Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Agreement May End the Cable Box

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the but-you'll-have-to-buy-yet-another-new-tv dept.

Television 216

esocid clues us to news that Sony and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association have come to agreement on the way forward for two-way TV without set-top boxes. The actual agreement was not made public, pending review by other members of the Consumer Electronics Association, and as a result the coverage of the agreement is uniformly pretty incoherent. The background is that the NCTA and the CEA submitted competing proposals to the FCC on how to handle two-way, interactive TV services. None of the articles I turned up made clear what the future of the CableCard is to be. This was an interim solution to allow competition in set-top box manufacture, but its adoption has been plagued with problems. "Sony and the cable companies — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision, and Bright House Networks — agreed to adopt: the Java-based 'tru2way' solution powered by CableLabs; new streamlined technology licenses; and new ways for all those involved to cooperate in the development of tru2way technology at CableLabs."

cancel ×

216 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568221)

Like this would really happen. Do they expect people to buy new TVs so they simply don't have to use a cable box? People go with the cheaper option.

Re:Yeah right (4, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568543)

Yeah, just like people don't use HDMI...oh wait more and more do.

Cable boxes won't go away, but newer TV's and third party DVR's will finally be able to do two way communication with cable service. Nobody expects everyone to switch overnight but as more TV's supporting this standard are produced, fewer people will need cable boxes.

Let me know if you need to have anything else simple explained to you.

Re:Yeah right (1)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568973)

The cheaper option rarely includes a box pulling 60W of power (even when idle or in standby) running 24/7/365, especially when it's time to decide on a new TV.

Species traitors (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568227)

new streamlined technology licenses;

Engineer: Faster, cheaper, more reliable, more efficient.

Businessman: Slightly less annoying, but still entirely arbitrary, restrictions on how you can what you already paid for.

Next time you wonder "what the hell has gone wrong us as a species", ask yourself which of those two run the world.

Re:Species traitors (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568321)

Engineer: Because I can.

Businessman: Because people want it.

Just in case you were wondering why businessmen run the world.

Re:Species traitors (3, Insightful)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568971)

Just in case you were wondering why businessmen run the world.

Bullshit...

They run it due to greed, period.

Ppl are upset and raise hell over it, ppl find Dilbert
hilarious because they see relational irony in it.

The only ppl that want that are the corrupt paid off power
brokers in DC that got elected on false promises, and
by screwing the American ppl.

Ask the "people" in India if they wanted the Union Carbide Disaster.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster [wikipedia.org]

Engineering things well costs more, and all the DRM crap is
just so they can extend control, and maximize profit.

If things stay as they are we will never see a Star Trek like
civilization because we are too wrapped up in making money
and actually engineering things to NOT last so they can sell more.

The disposable lifestyle is on a collision course with
sustainability, and humans are not going to like the outcome.

Government leaders in the US have meetings voicing huge concerns
over the monster landfills, and running out of places to dump
all the garbage.

If we do not start engineering EVERYTHING for sustainability,
we are going to have some serious issues down the road.

I know ppl working in the oilfield who are paid to research old
wells so they can go back and try to drill deeper even though
the vast majority of the time they find NOTHING.

You don't do that unless there are serious problems looming.

In the next few years you will see the price of food double
or triple, and anything made of plastic will as well.

"Suits" are just like the carpetbaggers that took advantage
of ppl after the civil war, and they have no soul, and don't
care who is screwed over in their infernal quest for share
price, and revenue.

Ppl like this are more and more prevalent in business:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Milken [wikipedia.org]

It's time to fix this pump and dump shell game of billion
dollar white collar crime for all eternity.

The price of oil isn't just $135/barrel, add on the cost of
Team America - World Police, and these so called businessman
are in power due to "The Good Old Boy Network"

Re:Species traitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23569631)

Team America - World Police

Fuck YEAH!

Re:Species traitors (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23569807)

is it so goddamned hard not to type out "people" ?

Re:Species traitors (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569007)

Engineer : Because I can

Businessman : Because I can ... make money from it

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Species traitors (5, Insightful)

notabaggins (1099403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569015)

Engineer: Because I can.

Businessman: Because people want it.

Just in case you were wondering why businessmen run the world.
Yeah. I remember all the protests in the streets of people marching to demand DRM...

Re:Species traitors (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569175)

Businessman: Our market research indicates that...

There, I fixed it for you.

Re:Species traitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23569379)

Nope. Businessmen succeed by giving people what they actually want (sometimes after making them want the businessmen want to sell.) I know this is a strange concept to grasp when people buy DRM-infested media and useless gadgets, but that disconnect is exactly why engineers do not run the world. People don't buy a DVD because it is CSS encrypted, they buy it because they want it despite it being CSS encrypted. Engineers build things they themselves want. Businessmen have things built that other people want.

Re:Species traitors (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568351)

Next time you wonder "what the hell has gone wrong us as a species", ask yourself which of those two run the world.
Businessmen still can't undo the Internet, broadband, P2P or torrents. Sure they can do a lot to cripple the competition but ultimately there's very few superior technologies they're able to actually bury.

Lovely... (0, Offtopic)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568233)

A streaming webcam built into every TV. What could possibly go wrong?
At least now, I really do have a use for all that duct tape I bought a few years back.

Re:Lovely... (5, Informative)

Looce (1062620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568255)

Not that sort of two-way TV. This story discusses a sort of two-way TV where there can be commands sent by the viewer, for interactive applications or choosing a pay-per-view program for instance.

In before Big Brother references! :)

Re:Lovely... (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568315)

Well, you have to get the two-way tech adopted by most before you can mandate it, then the web-cams can be added for Big Brother goodness later.

I guess I just don't see what the point of two-way TV is in the first place, but then I haven't had cable for over a decade now. If I don't want PPV, what else would 2-way TV give me that a simple digital recording of a TV show doesn't?

I'll be annoyed when my analog antenna stops working, but hopefully by then a digital antenna + tuner will be $20.

Re:Lovely... (4, Interesting)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568471)

I don't know about the US, but over here the BBC make extensive use of it.

From any BBC channel you can get information such as the latest news, weather, and tv schedules by browsing a text based menu.

They also use it for large events such as The Olympics, and music festivals to allow you to choose what you want to be watching at the moment.

During Wimbledon for example you were able to pick which match you wanted to watch out of three or four different options.

Re:Lovely... (1)

Brieeyebarr (938678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568593)

We use it in the US too, but for advertising and classified ads.

Re:Lovely... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568655)

That's not two way.. it's strictly one way - you select what stream you want and there are standards so that all digital STB/TVs can use the same data.

Two way would involve a back channel for eg. voting on 'who wants to be a bad singer XVIII'.

Re:Lovely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568711)

None of that requires two-way communication. It's all broadcast, just with a fancy way of choosing what you see. That's a technical limitation of the medium: Even with a return channel, the downstream is still a broadcast medium and everybody gets the same data. The bandwidth is big enough to simultaneously provide a few alternatives, but the number of choices is very limited. Outside of buying keys for pay-per-view, the return channel is mostly going to be used for votes, the kind of interactivity which is implemented by SMS and call-in services today.

Re:Lovely... (1)

Wonda (457426) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568733)

Which works just fine without 2 way traffic, that's just your settop box choosing a different video stream in the channel and accessing extra data in the stream (just like good old ceefax, you're NOT communicating with some device at the BBC).

Re:Lovely... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568815)

That's called teletext and it's been around for 30+ years. It's only one way.

Re:Lovely... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568997)

It's a lot more sophisticated than teletext - it's a whole application language... probably the nearest analogy would be a dvd VOB file, but with live video streams instead of fixed mpeg channels.

Re:Lovely... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569137)

Here in the USA we HAD teletex for a while but the tv makers and tv broadcasters did not want to bother with it because they cant spam it hard with advertising.

In the USA if you cant annoy the viewer or consumer with a advertisement every 6 seconds then they dont want to put it in place.

Re:Lovely... (1)

AiY (175830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569331)

It is two-way. In Europe, they've had a standard called MHP that's been around for a long time. In fact, that application is probably an ETV (enhanced TV) application, where the actual code is (to view the menu, handle the choices) is embedded in the broadcast stream. ETV isn't big in North America yet.

The 'tru2way' standard was called 'OCAP' and is based on MHP.

Re:Lovely... (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569419)

It's not two-way, but during the college basketball tournament, our local CBS station ran a subchannel (32.2) in a similar manner, so they could broadcast more than one game at once.

Re:Lovely... (3, Interesting)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568495)

How about on-demand services? It could be a fine way to counter the PVR market if you could watch any show, any time, but not be able to skip commercials.

It would be amusing to see all the people who claim they don't skip commercials on their Tivo come screaming out of the closet.

Re:Lovely... (1)

TeamSPAM (166583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569505)

I'm a TiVo user and I'll tell you now that I skip a lot of commercials. I know advertisers want us to see the ad so it makes an impressions. In the first commercial break it may be good/funny. For the second commercial break its a bit repetitive, and by the third it's just annoying. There is only so many times that I'm willing to watch the propaganda.

Re:Lovely... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568679)

Funny you mention Big Brother. Wasn't there a bit in 1984 when Winston Smith isn't participating in the morning exercise and the two-way TV chastised him? No, I'm not saying that would be the case with this, but it was the first thought I had.

Re:Lovely... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568425)

Not that sort of two-way TV.

Yet

In before Big Brother references! :)

But not before the slippery slope references. :~j

Re:Lovely... (2, Funny)

AdamPee (1243018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568429)

I shudder to think what would constitute a hand sign to get to the playboy channel.

Re:Lovely... (1)

BrotherBeal (1100283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569307)

Bunny ears?

Re:Lovely... (2, Funny)

FilterMapReduce (1296509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568463)

Not that sort of two-way TV. This story discusses a sort of two-way TV where there can be commands sent by the viewer, for interactive applications or choosing a pay-per-view program for instance.

In before Big Brother references! :)
That's a shame. TVs with built-in cameras would have allowed us to use the term "Orwellian" with some actual legitimacy for a change. ;)

Re:Lovely... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568835)

Yeah, if the engineers were in charge of it, it might be good, but it's not even fully baked yet and they are hyping it. In my experience, that means that 'tru2way' technology will be a steaming pile of shit. In fact, it makes you wonder what they were thinking is 2way, but not 'tru' 2way cable services?

Engineers didn't name this, surely not. I would think that if this will be all that it should, it would be named 'interactive' or some term along those lines, not simply 'tru2way' ... Perhaps I'm wrong and it would have to be named X-tv to really be a SPOS.

Either way, if the hype is already flowing, it can't be good. It's not quite like the build up to the war in Iraq, but the mass effect is. Lots of PR to get people to buy into it, then off you go to rob them blind.

I'm certain that Sony wants in to make sure that they sell brand new sets to people that have a perfectly good hi-resolution television. With the recession coming, they'll need some reason for you to buy a television because digital tv won't be it.

Re:Lovely... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569231)

In my experience, that means that 'tru2way' technology will be a steaming pile of shit.
In my experience, that means that 'tru2way' technology will be a sRteaming pile of shit.

There, I fixed it for you.

Re:Lovely... (2, Funny)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569431)

In my experience, that means that 'tru2way' technology will be a sRteaming pile of shit.
There, I fixed it for you.


In my experience, that means that 'tru2way' technology will be a stReaming pile of shit.
There, I fixed it for you.

Re:Lovely... (2, Informative)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568863)

And tracking what non-pay channels you watch.

Re:Lovely... (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568357)

At last! An *accurate* 1984 comparison...

Set-top already gone (5, Funny)

atamagabakkaomae (1241604) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568261)

without set-top boxes

Set-top boxes have been gone for ages..
flat-screen TVs are just too thin for that

Re:Set-top already gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568295)

You need to work on your balance, grasshopper.

Re:Set-top already gone (1)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568577)

I thought you were going to elude to the fact of free OTA HD programming and our wonderful BT overlords, Mininova.

Silly me.

Re:Set-top already gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568897)

Maybe he did but his point escaped you?

That's not the only reason they have cable boxes. (4, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568267)

A lot of cable companies rely on the ignorance of the average consumer to put cable boxes out there. Cable boxes are a way of insuring higher rates. If they have to have a box to watch TV, then the company can charge per box. There's more than one cable company that doesn't even have analog TV going over their cable anymore with lame excuses to the customer sighting imaginary technical reasons such as "you can't do regular analog cable once you deploy digital" or "The FCC says we have to do digital now" (that's broadcast, not cable). A lot of them refuse to do QAM, etc.... on the same basis so you have to pay for the proprietary box and lock in.

A standard is good for consumers, not for cable companies.

Re:That's not the only reason they have cable boxe (5, Insightful)

jmnormand (941909) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568417)

I have a strange suspicion that a standard decided upon by Sony and the cable companies will be good for no one...

Re:That's not the only reason they have cable boxe (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568529)

Yes, the cable companies love to rip on consumers. I've got a Sony TV with a built-in OTA and cable tuners with a cable card slot. Both Comcast and Charter claimed they do not know what I am talking about when I ask for a card for my TV's tuner. Both services had install people who also claimed they didn't know what I was talking about even while showing them the slot on the back of the TV.

I find it hard to believe that three people (Comcast sent two monkeys to set up my last service, Charter sent one the year prior) who install cable for a living had no idea what a cable card is, not to mention not knowing TVs come with built-in tuners. It wasn't a huge deal, but I wanted to use the third tuner while both of the PVRs tuners were tied up recording things my roommate wanted and I wasn't interested in seeing.

Re:That's not the only reason they have cable boxe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568729)

You should send a complaint to the FCC.

Re:That's not the only reason they have cable boxe (1, Informative)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568611)

The reason cable providers are trying to offline analog (2-125) cable channels is very simple, bandwidth. In the space of one of those analog channels, we can push 6 SD digital channels and 2-3 HD channels down the pipe, It's a hell of a lot cheaper to the cable company to force the "cost" (a cable box/cablecard) for every connected device to the end user than to implement higher frequency plant or try switched digital video. It levels the playing field as well, Sat TV and most FTT* networks have terminating boxes per TV or a centralized terminating device and RF remotes (Next Level/Motorola's DSL based video product).

Back when I had cable... (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568775)

...I only subscribed to the basic package. My VCR had a cable tuner and all was well. But, that isn't two-way.

Frankly, I don't know if I like the idea of cable company knowing what channel I was watching at every moment of the day. From a marketers PoV, that sort of the data would be far more valuable than Neilson, as it would be a representation of the literally the entire viewing audience.

Re:That's not the only reason they have cable boxe (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569189)

That was then, now it's about control. I've been out of the Biz long enough and my NDA's have expired so I can talk about it.

Cable companies DESPERATELY want to force cable boxes on everyone for 3 main reasons.

1 - it allows them to cut their installer workforce by 2/3rd's. if you can leave the CATV connection to every home live and use cable boxes to disconnect service you save way more money and can increase profits and executive salaries.

2 - It allows demographic data collection. right now they pay Nielsen and Scarborough for Demo data. this is expensive and old data (last month, Last quarter). By forcing the use of cable boxes I can gather and monitor demographic data hour by hour and minute by minute. I can tell advertisers that 65,000 people in the #23 market saw their ad. This allows my sales people to pressure the customer (not you, people that BUY ad's are the customer you are the product) to buy more.

3 - Content protection. By going cable box only it eliminates these damned Tivo's and other PVR's thjat allow commercial skip. Fast Forward is OK because you still view the commercial and the company's name get's imprinted. with more and more content companies buying voting shares in cable companies they also want to protect their assets from you damned consumers.

THOSE are the only reason they want the cable box forced upon everyone and in that order. They will save a CRAPLOAD by getting rid of a huge chunk of their workforce. and then being able to generate their own demographic data instead of buying it is next in line.

every bit of it is about making them more money and none of it is about you.

Re:That's not the only reason they have cable boxe (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569599)

"Marketing" is killing entertainment in this country (perhaps the world). I'm seriously at a loss to try to think of something that someone hasn't tried to attach marketing to. The earth [cherryflava.com] the sky [flickr.com] , the water [coastad.com] , the very air we breath [xings.us] .

I turn on the TV, I'm assaulted by ads, I browse the web, I'm assaulted by ads, I drive my car, I have at least two advertisements in my field of view at all times, I sit at home with my doors locked they call me on the phone or knock on the door. If I pay to watch a movie without commercials I see product placement that goes beyond just happenstance within the story.

I'm so inundated with marketing I only watch 1 TV show now, use an IRiver instead of the radio, and I visit a select few websites on a regular bases. None of those website attempts to inflict the ever sophisticated back door pop-ups or the ever annoying flash hanging over the article tactic. (thought they may link to them)

Managed Internet (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568281)

It looks like those of you who wanted a brand-new Internet might just get it.

Who needs TVs these days (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568283)

You guys actually *watch* TV when you have the internet??

Re:Who needs TVs these days (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569497)

I watch TV ***on*** the internet, you insensitive clod!

Does it run linux? (3, Interesting)

FlatWhatson (802600) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568343)

Seriously though... this opencable platform [java.net] has some undeniable hacking potential. Replace a MythTV box with an opencable compatible media center application... in Java! Somebody should do up some perl bindings...

Re:Does it run linux? (3, Interesting)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568683)

The short answer: No.

The long answer: Devices that accept CableCards and their bi-directional successor must be certified/keyed by CableLabs, the cable industry's R&D house. Part of that certification process requires that the entire device chain meets their security and DRM requirements; it's very similar to how BluRay players require all devices in a digital connection chain to be HDCP compliant. Anyhow, a homebrew application like MythTV will never be certified because someone could just program MythTV to ignore the DRM, and I don't think I need to explain CableLabs' problem with this. Without certification you don't have a key, and without a key the next device in chain won't pass you the data.

Now this doesn't entirely preclude this from being used with Linux, someone like Motorola for example could build a set-top box using Linux that would run all of this, but that's as close to a "yes" answer as you'd get. Cable devices will need to be a Trusted Platform to be certified.

Re:Does it run linux? (1)

jone1941 (516270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569559)

Actually this is a slightly different solution. The java based system is exactly that, java based. This is a new technology designed to replace CableCards. While any encryption tech really pisses me off I have to agree with the grandparent that a software based system running in Java is a slightly better jumping off point than a CableCard. This is a system that incorporates "Downloadable Security" rather than embedded security in the card itself which seems like it has more potential to be hacked (just guessing).

Re:Does it run linux? (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569605)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Access_Content_System
A trusted platform that's unhackable? [wikipedia.org] I think I've heard that somewhere else.

Re:Does it run linux? (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569741)

Cable devices will need to be a Trusted Platform to be certified.
A trusted platform that's unhackable? I think I heard that somewhere else. [wikipedia.org]
end sarcasm
Time for another cup of coffee.

Congrats. A new monopoly is born... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568347)

Thanks to regulation and corporate agreements CableLabs now gets to be the new "standard". Translation: latest pseudo monopoly courtesy of the cable companies. American capitalism hard at work.

Solution? (-1, Troll)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568349)

"...the Java-based 'tru2way' solution"

Java -- lol. More of a problem than a solution.

Re:Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568499)

You said "Java" TOO FAST. You need to sssslllllooooowwwwww ddddoooowwwwnnnn.....

lack of attention may end life as we knew it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568393)

conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is WINding DOWn now. see you on the other side of it? let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Re:lack of attention may end life as we knew it (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568703)

It takes a /. user to put cable company conspiracies on par with our war troubles.

Then folks wonder why facebook has a higher average IQ according to that 60 second test the other day. :)

Time to dump Motorola stock (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568413)

That is, if you actually have any. Motorola, once great, has been sent to oblivion by management with no clue of their business, just Wall Street stuff. Cable boxes were about the last thing they made.

what a sad story, from greatness to ruin.

CableCard not disappearing.... (5, Informative)

Stormwave0 (799614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568445)

The history of the CableCard is long and confusing. Particularly because the cable companies don't want you to adopt it. Then they lose their cable box renting fee. 2truway is just the next step in the CableCard evolution.

Originally, CableCards only had one directional transmission capability. This prevented services such as on demand, pay per view, and guide data. At least, that's what the cable companies wanted you to think. In actuality, the hardware (developed by independent companies) for the cards supported 2-way transmissions. The hardware complied with the CableCard 2.0 specification but the software for each card did not. The cable companies didn't want manufacturers to use their own software in the boxes/televisions/DVRs that would be using the cable cards. No, the cable companies wanted them to use OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP). Of course this isn't an open platform at all.

Picture your Tivo now, with its great recording software. Compare that to the crappy software your cable company uses on their DVR. Well, the OCAP part of the CableCard 2.0 standard requires all hardware be running the cable company's software. In other words, your Tivo would have to be running Comcast/Cox/whoever's horrid interface instead of the standard one. At least, that's how I understand it.

Consumer electronics companies didn't like this at all. So they fought and protested, allowing the CableCard standard in general to slowly die. That's why most new TVs now don't even have card slots.

CableLabs eventually realized that this just wouldn't work. So, they decided "hey, let's just rename OCAP to something cooler." Thus, Tru2way was born from the remnants of OCAP, a subset of the CableCard 2.0 spec. The cable companies also lightened up on the licensing restrictions for the software. Now, the Tru2way standard is getting much more support. Why? I'm really not sure. All I know is that more television companies are saying they'll be adding support for it (and thus cablecards) in their upcoming television models.

I think that's a fairly accurate summary of the history of CableCard and tru2way. No, this will not replace CableCards. Actually, this is just another step in the process towards adopting them.


Frankly, my only concern is that I'm allowed to use my open source MythTV box with a CableCard in order to record shows off encrypted QAM channels like Discovery HD. Currently, I cannot do this due to the ridiculous certified media center PC and Vista requirement. If anyone knows a way around this, please tell me. The analog cutoff is looming and I don't want to lose my recording ability.

Re:CableCard not disappearing.... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568491)

Frankly, my only concern is that I'm allowed to use my open source MythTV box with a CableCard in order to record shows off encrypted QAM channels like Discovery HD. Currently, I cannot do this due to the ridiculous certified media center PC and Vista requirement. If anyone knows a way around this, please tell me. The analog cutoff is looming and I don't want to lose my recording ability.
We can only hope that this will eventually become a reality (though I have very low expectations on the matter). Fortunately, most cable companies appear to be planning to maintain analog cable for at least a few years after the broadcast DTV transition, as long as HD isn't that important to you.

Re:CableCard not disappearing.... (1)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569587)

Frankly, my only concern is that I'm allowed to use my open source MythTV box with a CableCard in order to record shows off encrypted QAM channels like Discovery HD. Currently, I cannot do this due to the ridiculous certified media center PC and Vista requirement. If anyone knows a way around this, please tell me. The analog cutoff is looming and I don't want to lose my recording ability.
We can only hope that this will eventually become a reality (though I have very low expectations on the matter). Fortunately, most cable companies appear to be planning to maintain analog cable for at least a few years after the broadcast DTV transition, as long as HD isn't that important to you.
This will NEVER happen...not in the non-DRM-crippled world anyway, and I'm not just being cynical either. I'm not a lawyer, but it certainly appears that it would totally violate the CHILA (CableCARD Host Licensing Agreement):

http://www.opencable.com/downloads/CHILA.pdf [opencable.com]

Check this out from page 26:

2. Controlled Content Paths. Content shall not be available on outputs other than those
specified in the Compliance Rules, and, within such Licensed Product, Controlled Content shall
not be present on any user accessible buses (as defined below) in non-encrypted, compressed
form. Similarly unencrypted Keys used to support any content encryption and/or decryption in
the Licensed Productâ(TM)s data shall not be present on any user accessible buses
Sounds pretty clear to me. All this crap makes me really happy with my three-HD-tuner OTA-only mythtv system (all for a whopping $20 a year for schedules direct)...anyone in a location where they can do the same should really vote with their checkbooks and just say no to all this...I've had no pay TV since 1989.

MOD PARENT UP (2, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568625)

The parent really could use a bump to the top of the conversation. The bit about OCAP/tru2way is the critical bit of information out of this announcement.

When Comcast wins, we all lose. This agreement signifies that the CEA has gone ahead and finally agreed to CableLabs terms; compliant devices will have to run the local cable company's Java middleware. This severely limits what 3rd party cable tuners can do, it will allow manufacturers to add functionality that doesn't relate directly to manipulating the signal (e.g. playing back movies from a file server) but it will prevent manufacturers from offering anything that involves the signal (no custom guides, no additional recording options, no custom interface, etc). Basically cable TV is now a Java application in hardware enforced authentication chain - your cable company will dictate what you get to watch and how. If they (or the networks they partner with) decide you can't keep a recorded program forever for example, then their middleware can be set to enforce that, and there's nothing you can do.

Crappy middleware for all, freedom (both to record and to innovate) for none!

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

devman (1163205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569103)

This makes me even more excited to see the coming fruits of the DirecTV/Microsoft partnership from CES last year. The dual satellite tuner for PCs. I hope DirecTV delivers the cable companies a swift kick in the arse.

Re:CableCard not disappearing.... (2, Informative)

tealwarrior (534667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569201)

Picture your Tivo now, with its great recording software. Compare that to the crappy software your cable company uses on their DVR. Well, the OCAP part of the CableCard 2.0 standard requires all hardware be running the cable company's software. In other words, your Tivo would have to be running Comcast/Cox/whoever's horrid interface instead of the standard one. At least, that's how I understand it.

... I think that's a fairly accurate summary of the history of CableCard and tru2way. No, this will not replace CableCards. Actually, this is just another step in the process towards adopting them.

You summary is mostly accurate (and much more so than most other comments).

The Tivo software that Comcast has rolled out in Boston is actually built on the OCAP stack so you won't necessarily be stuck with the cable companies crappy interface. Reviews of that service have been mostly positive so it appears that the OCAP/tru2way platform is flexible enough to built a reasonable interface. This should also allow better integration with VOD service as well as switch digital which have been the problems for Tivo users so far.

One of the other motivations for this is now cable companies don't have to be the sole provider of set-top boxes. I'm don't think that slashdot readers get what it's like to deploy software to millions of homes on hardware that is made as cheap as it possibly could be. Diversity in this environment is a support nightmare and cable companies pay all the upfront costs for those boxes (hence their cheapness).

Tru2way should allow a lot more diversity in the market for people who want high-end boxes. If this is bundled with your several thousand dollar HD TV the impact is far less noticeable.

Re:CableCard not disappearing.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569229)

Frankly, my only concern is that I'm allowed to use my open source MythTV box with a CableCard in order to record shows off encrypted QAM channels like Discovery HD. Currently, I cannot do this due to the ridiculous certified media center PC and Vista requirement.

this will NEVER HAPPEN. They will never ever allow it.

Also the "analog cutoff" is for OTA only and you can get MythTV ATSC tuners right now. AS for Cable, your only choice forever and ever will be NTSC recordings of what the box records.

Welcome to the future of TV, it's a giant step backwards.

Re:CableCard not disappearing.... (1)

dreamt (14798) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569263)

Picture your Tivo now, with its great recording software. Compare that to the crappy software your cable company uses on their DVR. Well, the OCAP part of the CableCard 2.0 standard requires all hardware be running the cable company's software. In other words, your Tivo would have to be running Comcast/Cox/whoever's horrid interface instead of the standard one. At least, that's how I understand it.


Actually, I believe its pretty much the opposite. Although nobody quite knows whether Tivo's tru2way support will be on TivoHD (in cooperation with a Tuning Resolver/Tuning Adaptor -- I forget which is the new name and which is the old name), or some new hardware, tru2way will allow Tivo to have a box running Tivo software for standard Tivo interface, and then "hosting" software for OnDemand and other tru2way apps -- you still potentially get the bad interface for tru2way, but get Tivo for DVR. Tivo may even be able to front-end the OnDemand type stuff like the OnDemand interface that exists on ComcastTivo (which depending on who you listen to is already based on a subset of tru2way). The OnDemand interface on ComcastTivo is much better (IMO) than the standard interface.

Re:CableCard not disappearing.... (4, Insightful)

AiY (175830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569709)

Originally, CableCards only had one directional transmission capability. This prevented services such as on demand, pay per view, and guide data.

So, being a developer who writes software for tru2way stacks, let me point out where my understanding differs.

The purpose of the CableCard was to separate the specifics of how pay-per-view, subscription channels (like HBO) and encryption from the cable box. This would allow things, like the next HD TiVo box with the 2 CableCards, to handle subscription channels without a settop box. Guide data is not tied to the CableCard in any way.

The fact is, the cable industry moves slowly, and if you think about it, it has too because of the millions of installed devices. One can't simply swap out 10 million of anything with updated hardware without significant cost. So the first versions of the CableCard spec had 1-way (broadcast only) capabilities, while the next generation had 2-way and then 2-way with multiple simultaneous connections. Not all these versions were deployed, but there were specs, transitions testing and so on associated with each revision. Frankly I think that when the form-factor was chosen, the technology could not fit all the hardware for 2-way communication and multiple connections into the device, which caused the phased development.

The hardware complied with the CableCard 2.0 specification but the software for each card did not.
The CableCard is a hardware/software combination that provides a specified interface to the proprietary network encoding that the cable companies run on. The proprietary nature is not from the cable company, but the hardware vendors that provide that equipment. The CableCard provides a bridge, through the CableCard standard, to that network. This allows the TiVo to run all the TiVo software (just like the original boxes) but also directly access subscription channels if you've subscribed with them. The cable company then talks to the CableCard to control what channels are authorized and the TiVo talks to the CableCard to get a decrypted stream for authorized channels.

The cable companies didn't want manufacturers to use their own software in the boxes/televisions/DVRs that would be using the cable cards. No, the cable companies wanted them to use OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP). Of course this isn't an open platform at all.


Picture your Tivo now, with its great recording software. Compare that to the crappy software your cable company uses on their DVR. Well, the OCAP part of the CableCard 2.0 standard requires all hardware be running the cable company's software. In other words, your Tivo would have to be running Comcast/Cox/whoever's horrid interface instead of the standard one. At least, that's how I understand it.

This part is where you are way way off. The tru2way (OCAP) specification is a Java VM and library. That technology allows a company (like TiVo) to write their own Java applications that do what they like, look the way they want etc etc.

The difference from what TiVo (or the cable companies) do now and under tru2way, is that tru2way the hardware is replaced with a Java VM. That Java VM is then implemented by whatever hardware vendor (TV, TiVo box, set top, DVD player). The app runs in the Java VM. This way the cable application displays guide data, or TiVo's functionality, could be written in Java and run on any compliant hardware.

Something that gets left out is that tru2way requires CableCards to work, in the same way the TiVo box required CableCards to plug directly into a digital network.


Consumer electronics companies didn't like this at all. So they fought and protested, allowing the CableCard standard in general to slowly die. That's why most new TVs now don't even have card slots.

That's a little off-base. The CEA wants the same access it had when everyone had analog cable - that you could buy a TV and hook it and get everything the cable company had to offer. Digital cable added more services (like video-on-demand) that simple analog cable does not support.

CableCards did not enable TVs to provide all the services on cable, so the CEA wasn't satisfied with it. tru2way provides a means for a compliant TV to provide the full experience. So now we're back to the way things were in the 80s - you could have a cable box (settop) like my grandma did, or you could buy a TV with a cable hookup in the back.


I think that's a fairly accurate summary of the history of CableCard and tru2way. No, this will not replace CableCards. Actually, this is just another step in the process towards adopting them.

I totall agree with your assessment of CableCards. I like this idea because it means that I could buy a TV and then if I switch cable companies, I just call them up and they send me a new CableCard. The cable companies like that better too because the thing that has to be installed on the client side is small and may not even require a cable employee to install.


Frankly, my only concern is that I'm allowed to use my open source MythTV box with a CableCard in order to record shows off encrypted QAM channels like Discovery HD. Currently, I cannot do this due to the ridiculous certified media center PC and Vista requirement. If anyone knows a way around this, please tell me. The analog cutoff is looming and I don't want to lose my recording ability.

tru2way is a standard and I think that eventually more implementations will be floating around. However there is no reference implementation and the standard is being revised and amended at a furious pace. I've been involved with this software for several (I have trouble believing this myself) years, so I know what has been going on.

Your main concern in that last quote is a legitimate one. I do not know what will happen with CableCards and more open software in the short term. The only implementations I've read about are very restrictive. I suspect there may be more pressure on the cable industry to allow more open access to CableCards after the analog cut off, but that is pure speculation. I don't think there is information anywhere to indicate how that will turn out.

Re:CableCard not disappearing.... (1)

FritzTheCat1030 (758024) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569733)

Frankly, my only concern is that I'm allowed to use my open source MythTV box with a CableCard in order to record shows off encrypted QAM channels like Discovery HD. Currently, I cannot do this due to the ridiculous certified media center PC and Vista requirement. If anyone knows a way around this, please tell me. The analog cutoff is looming and I don't want to lose my recording ability.
You do realize you have a better chance of growing wings and learning to fly than the cable companies EVER agreeing to a system that will let you do that, don't you? DRM and open source don't go well together and the number one priority of the cable companies is their ability to control what you watch and how you watch it. DRM is FAR more important to them than the quality of their programming or the wants of their customers.

Gasp (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568489)

Two non-flamebait Java-related stories in a row? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THE REAL SLASHDOT??

No, but seriously. First Bluray wins and now this. There must be some wailing and gnashing of teeth going on at Redmond now.

Too Little Too Late (2, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568519)

I already canceled my cable tv service, and life is just so much better without it. (no, I did not switch to FiOS TV or to satellite either) TV sucks more than an MMO.

Java based? (1, Redundant)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568585)

While Java is good for many things, low cost embedded devices don't typically run Java. It's not the best language for real time systems.

Re:Java based? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568681)

Millions (Is it billions by now?) of mobile phones run Java.. so low cost devices most definately do.

Real time systems are too time critical for these high level languages that are around these days, but that's not exactly news and is unrelated to the article surely? Unless you're under the impression that 'interactive' TV services are somehow realtime?

Re:Java based? (2, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568823)

Lots of stuff runs Java just fine. Your DVD player runs Java. You should worry less about it being Java based and worry more about what the Java programmers have made it do at the behest of companies known to install rootkits, intercept selected packets, and in general spy on everyone.

Re:Java based? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23568861)

That's a load of rubbish. Java is used in embedded devices. It's used for Blu-ray, in cars and also consider these two recent announcements:

Sun Java Real-Time System Selected for Space Surveillance Radar

Java Technology Enables Real-Time Behavior And Throughput In Aeronautics

SANTA CLARA, CA April 14, 2008 Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA), today announced that ITT Corporation has selected the Sun Java Real-Time System 2.0 (Java RTS) and the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS) as the software development platform for its Eglin Control and Signal Processing Upgrade (CSPU) program.

Reuters Selects Sun Java Real-Time System Software

Seeking to leverage highly predictable Java platform for market-facing services
SANTA CLARA, CA February 4, 2008 Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA), today announced that a division of Reuters, PLC has selected the Sun Java Real-Time System to develop and deploy market-facing services.

A little Clarification needed: (3, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568667)

I do not have Digital Cable. The reason is I don't want to use a Digital cable box to get cable because I have a MythTV PVR and the cable box would ruin that. So I need to ask, is there a ATSC based Digital cable standard that my MythTV PVR can use to get the unencrypted Digital channels from the cable company? Is this availible as part of say, a VHS VCR?

Re:A little Clarification needed: (2, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568841)

You want an HDHomeRun [silicondust.com] , it will tune unencrypted (ClearQAM) channels and works with MythTV. Keep in mind however that cable companies usually encrypt all but the national networks, you won't get anything besides what you can already get with an antenna or infomercial/shopping networks that pay for their placement.

SDV is the problem, people... (4, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568695)

The problem is far worse than 99.9% of the public realizes yet. Why? SDV (Switched Digital Video) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_digital_video [wikipedia.org]

It is being rolled out even now, and creating chaos for users of cable cards, TiVo, Media Centers, Myth, etc. Why is this a nightmare? Because SDV is *INCOMPATIBLE* with *EVERYTHING* out there that doesn't belong to the cable company. I bought a new HD TiVo months ago and it worked great. I had access to everything I wanted, and in ways far superior to the Cox-rented "DVR". Then Cox suddenly, without warning, without TELLING anyone, without even training their support staff, rolled out SDV and all the new HD channels were suddenly unavailable to anyone that didn't have "approved" Cox-owned equipment.

I was FURIOUS! SDV totally defeats the ENTIRE purpose of cable cards. There was nothing TiVo could do about it. And I wasted countless hours on the phone with clueless "support" techs at Cox and with them coming to my house. Their only suggestion? Throw away all my equipment and rent the "wonderful" Cox "DVR". And after weeks of this nightmare, Cox suddenly stopped using SDV on the new HD channels and everything returned to normal. Why? Who knows? They wouldn't say. Perhaps a lot of people like me were complaining? (Every person using anything with a cable card was affected). Perhaps Cox even had problems with their own equipment.

But one thing is for sure, it is not going away... I am positive it will be back. Other cable companies are either experimenting with it now or have already ruined the experience of many of their customers by implementing it "permanently".

Supposedly TiVo is working with the cable companies to develop yet another "box" that would sit between the TiVo and the cable to address SDV. But how much will THAT cost? What other problems will it cause? And that does nothing at all for non-TiVo users.

The real kicker is that Cox didn't even really NEED to implement SDV, there was plenty of bandwidth to add all the new HD channels (as they have now proved). And if they were running low on bandwidth, why didn't they put only some of the obscure/(IMHO "stupid") channels on SDV, not things like History Channel, National Geographic, Discover Channel, etc?

My advice? Email your cable company's PR departments NOW and tell them you do not want SDV, especially in its current form. And if nothing else, they should act responsibly and tell all current AND FUTURE customers, EXACTLY what SDV means.

Re:SDV is the problem, people... (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568807)

There's nothing inherently evil about SDV. Going forward it is the future of cable systems, it saves a ton of bandwidth by not transmitting channels that no one is watching. Cable companies are already feeling the bandwidth pressure of HD and analog channels; they want to carry the former but can't afford to get rid of the latter (and the customer base it supplies) quite yet, which results in situations like Comcast stuffing 3 HD channels in to the space for 2. SDV is going to be rolled out as soon as the technology is ready, and probably before analog channels are widely discontinued at that.

The only problem right now is that there's no standard platform for the hardware yet, which is why you had problems. With this agreement, CE manufacturers and CableLabs should be able to get that sorted out. It's just like the first transition to digital cable, it'll suck but eventually it will get worked out as standards are agreed upon and devices manufactured.

Re:SDV is the problem, people... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569841)

But in a big area SDV will be able to save them that much if there are a lot of people with 2 or more HD tv's or they like use there DRV a lot.

Re:SDV is the problem, people... (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568879)

My advice? Email your cable company's PR departments NOW and tell them you do not want SDV, especially in its current form. And if nothing else, they should act responsibly and tell all current AND FUTURE customers, EXACTLY what SDV means.
That's not going to stop them. As you cited earlier in your post, only a minuscule number of people know about this. Not many people are going to care, also, as the vast majority of subscribers just use the DVR that comes with the service.

It's been shown these people are willing to piss off customers in droves, with little worry, as most people are so addicted to their Shark Week and cable modem-- they will likely be sticking around even after throwing a few fits with their support staff.

After many years of broadband in various areas, I've had five different cable modem services. Two of them were constantly in the dumper, for multiple years where there would be constant outages. Various visits at both locations were explained as "a problem with a bad line somewhere nearby, but there's no way to find it". I was also told I was the only customer reporting issues at both of these locations, but I know the outages were wide-spread as all the open wifis around both places would suddenly have the same problems getting outside connectivity.

Charter used to have hilariously bad routing, too. For about a year, I had one service that routed everything from Atlanta to NYC and back down to someplace like Birmingham to get anywhere. Even local datacenters where I was used to 8-10ms latency, but this was all boosted up to about 90ms at best. Not good for Counter-Strike! Multiple support requests, even calling their NOC and rattling some cages didn't get an answer.

Anyway, I'm just saying they don't give a shit. There's plenty of non-savvy folks out there that just want TV to make pretty colors and have lots of channels.

You can join the unibomber creepy guy club and just ditch cable. I get just about everything I cared to watch before in clear HD, including two PBS networks (one uses it's .3 signal to broadcast different programming) with decent stuff to watch sometimes. Don't get me wrong, most of PBS is shit. Ballroom dancing? Whew. At least it's free and without commercials.

Re:SDV is the problem, people... (1)

dreamt (14798) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569383)

I was FURIOUS! SDV totally defeats the ENTIRE purpose of cable cards. There was nothing TiVo could do about it. And I wasted countless hours on the phone with clueless "support" techs at Cox and with them coming to my house. Their only suggestion? Throw away all my equipment and rent the "wonderful" Cox "DVR". And after weeks of this nightmare, Cox suddenly stopped using SDV on the new HD channels and everything returned to normal. Why? Who knows? They wouldn't say. Perhaps a lot of people like me were complaining? (Every person using anything with a cable card was affected). Perhaps Cox even had problems with their own equipment.


This will be resolved in a few weeks/months by a Tuning Adaptor/Tuning Resolver -- I forget which is the new name and which is the old name. Its basically a device that will plug in to the USB port of the TivoHD coax port. It is still unknown, however, what pricing will be for them -- monthly rental, straight out purchase, etc.

SDV is not at all evil, it is actually quite necessary to get more channels out of existing bandwidth. Its just a few months too early!

Why is this good? (2, Insightful)

szquirrel (140575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568745)

Seriously, how is this a win? I've had a perfectly adequate TV for years and years now, and three or four different cable boxes in the same time frame. Each cable box has had better features that I wanted, but I've never felt the urge to replace my TV. What's so great about a system that would force me to replace BOTH devices when I only wanted to upgrade one? I mean, it would cost me a lot of money--

Ah. I get it now.

Re:Why is this good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23569705)

First intelligent answer. This is exactly why this has failed in the past and will now. It will be this at the store:
"So, let me get this straight. I can pay an extra $500 for this TV with tech. that will obsolete itself in 2 years while the display is good for 10+ years just so I can get rid of a settop? Ok, I hate the settop but come on!"

Some will choose to pay the premium but not many. The TV/display represents relatively slow moving and costly tech. while the settop is fast moving and cheaper. Makes no sense to marry the two for most people.

Here are some other facts:

- Cable companies don't care about settop rental fees. What they do care about is PVR fees and other services you can't get with just a Cablecard or no settop or TV with Java that will obsolete in short order when some new service comes out that it does not support.

- Cable companies hate paying for settops themselves and hence they tried to set some standards to get rid of it (hence Cable labs). Then reality set in when PVRs and higher tech settops came out and they realized, "Oh yeah, we can make more money with the settop than without. Ok, we love settops." They still dream about you paying for one yourself and hence these attempts b ut still it presents the problem of a settop that can keep up with new services.

This is the worse of the 2 options I believe (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568785)

Basically you had the cable companies pushing one option and the likes of TiVO pushing another option.

The TiVO proposal involved defining standard data formats for video on demand, pay per view, TV guide, that thing where they map multiple channels to one physical channel space on the cable etc. The head end would only send data to the device which would interpret it and display it using a UI designed by the device manufacturer.

The cable companies proposed (and seem to have gotten) that all boxes supporting the 2-way functionality implement a custom Java variant and that the programs and data for 2-way functionality are all delivered from the head end. The cable companies wanted this because A.They can then control the look and feel of the UI for the TV guide, video-on-demand, pay-per-view etc and B.They are able to use OCAP as a platform for all the interactive voting, interactive games and other stuff (which makes the cable companies even MORE money than they already get from subscription fees and advertising)

I don't want 2 way (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568795)

I don't want a cable company spying on me. I started being concerned with this around 1982 when I was a subscriber to QUBE [wikipedia.org] cable system. I had read about people claiming to be charged for movies they never watched. That actually happened to me once at an overnight hour I was asleep though they did delete the charges. Then I found that QUBE had managed to pull my credit report even though I had not given them an SSN. I was also getting 2 to 3 times as much junk mail and telemarketing phone calls compared to before and after I lived in Columbus.

So I guess I will have to use a reverse blocking amplifier to prevent any reverse signals from the TV that might expose what channels I'm choosing to watch. Of course that won't work in the future when cable systems go entirely to switched programming (but that would be an all new standard for TVs so it's still at least a while in the future).

Oh, and before anyone tries to tell me that they could be spying on my internet traffic right now, all they see are SSH sessions between my router and one of several servers I have access do. Dynamic (SOCKS based) port forwarding is a nice feature. Yeah, yeah, the server providers could be spying on me, but I'm not so worried about them.

Plug ins modules. (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568873)

How about a plug-in module? A major portion of the cable box would be the box itself, the connectors, the buttons and the power-supply, as well as the assembly of all those.

A custom-made for each network plug-in card that conforms to a standard (user-interface menu & cable signal inputs, video & menu output) that plugs inside the television backpane could do the trick here. With a plug-in, every "competing" network could have all the "features" it wants without having to kow-towing to a deliberately debilitated, unupgradeable television standard.

Open Supplier? (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568991)

What I really care about right now is making sure that it's easy and cheap/free for content creators to make their work available on the next generation platform. (And there should be some kind of del.icio.us-like system to allow content to get popular by word of mouth.)

I perused the applicable sites, and I can't seem to find any indication on how "open" this platform really is. Does anyone know?

Sony? WTF??? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569217)

I wouldn't put a Sony set top box on my TV, or want to buy a TV with Sony proprietary patented technology inside. A company that would install a deliberately install a computer rootkit on a music CD cannot be trusted inside my home.

Besides that, I was a victim of their rootkit and don't want another penny of my money going to them either directly of indirectly. If Sony is getting patent fees for any devise whatever, I don't want that device.

Why is a Japanese company in negotiations with American broadcasters? Isn't Motorola or Apple or some other American company competent to do this? Would this company please go away, or at least stay in Japan?

And finally, why do we need "interactive TV" anyway? Computers are for interactivity, TVs are for passive watching. What's next, interactive movies? I thought those were called "video games"?

Note to Slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23569225)

USA != World

Already don't have a cable box (1)

EnOne (786812) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569523)

I like my sweet, sweet analog cable coming in straight to my tv. No broadcast flag, no CableCard, and no cable box. Do you really need more than 100 channels?

why can't they have a system like in hotels that u (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569601)

why can't they have a system like in hotels that use a mini box and card in the tv and has a control link so you can use the TV remote to use the menus. They had 2 way links for years you can even play games over them. Right now they have SDV, VOD, PPV, in room check out, and more. They of had this for a long time also. The cable co will just mess this up and find a way to make you pay $6.99+ per tv or even more for a DRV. Sat is at $4.99 a box.

Re:why can't they have a system like in hotels tha (1)

AiY (175830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23569739)

Those systems were completely different cable technology than what the cable companies use. Buy "cable tech" I mean "network protocols". The hardware in the hotels was completely different.

The company I work for used to make those systems but is now involved in more modern cable systems. Those hotel systems were great - blazingly fast and reliable. They were not scalable - a few 100 simultaneous users at most.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>