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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apparently SONY will be rolling out their new hdtv cable boxes for CAblevision in Sept. for a limited HDTV test audience in Long Island. TO get the specs of this box goto http://206.19.98.8/platform.htm... My question is since this box has only firewire who exactly will be able to use it? 99.9% of the hdtv sets dont even firewire???


--MIKE
 

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I can't get the link to work.


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Marque Dailey
 

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In my current newsletter ( www.hdtvinsider.com )I write about what happens to those that do not have firewire. I expect to have some answers to other questions around 9/17 in relation to a story I am working on. I will communicate that information either through my newsletter and/or the forum since there are a lot of Cablevisionaries here.


On very significant piece of news on the above link is that this Sony box only does NTSC/BTSC ( I do not know what BTSC is I never heard of it)and QAM 64/256. NO 8-VSB. Does this mean the end of 8-VSB HD cablecasts? I have posed the question and hope to have the answer around the above date.

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary Merson:
On very significant piece of news on the above link is that this Sony box only does NTSC/BTSC ( I do not know what BTSC is I never heard of it)and QAM 64/256. NO 8-VSB. Does this mean the end of 8-VSB HD cablecasts? I have posed the question and hope to have the answer around the above date.
64/256 QAM are cable data modulation schemes--they are used in OpenCable for channel tuning, as all video in an OpenCable network is carried as digital data; BTSC is a European stereo television encoding standard. Isn't 8 VSB a scheme for transmitting ATSC data through the air to be received by an antenna? It only gets involved with DBS because there was no accepted standard for encoding ATSC onto cable when the current HDTV monitors were built, so the HD signal couldn't be tuned through the "cable-band" channels. DISH Network's STB, at least (I'm not sure how HD DirectTV works), remodulates its incoming HD signals into 8 VSB to be received by a tuner directly hooked to the modulator. I should guess that the few online cable HDTV systems are using their own proprietary cable modulation for HD: 8 VSB would have nothing to do with it.


I'm assuming that Sony's box is using OpenCable-compatible digital video tuning though they don't say so explicitly. They do say that they use CableLab's other DOCSIS (now called simply "CableModem") standard in the box.


-- Mike Scott


[This message has been edited by michaeltscott (edited 08-31-2001).]
 

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mike,


I believe you missed the point of my question. Cablevision currently has no HDTV cable set top box, they do send three HD channels over the cable via 8VSB so they can be received by Cablevision customers with HDTV STBs. Since the Sony Box they will be renting does not accept 8-VSB signals, it makes one wonder what will occur to the existing HDTV Cablecasts. TWC-NYC changed HBO-HD's modulation from 8-VSB to 256 QAM disappointing a lot of subscribers. In addition ,I have read on the forum that they are having an audio issue with the SA box and have temporarily stopped offering it.


[This message has been edited by Gary Merson (edited 08-31-2001).]
 

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It looks like the only down-rezzing it can do is to s-video, 480i. This should make it a pleasure to watch HD-PBS and other possible non-copy protected and must-carry broadcasts on our existing HDTV's. Wait until the FCC and Congress consider the ramifications of that to the HD transition.


This one should go over like a lead filled trial balloon.


- Tom


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Quote:
Originally posted by trbarry:
It looks like the only down-rezzing it can do is to s-video, 480i. This should make it a pleasure to watch HD-PBS and other possible non-copy protected and must-carry broadcasts on our existing HDTV's. Wait until the FCC and Congress consider the ramifications of that to the HD transition.


This one should go over like a lead filled trial balloon.


- Tom

I don't think this box "receives HDTV" the specs on the box just state "Dual IEEE-1394 TA compliant support HDTV pass through with DTCP (5C), EIA-775". To me that reads like it is just acting like some form of repeater or bridge device. I would bet that this thing cannot downrez or do anything with HDTV in 480i format via composite or svideo outputs like our current DBS stbs' do.


Regards,


Brian

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Gary,


Who does cablevision plan on testing this new sony box on? Almost no one has firewire yet? Are they gonna loan them firewire enabled hdtv's??


--MIKE
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Gary,


Who does cablevision plan on testing this new sony box on? Almost no one has firewire yet? Are they gonna loan them firewire enabled hdtv's??


--MIKE
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary Merson:
I believe you missed the point of my question. Cablevision currently has no HDTV cable set top box, they do send three HD channels over the cable via 8VSB so they can be received by Cablevision customers with HDTV STBs. Since the Sony Box they will be renting does not accept 8-VSB signals, it makes one wonder what will occur to the existing HDTV Cablecasts. TWC-NYC changed HBO-HD's modulation from 8-VSB to 256 QAM disappointing a lot of subscribers. In addition ,I have read on the forum that they are having an audio issue with the SA box and have temporarily stopped offering it.
I may be wrong, but I don't think that they actually "send" any HD to the boxes modulated in 8 VSB, it being an air modulation standard probably not suited for long-haul cable transmission. They may be remodulating whatever they're sending the HD as into 8 VSB so that it can be tuned by users with ATSC tuners, ala DISH Network. But this is a technical nit--I get your meaning; this box can't output 8 VSB for an ATSC tuner, whereas the boxes Cablevision was using can. Moreover, this box has no component HD outputs, so there's no apparent means of offering their current HD customers service, even if some of it would be down-res'd (by the DTCP Adopter's Agreement, movie-channel movies and PPV only). Seems kind of a short-sighted design on Sony's part--you'd think that they'd want to support legacy equipment to some extent--they manufactured and sold some.


It would be possible and legal for a signed DTCP Adopter to manufacture an adapter box which would accept and decrypt DTCP, decompress the video and move it out over analog component video outputs, so long as it performed image constraint, where indicated, on protected HD content. Once again, by the wording of the Adopter's Agreement, only premium channel movies and PPV would end up getting image constrained. Any rebroadcast HD OTA programming and any HD cable network programming with commercial interruptions would not. But what a pricey little idiot box that would be! It'd take at least one of Sony's DTCP-protected i.LINK interface chips (or something like it), an MPEG-2 decoder chip, an embedded CPU to control it (though not a very fast or powerful one) and some buffer memory, plus all the connectors, wiring and whatever it costs to try to make the decoded copy-protected data physically tamper-proof. Call it $200, retail, at a minimum. Maybe it'd be cheaper in quantity, but how many HD customers could Cablevision have at this time?


Actually, if you added a DVI/HDCP output, adding about $20 to the manufacturing costs, such a box could be quite useful. Even without the DVI output (depending upon how you feel about that hot potato), it could be useful--you could use it to watch HD recordings of non-copy-protected material (again, everything except premium channel movies and PPV) out of Mitsubishi's upcoming 1394/DTCP-only VCR. (And you could even watch tapings of "Copy One Generation" premium channel movies over your analog HD component jacks, just image constrained. PPV most probably will not be recordable).


-- Mike Scott


[This message has been edited by michaeltscott (edited 08-31-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by btmoore:
I don't think this box "receives HDTV" the specs on the box just state "Dual IEEE-1394 TA compliant support HDTV pass through with DTCP (5C), EIA-775". To me that reads like it is just acting like some form of repeater or bridge device. I would bet that this thing cannot downrez or do anything with HDTV in 480i format via composite or svideo outputs like our current DBS stbs' do.
This Sony press release about the Cablevision deal from late 1999 (they were supposed to roll these out in the Summer of 2000) states the following:
Quote:
The advanced digital set-top boxes will incorporate the i.LINKTM digital interface (IEEE-1394) and the Digital Transmission Content Protection ("5C DTCP") method. The i.LINKTM digital interface with 5C DTCP method will allow for the secure transmission of high definition television (HDTV) signals through the set-top boxes to digital television sets.
So, unless they've changed something in the meantime, this box can do HDTV. In any case, 1394/DTCP connection have almost no use in the absence of HD video (it has provisions for protecting Super Audio CD and DVD Audio, but I don't think that the purpose of the connectors on this box). No one slaps useless hardware into their products just for grins and giggles.


-- Mike Scott




[This message has been edited by michaeltscott (edited 08-31-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott:
Quote:
Originally posted by btmoore:
I don't think this box "receives HDTV" the specs on the box just state "Dual IEEE-1394 TA compliant support HDTV pass through with DTCP (5C), EIA-775". To me that reads like it is just acting like some form of repeater or bridge device. I would bet that this thing cannot downrez or do anything with HDTV in 480i format via composite or svideo outputs like our current DBS stbs' do.
This Sony press release about the Cablevision deal from late 1999 (they were supposed to roll these out in the Summer of 2000) states the following:
Quote:
The advanced digital set-top boxes will incorporate the i.LINKTM digital interface (IEEE-1394) and the Digital Transmission Content Protection ("5C DTCP") method. The i.LINKTM digital interface with 5C DTCP method will allow for the secure transmission of high definition television (HDTV) signals through the set-top boxes to digital television sets.
So, unless they've changed something in the meantime, this box can do HDTV. In any case, 1394/DTCP connection have almost no use in the absence of HD video (it has provisions for protecting Super Audio CD and DVD Audio, but I don't think that the purpose of the connectors on this box). No one slaps useless hardware into their products just for grins and giggles.


-- Mike Scott


31-2001).]
I don't think I said that they placed useless hardware into the box for grins and giggles. What was saying is that this box appears to lack the proper tuning and decoding hardware to do decode a HDTV transmission in any modulation or format. From what it looks like it the box could tune to an assigned frequency carrying a 5c datastream and bridge that through its 1394/5c port to a a device which could record or display the payload in a 5C complient method. It looks like HDTV is a secondary concern at best when it comes to this piece of equipment. This box appears to be aimed at the convergence space to provide interactive SDTV services, DOCSIS & PacketCable compliant convergent broadband products, etc. It has been a while since I have visited CableLabs but this is the kind of equipment that we were developing OSS tools and process to support.


Regards,


Brian
 

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Quote:
BTSC is a European stereo television encoding standard
BTSC is a official name for MTS which is a US stereo television standard.


There is no such thing in Europe, they either use Nicam or A2.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CKNA:



BTSC is a official name for MTS which is a US stereo television standard.


There is no such thing in Europe, they either use Nicam or A2.
You are correct. I am sorry for that bit of misinformation--I misunderstood something that I read when researching the topic.


-- Mike Scott

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by btmoore:
I don't think I said that they placed useless hardware into the box for grins and giggles. What was saying is that this box appears to lack the proper tuning and decoding hardware to do decode a HDTV transmission in any modulation or format. From what it looks like it the box could tune to an assigned frequency carrying a 5c datastream and bridge that through its 1394/5c port to a a device which could record or display the payload in a 5C complient method. It looks like HDTV is a secondary concern at best when it comes to this piece of equipment. This box appears to be aimed at the convergence space to provide interactive SDTV services, DOCSIS & PacketCable compliant convergent broadband products, etc. It has been a while since I have visited CableLabs but this is the kind of equipment that we were developing OSS tools and process to support.
You're right--I just found this EETimes articles linked to from Sony's site for developers of applications of this cable box. It contains the following statement:
Quote:
The current-generation set-top uses ATI’s 3-D graphics controller, C-Cube Microsystems’ MPEG-2 audio/video decoder and Sony IEEE-1394 silicon that provides digital transmission content protection. The set-top is not equipped to decode digital high-definition TV signals, but the IEEE-1394 silicon will be used for “passing through HDTV signals†to another set-top or HDTV set, according to Aoki.
"Digital-cable" (digitally encoded NTSC) comes as low-bitrate MPEG-2 TS. Perhaps these Sony boxes can handle "tuning" a high-bandwidth HD MPEG-2 TS stream, but lacks the ability to decode it. However, it can encrypt DTCP-encrypt it and send it downstream to a device that can handle it, like one of the televisions that Sony's launching this Fall (starting with the already-shipping KD-34XBR2). This is similar to Mitsubishi's HD D-VHS VCR, which, though in possession of MPEG-2 compressed HD video, is incapable of uncompressing it. Sony (currently, at least) and Mitsubishi seem to favor a model where HD decompression capability resides in the display.


-- Mike Scott


[This message has been edited by michaeltscott (edited 09-10-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mikexny:
MichaelScott,


I am confused-- so can the new sony box do hdtv on a firewire set?



--MIKE
What I'm suggesting is that the box can receive a composite cable stream containing some HD channels, separate out the HD MPEG-2 TS stream for one of those channels when requested and encrypt it (if called for by copy-protection flags in it) and move it downstream over its 1394 ports--Sony's been selling 1394 interface chips which can do the encryption/decryption part of DTCP in hardware for the past three years. It could then be recorded by, say, Mitsubishi's HS-HD2000U HD D-VHS VCR or displayed by a Sony 1394/DTCP-port equiped set (or a Mitsubishi 5C compliant set, whenever they appear). It cannot decompress the HD video stream itself or in any way display one of those channels out of any of its own video connections.


-- Mike Scott


[This message has been edited by michaeltscott (edited 09-10-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am still confused. Please give me a non-technical description. Assuming i have the new sony firewire set and the sony cable box, can i watch hdtv via cable?


--MIKE
 
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