Originally Posted by Blue
I looked at the Tivos but became concerned about the digital switching issue. I'm not an expert on it, but as I undestood what I read, some cable companies are beginning to use (or are considering using in the future) a new digital switching system to save bandwidth. It involves moving the location of certain channels around to match demand to available bandwidth, and if your set top box or dvr isn't capable of communicating with the cable system's central computers, it won't be able to find the channels as they shift around. Again, based only on what I read (not any expertise or knowledge of my own), Tivo does not currently have the technology to function properly with a cable system that uses the digital switching, although Tivo apparently says they are working on a fix. I was concerned that I might be buying a $600 paperweight (up front box cost plus 3 year pre-paid service) if I were to buy a TivoHD only to have it unable to locate channels on my cable system.
As I understand it, TIVO is in the process of setting up a USB attachment that will give the SIII (and HD) the functionality it needs for 2 way support of SDV.
Nutshell for SDV - it's a VOD like system for "live" streams - in VOD the box requests a title from the menu and a series of Video servers will stream it out and your box is sent to a hidden virtual channel where you can view the stream.
In SDV, the idea is to save bandwidth by showing only the channels being watched.... Let's take the MLB channels for example - most of thier traffic occurs between 7pm and 1am. Then you also have a large number of kids channels that get most of their traffic from 6am to 7pm. We'd put them all in a switched system and the box would tell the system - Hey I want to watch "Noggin" - so the system sees where it's streaming Noggin out at and switched you there. But if no one is watching "Noggin" that space might be used for someone watching the Cubs play baseball... If one person is streaming the channel, all the system has to do is add all future requests to the same channel...
The big thing is it needs that 2 way ability and the program that will talk back and forth to tell us what you are watching and when you are no longer watching it.
The good news is Charter isn't jumping on this wildly... Time Warner seems to be the front runner on this technology (and I imagine we are all to happy to let them swim out and find all the sharks before we jump in the ocean...)
So the TIVO shouldn't become a $600 paperweight just because of SDV - unless of course you're one of the unlucky souls in a system that is diving into that shark infested water... Hopefully by the time SDV becomes widespread TIVO will have the equipment in place to work with it.