TiVo visited with the FCC last week, lamenting the current state of CableCARD and Section 629. And, to reiterate their points, submitted the above letter. While we can’t speak to TiVo’s survey methodology, they report diminished CableCARD support with increased operator-implemented roadblocks – presumably intended to discourage third party set-top usage… such as TiVo and perhaps Samsung, should they stick with it. Some cited examples:
- 36 percent of MSO agents surveyed in Dec. 2013 said that self-installation of CableCARDs was not allowed, up from 25 percent in Feb. 2013. (Note that self-installation of CableCARDs is required by 47 C.F.R. § 76.1205(b)(1).)
- For those retail customers that self-install their CableCARDs, 24 percent would be charged a fee for self-installation, with fees increasing since EchoStar, including a fee as high as $39.95 imposed by two operators.
- 36 percent of MSO agents surveyed in Dec. 2013 offer their own operator’s DVR on an unsolicited basis to customers requesting CableCARDs for retail devices,up from 26 percent in Feb. 2013
Beyond CableCARD, TiVo wants any successor “to assure the availability of bidirectional video signals to retail devices” put into play… before CableCARD is retired. And, what’s up with all these FCC waivers – why even bother enacting policies in place if anyone can be excused with a polite letter?
Of course, the cable industry most assuredly would present an alternate perspective. They’d probably argue that they do indeed successfully support CableCARD … as TiVo’s existing, tho small, retail customer base attests to. Further, they might suggest these policies were put in place during a very different era and the spirit of agnostic, retail cable content availability is being met via the likes iPad, Xbox, and Roku apps.