DVRs. Only playback recordings. Xbox 360s or other WMC extenders let you watch live TVs as well as recordings.

What the no certifications means is that there will be no new approved devices for use with WMC. Meaning no new extenders. When Ceton decides it's losing money on Echos and stops making them (assuming it ever actually starts making them) those wanting extenders will be fighting on ebay for a finite pool of increasing aged devices.

And all it requires to watch something live on my PC is to pop up an app on my phone, hit record on the program I want to watch, and immediately start watching it on my pc. You're right, I can only watch "recordings" on a pc, but that includes what was recorded 5 seconds ago.
post #18 of 50
I don't think mkv's are "approved" but they are still able to be utilized.. and quite well I might add.

There's software that's not "approved" to make mkv's and play them back. They work just fine.

Any computer periphial can be used that isn't "approved" it just doesn't have drivers and such from the windows disc or update downloads which may not be such a bad idea. The manufacturer will be responsible for testing it for compatability.

I really don't think it is as much an issue.

The change from copy freely to copy once is at the bequest of the likes of HBO and their kin I'm pretty sure of it. Sure it may limit the whole home DVR concept but some of us don't need or even want that.

Just my 2 cents.
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I don't think mkv's are "approved" but they are still able to be utilized.. and quite well I might add.
There's software that's not "approved" to make mkv's and play them back. They work just fine.
Any computer periphial can be used that isn't "approved" it just doesn't have drivers and such from the windows disc or update downloads which may not be such a bad idea. The manufacturer will be responsible for testing it for compatability.
I really don't think it is as much an issue.
The change from copy freely to copy once is at the bequest of the likes of HBO and their kin I'm pretty sure of it. Sure it may limit the whole home DVR concept but some of us don't need or even want that.
Just my 2 cents.

No uncertified device will maintain an HDCP protected path, as I understand it. So it can't play protected content. Sure the "copy once" is being done at the demand of the content providers, but remember, some of these cable companies like Comcast are themselves also content providers.

Maybe you don't care about being able to view content anywhere else other than the location where it was recorded, but a lot of people do. As I said, it's just another area where the STB is now becoming more flexible and capable than the htpc.
post #20 of 50
The Digital Content Protection LLC provides the HDCP certification, not Microsoft, so this can be done w/o Microsoft at all.
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

The Digital Content Protection LLC provides the HDCP certification, not Microsoft, so this can be done w/o Microsoft at all.

Not so sure about that. As I understand it, WMC is the only approved software for playing protected content on a pc with a cablecard, and for an extender or any other hardware to work with WMC, it has to be certified by Microsoft who has said they're not certifying anything any more.
post #22 of 50
Currently yes, but anybody can get their software approved through DCP and/or CableLabs by paying the fee and having it tested. MS is not the only company that is capable of this and is not the certifying body. Who knows, maybe Ceton is working that angle with the Echo right now? A complete software solution for the HTPC and extender approved by these agencis.
post #23 of 50
I was just thinking this:

People keep talking about using the Echo with their HTPC. The Ceton 'Q' piece is going run Win7 embedded. Ceton doesn't have to make the Echo work with your HTPC. They only need to have it work with their 'Q' device.

"Ceton "Echo" allows you to stream media from a Ceton "Q" entertainment gateway or a Windows® 7-based PC to both high-definition and standard-definition TV sets over your home network."

If the latter stop working they've still got the former.
post #24 of 50
I've tried just about every extender available except the D-Link model and didn't care for any of them. They worked fine for sharing recorded TV and watching live programs, but suck for anything else. My 8-month old X-Box 360 is sitting on the shelf collecting dust (so much for Microsoft's grand vision:rolleyes:).

The only thing about the new FIOS cablecard restrictions is that I will no longer be able to watch recorded programs via an HTPC that it wasn't recorded on. It's not that big of a deal for me since I do 99.9% of my TV watching on my primary HTPC anyway. I've got several remote HTPCs, but they're mainly used for watching live TV and movies streamed from my server.

The Ceton Q and Echo look interesting in that they'll provide a whole house solution at what one would expect to be a reasonable price. They should also use less energy than a complete HTPC so that's a huge plus. If they can stream MKVs from ripped BD discs then I might have to consider them as replacements for my auxiliary HTPCs.
post #25 of 50
BTW, I'm not getting rid of my htpc. I've just been pointing out that in the last few months, STBs have become far more competitive with htpcs in terms of capabilties, and that they're going in opposite directions. Just as STBs are rolling out with 5 and 6 tuners and whole-house networked capabilites, cable companies are starting to flag more and more content and MS is burying WMC. For the large number of people who want an easy, more capable solution, htpcs are becoming more difficult and more limited.

The next wave will be the GoogleTV and other boxes that provide easier streaming solutions.
post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

What the no certifications means is that there will be no new approved devices for use with WMC. Meaning no new extenders. When Ceton decides it's losing money on Echos and stops making them (assuming it ever actually starts making them) those wanting extenders will be fighting on ebay for a finite pool of increasing aged devices.

I wouldn't go around posting supposition as fact. Just because they stopped certifying tuners etc. for 8MC doesn't mean they won't certify extenders. This is still something that has not been determined but i would doubt that this would affect the echo or any other 3rd party that was interested in creating an extender.

Additionally the reason extenders were dead to begin with is that they were all overpriced and underpowered to begin with. On launch they all cost more than the xbox 360 AND provided a worse experience. The only thing they had going for them was power usage / noise.

Now that ceton is presumably (according to their comments) bringing forth a competent extender that is more capable/cheaper than the 360 i wouldn't be surprised if they sold a fair amount.
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

No uncertified device will maintain an HDCP protected path, as I understand it. So it can't play protected content. Sure the "copy once" is being done at the demand of the content providers, but remember, some of these cable companies like Comcast are themselves also content providers.
Maybe you don't care about being able to view content anywhere else other than the location where it was recorded, but a lot of people do. As I said, it's just another area where the STB is now becoming more flexible and capable than the htpc.

Sorry to say that most of your understandings are way off the base. First of all, protected HDCP path involves on WMC video decoders, video card and TV/monitors. Tuners are not even in the picture. HDCP certification is from HDCP organization. CableLabs already certified WMC7/8 and its PlayReady DRM. Tuner certification is from CableLabs, not Microsoft. I'm not really sure how much Microsoft ceritification means in this TV recording business. At most, Microsoft could refuse to test and certify new tuner drivers but I seriously doubt that. Everybody reads too much into that Win8 information.
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceton 
Coming in 2012FeaturesRequirementsTech SpecsCeton "Echo"
The Ceton "Echo" is a next-generation Media Center Extender and the first to support Internet video services and Internet browsing, along with live and recorded high-definition TV services and access to your personal digital media libraries. Ceton "Echo" allows you to stream media from a Ceton "Q" entertainment gateway or a Windows® 7-based PC to both high-definition and standard-definition TV sets over your home network. Together with a Ceton "Q" entertainment gateway, or a Windows 7 media center PC with an InfiniTV digital cable tuner, Ceton Echo brings TV, DVR and digital entertainment services and your personal media libraries to any room in your home, while eliminating cable set-top boxes and their accompanying lease fees and DVR "taxes".

The Ultimate Media Center Companion
Extend your Ceton "Q" or Windows Media Center experience to other TVs in the home. Watch live and recorded HDTV channels on any TV set without needing a cable box.
DVR on Every TV Set
When connected to a Ceton "Q" or a Media Center PC with a TV tuner, the Ceton "Echo" lets you watch live and recorded TV shows on any TV set. All your DVR recordings are available on any television. You can even pause a show in one room and continue watching in another.

http://cetoncorp.com/products/echo/
I read "or" as either one or the other or both, not or it'll only work with the Q if we can't get it to work with WMC.
post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post

Sorry to say that most of your understandings are way off the base. First of all, protected HDCP path involves on WMC video decoders, video card and TV/monitors. Tuners are not even in the picture. HDCP certification is from HDCP organization. CableLabs already certified WMC7/8 and its PlayReady DRM. Tuner certification is from CableLabs, not Microsoft. I'm not really sure how much Microsoft ceritification means in this TV recording business. At most, Microsoft could refuse to test and certify new tuner drivers but I seriously doubt that. Everybody reads too much into that Win8 information.

Ok, so who needs to certify a WMC extender? Because as it now stands, that's the only way to view protected content on other than the original pc, correct? That's Microsoft, not Cablelabs, right? What does CableLabs have to do with extenders?

\We're not talking about the tuner, we're talking about the ability to play content anywhere other than the original pc. So certification of the tuner has nothing to do with that. It's certification of the extender and the software that matters, right?

And I understand WMC is already certified. But Microsoft's support for that is obviously coming to an end. So then what? If Microsoft drops support for WMC and doesn't certify any new WMC extenders, than how are you going to watch recordings anywhere other than on the pc on which the recording was originally made?
post #30 of 50
Anyone can submit for review to CableLabs software that runs on Windows that locks down the content to the machine and an extender. It doesn't have to be Microsoft.
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