CableCARD and Switched Digital Video

I’ve just received an invite to a conference call this Friday with a couple of senior folks from the National Cable Television Association to discuss the impact of SDV on CableCARD technology. I’ve been asked this question a lot in comments lately, so I’m looking forward to this one. Anyone have any specific questions they want me to ask?

7 thoughts on “CableCARD and Switched Digital Video

  1. What shoek says, and if you could specifically ask about existing Tivo devices, that would be helpful. The cable companies claim they are working with Tivo, and I have to say, my experience so far has been pretty smooth. I have two CableCards in my Tivo S3 and survived the Houston Road Runner/Comcast switch relatively painlessly. My cards have lost authorization twice in the few years since I’ve had them, but both times I was able to call the standard support line and get escalated to someone who could turn them back on (front line support doesn’t always know how to handle them, but they have people around who do).

    My issue is this: I’d like to get PayPerView and OnDemand from Comcast via my Tivo, and would pay for the service, but their current foot dragging and the limited one way CableCard fiasco means they’ve driven me to Amazon Unbox service. That is their own fault (the cable industry, not Comcast specifically), but I refuse to live with the crappy Comcast box, especially after I’ve used a Tivo Series 3 for so long.

    Specific questions:

    1) What upgrade options exist for existing DVR technology when SDV arrives?
    2) Will new CableCards be required?
    3) Will a remote operating system update potentially solve the issue? Or will it require hardware changes?
    4) Will existing customers be notified/warned when SDV rolls out for potential issues they may see?

    I don’t personally care as much about TVs–I know you can do firmware updates in some cases, and it would suck if you were in that situation, but hardware can be a lot harder thing to change. Having a box to insulate the TV from such backend changes is unfortunately a lot safer way to go.

  2. The key question for Media Center would be if the upcoming Tuning Resolver will work with DCTs, but I’m not expecting the NCTA to have any authority of that. Still, I’d that might be something to bring up.

  3. I hope they didn’t tell you that the conference would be from 12:00 to 3:00 on Friday if they did don’t show up until next Thursday.

  4. What Chris said: will the tuning resolver work with a Vista Media Center computer with dual CableCard tuners?

  5. YES! YES! YES!

    Ask when the dongle for the TiVo Series 3 systems will be available.

    Time Warner has added about 15 new HD channels that I’m not able to enjoy. They’ve also moved about 20 other channels to SDV so they’re no longer available in my living room.

    Stephen explained it well although I can live without OnDemand and PayPerView. Missing all these channels however is unacceptable.



  6. Yep, a few other folks I know have invites too. There’s a lot of inaccurate info out there, but there’s also a lot of spin. I’m not sure if I’ll ask anything during the presentation, not sure there’s a point. I have a pretty good idea of the situation, how we got here, and where we’re going.

    Chris L, If you want in I’ll be happy to forward you the info. It’ll be up to MS, ATI, etc to update their software to support the resolver.

    Bill P, there’s going to be more than one vendor producing the tuning resolver dongle. I expect we’ll see at least three later this year. At least one is confirmed to be on display at the cable show in a few weeks, but there could be more…

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