Archives For CableCARD

arris-slingbox-ms4000

The previously unannounced Arris Slingbox that I had stumbled upon at the Cable Show is now ready for its closeup:

Arris Group and Sling Media are introducing a new media streaming device that empowers service providers to offer live and recorded content for a comprehensive multiscreen experience for their subscribers…welcome to TV anywhere. The ARRIS MS4000 (Media Streamer 4000) is powered by Sling Media technology, and will be available to all service providers deploying the ARRIS Whole Home Solution.

Product highlights:

  • Streaming to mobile devices (tablet, smartphone, PC/Mac)
  • In-home streaming via Wi-Fi
  • Support for remote streaming over cellular and WiFi networks
  • Support for live TV and access to DVR content
  • Up to 4 simultaneous HD streams
  • Fully integrated solution incorporating the MOXI UI, MOXI Mobile Application (iOS and Android), and ARRIS Services Portal

tivo-video-portal

Thanks to TiVo’s recent site refresh, a few interesting items have been surfaced, including an Operator-Branded Web Portal PDF. Of course, we’ve long known TiVo has been prepping this cable company “TV Everywhere” offering and even shot some video of it in action (embedded below) at the Cable Show. And given that particular development site appears to have been redirected to a RCN URL, we can’t help but wonder if launch is imminent. From TiVo’s pitch, the web portal offers:

  • What to Watch (recommended shows)
  • Search across TV, operator VOD and OTT content – and get integrated results on what you’re looking for
  • Schedule and manage recordings and ongoing
  • Season Pass recordings on your TiVo DVR even away from home
  • Grid Guide with up to 14 days of programming

Continue Reading…

cablecard-pixelation

Considering a brand-spanking-new TiVo Roamio Plus or Pro DVR? You might want to hold off a few months. Cable providers who haven’t provided updated firmware for their CableCARDs essentially limit 6-tuner DVRs to 4 streams or pixelate video beyond recognition. Out of the box, beyond the obvious viewing issues, customers in this situation may also end up with a certain percent of unusable recordings and will be unable to fully flex their TiVo Mini whole-home muscles. Yet, for those who find themselves in this predicament, TiVo has provided a method to limit the number of tuners in use until the issue can be corrected. At the moment, the dysfunctional 4/6 CableCARDs appear limited to certain Comcast regions running Cisco/Scientific Atlanta gear with the MSO anticipating upgrade completion in October. Further, FiOS TV subscribers with pixelated content and Motorola cards numbered ######-002 should contact Verizon for replacement.

motorola-cablecard

More detail from the support note quoted below and, if nothing else, this should provide good fodder for TiVo’s FCC CableCARD complaint. Continue Reading…

The Integration Ban: A Rule Past its Prime

TiVo, media center PC makers alarmed by CableCard-cutting bill

Comcast & TiVo Hit Pause

Dave Zatz —  July 22, 2013

tivo-xfinity

Perhaps the biggest drawback to TiVo ownership is the inability to access our cable provider’s On Demand services. Yet TiVo and Comcast attempted to rectify the situation to their mutual benefit by bringing Xfinity On Demand to Premiere hardware, as a followup to their initial (and not very good) set-top collaboration. However, after leisurely rolling out the service to 21 markets, the companies have hit the pause button. According to Comcast’s Ted Hodgins:

We work with TiVo to jointly determine which markets are scheduled to get the TiVo with XFINITY On Demand as the best return on our joint investment. […] Unfortunately, we currently don’t have plans for any additional markets this year while both Comcast and TiVo evaluate the performance and results of the current markets where this added feature has been made available.

(Thanks Sam!)

A World Without CableCARD

Dave Zatz —  July 17, 2013

cablecard

The CEA, TiVo and Public Knowledge continue to hammer the FCC, due to the government agency’s bungled Charter waiver, and appeal to the body that “its regulations be reinstated.” Some choice quotes:

By misreading the law, the FCC took away your ability to buy alternative set-top boxes like Tivo and Smart TVs. We think that’s wrong. (Public Knowledge)

The Bureau’s Order, like the Charter Request, deals in assumptions and hopes rather than in facts. The Commission cannot let stand this nullification of law and regulation, without process or public comment. (CEA)

By vacating these rules, the Court created an unhealthy amount of uncertainty in the industry — uncertainty that harms innovation and competition as well as settled consumer expectations. (TiVo)

Due to a variety of factors we won’t rehash, beyond TiVo, CableCARD and retail cable set-top boxes have never really taken off. And even TiVo’s market penetration is suspect. I reached out to the NCTA and was informed there are about 600,000 CableCARDs currently deployed (plus Verizon FiOS). So that’d include TiVo hardware, Windows Media Center, and any legacy smart TVs that support the tech. It also encompasses households with multiple cards, as the TiVo Series 3 requires, and to serve folks with multiple devices — meaning there’s something less than 600k active CableCARD homes. Now, that’s not necessarily a number to scoff at. But it pales in comparison to tens of millions pay TV subscribers and burdens cable with additional infrastructure and support costs – including 40 million+ set-tops they themselves provide with CableCARDs.

We rarely shed tears for big cable and have been TiVo proponents for many years, yet it’s an interesting exercise to imagine a post-CableCARD era where Section 629 is met by iPad, Roku, Xbox, and Apple TV. Discuss.