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FCC Approves Changes To Cable Box Rules

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the crack-in-the-castle-wall dept.

Government 439

GovTechGuy writes "The FCC issued an order Thursday that should make it much easier and cheaper for consumers to purchase and install third-party cable boxes made by manufacturers such as TiVo. The rules are aimed at spurring competition in the cable box market; currently consumers overwhelmingly choose to rent a box from their cable provider rather than buy their own. Lawmakers have complained the current cable box technology is outdated and doesn't allow consumers to leverage new sources of video content such as the Web or streaming services from providers such as Netflix. The new rules should result in a smarter, more advanced cable box in the near future."

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Cool (1, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902466)

Where do I sign up?

Pick up a phone? (2, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902624)

I had a cablecard installed in my Tivo Premiere within days of calling Verizon with no hassle at all.

Re:Pick up a phone? (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903528)

I had a cablecard installed in my Tivo Premiere within days of calling Verizon with no hassle at all.

You are very lucky. Many people have nothing but headaches trying to get cablecard to work.

Re:Pick up a phone? (3, Interesting)

Punchinello (303093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903612)

I had a cablecard installed in my Tivo Premiere within days of calling Verizon with no hassle at all.

I have the same setup as you and can tell you there is a hassle. The cablecard Verizon Fios installed on my Tivo Premiere has one way communication. That means if I want any of the On Demand services I have to also keep my regular Verizon cable box (and pay the monthly rental fee). On Demand is an important part of the service as there are a ton of free movies and free replays of network and cable TV shows. Not all of this content is matched by the services on the Tivo alone.

Take for example one of the premium channels (HBO). With the Verizon cable box I can watch any of the HBO movies or series on demand. I cannot do this with the Tivo. I would have to plan ahead and record everything my wife might want to watch. And I am no mind reader.

Re:Pick up a phone? (2, Interesting)

herbman (857) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903862)

I have the same setup as you and can tell you there is a hassle. The cablecard Verizon Fios installed on my Tivo Premiere has one way communication. That means if I want any of the On Demand services I have to also keep my regular Verizon cable box (and pay the monthly rental fee). On Demand is an important part of the service as there are a ton of free movies and free replays of network and cable TV shows. Not all of this content is matched by the services on the Tivo alone.

This has nothing to do with the cablecard. Cablecards are decryption devices, period. All current host devices are one-way communications devices. There have been a few stabs at changing that but so far nothing has clicked and there isn't a standard communications mechanism for doing so. The closest anyone got was Tru2way [wikipedia.org] but that didn't really pan out. Point being, the card is not the reason for this situation.

Can I make my own? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33902484)

Hey, the heck with somebody else's hardware, can I make my own?
How hard could it be?

Re:Can I make my own? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902558)

Hey, the heck with somebody else's hardware, can I make my own?
How hard could it be?

Depends on whether or not you want it to work, or if you care about power consumption.

Protip: That spare Linux box ain't gonna cut it.

Re:Can I make my own? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903698)

A little wasted electricity is a small price to pay for being COMPLETELY IN CONTROL of the experience.

I don't have to worry about any bullshit DRM. I can take recordings with me wherever I want or stream them wherever I want.

I don't have to worry about CC flags preventing my Tivo in the family room from seeing stuff recorded in the Living Room.

Low profile HTPC systems with suitable GPUs are cheap and plentiful.

Re:Can I make my own? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902726)

If you follow the Cable Card Alliance rules, yes. (e.g. there are other devices, like TVs, and the Ceton 4 tuner CableCard device.)

Re:Can I make my own? (2, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902788)

I know someone (who used to work at TiVo) who said that something like 50% of TiVo's issue backlog (this was 2008) was dealing with CableCard issues (on models that supported it).

Maybe their curve has flattened out now, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that "support for CableCard" "works reasonably well on Comcast (or other cable company)". Is probably designed to prevent the next TiVo from popping up and embarrassing the cable behemoths.

Re:Can I make my own? (2, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902958)

Maybe their curve has flattened out now, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that "support for CableCard" "works reasonably well on Comcast (or other cable company)".

This leaves anyone with a non-cableCard device out in the cold. The rules need to be tightened up to force cable companies to provide the digital signals that people are paying for IN THE CLEAR so they can use customer provided equipment freely. At least for any tier called "digital basic", which is the lowest level digital tier. In other words, they can trap the digital signals for anyone who doesn't have "digital basic", so they do not need to encrypt the signals to prevent theft, they just trap them out. Just as they used to do with upper-tier programming in analog form.

Comcast does this. They used to provide all the basic digital signals in clearQAM so my four clearQAM devices could access them. Then one day they simply shut them off. I get the must-carries in digital with those devices now. Just the must-carries.

Bastards.

Re:Can I make my own? (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903588)

Comcast does this. They used to provide all the basic digital signals in clearQAM so my four clearQAM devices could access them. Then one day they simply shut them off. I get the must-carries in digital with those devices now. Just the must-carries.

Bastards.

No big loss. Those extended basic channels were pretty crappy standard def feeds over digital anyway. They want you to pay even more to get the quality HD feeds of the same channels.

Re:Can I make my own? (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902864)

Yeah, it's called MythTV

http://www.mythtv.org/ [mythtv.org]

Re:Can I make my own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903330)

Um, no.

MythTV doesn't support CableCard and never will.

Re:Can I make my own? (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903736)

More clueless rants from the Lemming peanut gallery.

CC hardware vendors will happily sell their gear to Linux users and support them too.

The main hurdle is CableLabs and the burdens they place on hardware and OS vendors.

These restrictions IMPACT EVERYONE and even make Tivos less useful.

rest assured (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902516)

cable companies will fight tooth and nail against it, again.

Re:rest assured (2, Informative)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903318)

From the article:

"A trade group representing the cable industry also praised the FCC's action and pledged to work with TiVo and other retail cable box providers to create a new video device capable of seamlessly integrating content from multiple sources.

“We commend the Commission for its constructive approach in adopting sensible, targeted fixes to the current CableCARD rules that provide cable operators the necessary flexibility to continue improving the CableCARD experience for all of our customers," said the National Cable and Telecommunications Association in a statement. "

Yes, they probably don't mean it, blah blah blah...

Re:rest assured (1)

saider (177166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903466)

Right now, things are up in the air for them. They are scared that people are going to cancel cable and just go with downloaded content (Netflix, AppleTV, etc). They will probably open things up and let some other company develop the Set Top Box. Then when the feature set and business model stabilizes they will assert their monopolies and squeeze those companies out with their shoddy clones.

Re:rest assured (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903664)

Well, they should be scared that people are going to abandon their lucrative set-top box rental scam. I'm shelling out a lot of money per month just to have HD DVRs from Comcast. These are buggy, buggy pieces of Motorola crap that I just can't wait to get rid of.

The worst part is the abuse of their monopoly position. With 1080 lines of resolution at their disposal, they manage to squeeze five (5!) whole channel listings at a time onto the program guide screen. They reserve the bottom 20% of the guide for inane advertisements. They refuse to allow me to remove the shitty channels I will never watch from the lineup. They do not let me reorder the channels in a fashion that makes logical sense to me. There's a whole pile of annoyances that grate every time I touch the remote. We even have a list of activities we don't dare do, lest we send the cable box into some kind of tailspin while it's recording. And for this crap software, I pay them continually.

I always liked my ReplayTVs much better than any Tivo I ever used, but anything else has got to be a damn site better than these awful things.

Re:rest assured (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903852)

Amen, brother!

Way back when, I used to have a Scientific Atlanta box that would show me a 12 channel by 2 hour grid. When they forced me onto a Motorola box, I got a seven channel by 30 minute grid, plus shitty advertisements plastered over around 1/3 of the screen real estate. NOT cool.

Personally, I think that if a cable company is going to force ads upon you with their program guide, they should deduct a bit off your bill, since it's being subsidized. Or better yet, just don't show me damn ads on my program guide, since I'm paying you for your service already. Of course, that philosophy doesn't mesh too well with the "We're going to milk every cent out of every revenue stream possible, no matter how much it pisses off our customers" philosophy of the cable companies.

Re:rest assured (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903372)

Just like the 70's when Ma Bell fought against "owner-supplied equipment"...

I already have this. (0, Flamebait)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902548)

It's called an internet connection, bittorrent, and a ps3.

Re:I already have this. (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902796)

No. This is different. It's legal.

Re:I already have this. (1, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903090)

Depending on where the poster lives, it may be legal for him.

Re:I already have this. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903462)

Anywhere the FCC has jurisdiction copying copyrighted content from anyone other than a licensee is breaking the law (and playing it to your screen from a stream is, indeed, copying it).

Re:I already have this. (-1, Troll)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903720)

Protip: A shitton of slashdotters don't live in the US. In fact, the vast majority of the world doesn't.

Re:I already have this. (5, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903158)

Legality is kind of irrelevant at this point.

Cable/Satellite have already lost. This legislation is really no different than legislating that horse carriage manufacturers cannot mandate what buggy whip you get to use.

Locked in bundles, extortion by ESPN, monopolies and duopolies, out of control advertising, spamming during the programming itself, locked outputs, retroactively removed features that existed at the time of purchase (fuck you Sony and burn in Hell), are not desired by younger consumers, and especially the generation of young consumers that have been raised on YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, Hulu, etc.

The future are services like Hulu and Netflix. I hardly even bother to torrent TV shows or movies anymore. For one, I can usually get the movie legally in a few days through the mail, or streamed directly to my TV in HD quality. My TV shows are now without commercials or those impossible-to-ignore-totally-ruin-the-fucking-show overlays with the Sci-Fi channel being the best example of the retarded twats that decided that was a good idea. I watched entire seasons of Chuck, Stargate SGU, The Big Bang Theory, etc. all without any interruptions or annoyances.

Above all... I did this legally for once. TV shows that are broadcast are obviously fair game to me though. If you put in radio waves across my face on my property, fuck you when you attempt to control what I do with it. That being said, I do like the fact that I can pay a reasonable price for access to a large catalog of movies legally.

There is a reason why Blockbuster has declared bankruptcy. There is a reason why Cable/Satellite execs constantly lament how many people are "cutting the cord".

They don't get it!

Even a cablebox of your choosing is not going to give you the on-demand choices and advertising free content that people are clearly going to obtain one way or the other. The article mentioned that the 3rd party cableboxes would contain Netflix. Really? If that is available, why would I choose to pay $50 a month for HBO/ShowTime/Cinemax/whatever? I would never pay any money for ShowTime, or whatever they are called, when they do the Sci-Fi Super-Retardo overlays on the movie while I am watching it. Saw that at a friends house and spent the next 20 minutes hooking up his kids XBOX to his TV, using the Live account his kids already had, and started watching the same movie IN HD, and WITHOUT the overlays through Netflix. Now his whole family has about 30-40 movies all the time queued up in their instant watch queue.

Sorry, the legislation here is too late. Nearly every young person I know has already transitioned towards a YouTube/Netflix/Hulu/??? combination to get access to entertainment and has never even once paid a cable TV bill.

We don't need to talk about the illegal stuff. Those people doing "illegal" stuff still represent a loss of marketshare (not a loss of income due to piracy, or some equally retarded and fallacious argument). However, what about the people like me that have been using, by and large, completely legal distribution channels to obtain entertainment on their own terms?

IMO, the legal options are going to make a cablebox obsolete before the legislation even takes place. 5 years ago I laughed when MS and Sony said they had ambitions to become the media centers in people's homes. Not laughing anymore....

 

Re:I already have this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903338)

Sorry to burst your bubble but watching Hulu and Netflix is not the mark of a young revolutionary. 45, year olds like me do it because it's cheaper and has less advertising.
You guys don't even have any original pop music to call your own.

Re:I already have this. (2, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903450)

I have a Roku box. Cost me $60. Uses the Internet (built-in 802.11n wireless, at that). And now is available with 1080p support (though I wish they'd announced that before I'd bought my second Roku for the other TV...)

I get Netflix, as well as a lot of other content, on it.

Two reasons it's not as good as cable/satellite:

1. There still isn't a lot of content, and almost none of it is live (there's an MLB out-of-market channel, but I haven't tied into it yet to see if it's live or delayed).

2. Roku works because it's sparsely distributed to the marketplace. The Internet does not have the bandwidth to give everyone unlimited, on-demand, random-access content in full HDTV quality all the time. The cable and satellite communication models eliminate the on-demand portion (mostly; each has some channels for on-demand-like programming, but they're pay-per-view controlled and that keeps their use down to a sparse segment of the viewership at any moment), but ensure that literally every installed endpoint can get any of the channelized content at the same time.

Of course, the real problem with the cable/satellite models is that they've become so fractionated that no channel has a really significant audience share, so they all have suck commercial revenues, so they can't afford the decent television shows, so 90% of them run the sucky junk that costs nothing. Which makes Bruce Springsteen not just observant, but prescient by a factor of 20: 1100 channels and nothing on...

Re:I already have this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903692)

2. Roku works because it's sparsely distributed to the marketplace. The Internet does not have the bandwidth to give everyone unlimited, on-demand, random-access content in full HDTV quality all the time. The cable and satellite communication models eliminate the on-demand portion (mostly; each has some channels for on-demand-like programming, but they're pay-per-view controlled and that keeps their use down to a sparse segment of the viewership at any moment), but ensure that literally every installed endpoint can get any of the channelized content at the same time.

The internet does have that bandwidth, or at least very close. "Full HDTV quality" means different things to different people, but 3-4Mb/s is plenty with modern codecs like h.264; if the last mile can handle that to all customers simultaneously (DSL can, not sure how cable is these days), then CDNs (Akamai, etc.) take care of the rest with minimal bandwidth, since the popular content gets transferred to a local box once and cached. Less popular content will of course consume bandwidth all the way up to the originating server for each viewer, but that's much less of a problem because that content is, well, less popular.

Now I don't say everything would work with an epic influx of users; clearly the CDNs may require further buildup, but to say "The Internet does not have the bandwidth" is completely misleading.

Re:I already have this. (1)

schnell (163007) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903456)

Legality is kind of irrelevant at this point.

As long as there are laws and governments, police and lawyers, legality is never irrelevant.

Re:I already have this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903486)

There are currently several media revenue mechanisms:
1. Advertising (network TV and 'free' Hulu)
2. Monthly subscriptions (Cable, Netflix, Hulu?)
3. Pay per view (Cable and rentals)
4. One time charges (DVD sales)
5. Begging (public TV and some musicians)
6. And the most popular one of course illegal copying.

Keep in mind that content creators have to be rewarded.

Re:I already have this. (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903582)

Keep in mind that content creators have to be rewarded.

Which is why I said legally. I am under the assumption that when I rent a season of Chuck from Netflix that the content creators are getting financially rewarded through my Netflix membership.

As for my comment about broadcast digital TV, they have no rights to be rewarded. Once they put that content in the radio waves and sent said radio waves across my property, I am under no obligation to either view the content, pay for the content, or view the content in a specific and managed way. I take issue with anybody that releases content literally for free and then complains when people are not financially rewarding them or make the claims of theft simply because the people choose to not watch specific portions of the content. That's ridiculous.

The only obligation I am under with respects to digital broadcasts is to not re-broadcast them.

Re:I already have this. (2, Insightful)

Hemi Roid (1219226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903878)

What is illegal about an internet connection? What is illegal about bittorrent? What is illegal about a PS3? Come to think about it... What is illegal about a window? What is illegal about a brick? What is illegal about me throwing that brick through the window? Careful here..... It is my window.... and my brick....

Re:I already have this. (2, Insightful)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902840)

It's called an internet connection, bittorrent, and a ps3.

Really? How well does a PS3 decode encrypted HD cable channels and handle PPV content? If it functioned as a good cable box, I might just buy a PS3, despite the fact that I don't play a lot of games. Bittorrent is great, but just a tiny bit more cumbersome than simply pulling up a DVR menu or punching in a 4-digit channel number, and then there's the question of legality.

Re:I already have this. (2, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903312)

Bittorrent is great, but just a tiny bit more cumbersome than simply pulling up a DVR menu or punching in a 4-digit channel number, and then there's the question of legality.

The TV shows I torrent are ones that for some reason my DVR did not record, so I don't really care if I'm technically infringing copyright. That said...

There are already torrent clients that can use RSS feeds to grab the shows you are interested in. With a very small amount of extra coding, you could end up with the downloaded files renamed the way you want and in the right place for your media player to be able to access them, all with no human intervention. It's probably already been done, but I've never bothered to investigate.

The only real downside to this is that at times you might wait a day or two after the original broadcast before you have access. Since I'm currently a few months behind on TV, this wouldn't be a problem for me.

Re:I already have this. (2, Interesting)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903360)

*shrug* Pretty well, actually.

Try Ted [Torrent Episode Downloader] [www.ted.nu] with PS3 Media Server. [blogspot.com] You get the same shows you watch now. It costs you nothing. All the commercials are edited out. And you can usually watch them within 3-4 hours of their being broadcast.

The only possible alternative that is similar in functionality (shows WITHOUT commercials, not just commercials you fast forward through) is Amazon VOD. That being said, Amazon VOD is only compatible with certain devices, unlike PS3 Media Server, which works with nearly all DLNA devices. Otherwise, I would probably just buy the shows through Amazon VOD. If it only worked on the PS3, natively.

You can use Amazon VOD, Hulu, and Netflix through PlayOn, but it kind of sucks. Netflix on the PS3 (the version Sony promotes) is using a Bluray disk, and the interface is terrible. One must click through titles one-by-one, with no way to hold down the "forward" button, or flick a page at a time.

The only issue with PS3 Media Server is that you have to organize the files, because although Ted does a great job of downloading the files, they will end up in a giant pile on your drive with crappy "leet speak" names. There are a few automatic renaming utilities, but these are very kludge.

There is a new (free as in beer) DLNA server called Serviio [serviio.org] which fixes that, by automagically downloading program names, and presenting a hierarchical interface to the user. That way, you can keep your TV shows in a big pile, and organize them whenever you want. This combination (TED+SERVIIO) represents truly automatic HD video on demand, sans commercials, of nearly any content you would want. And its free.

That being said, Serviio's transcoding is somewhat buggy, so TV Nirvana isn't quite ready yet. But it's almost there.

The funny thing is that I cannot get service this good from any provider at *any* price. I would be willing to pay quite a premium to get truly ad-free TV. But I want my shows to download automatically (or stream), I want it in HD, and I want it to work with a video game console or TV, eliminating a set-top box that would otherwise take up valuable space.

The ironic thing? I prefer watching TV on my PS3s than on my DirecTV HD-DVRs with nearly every channel.

Re:I already have this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903018)

You're seriously deluding yourself if you think you won't be sued in the USA for torrenting most TV shows and movies in 6-10 years. Oh wait, let me guess, you'll be using a more secure file sharing method when that time comes?

and... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33902568)

And Cable providers sue in 3...2...1

Cable and Internet providers have been ridiculously successful against the FCC for the past 15 years. It's like literally everything the FCC has tried to do has been shut down by the courts.

Root Cause Analysis Fail (3, Insightful)

javelinco (652113) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902630)

At Thursday's open meeting, the FCC issued an order that would promote competition in the marketplace for set-top boxes by ensuring retail devices such as TiVo have the same access to prescheduled programming as cable providers. The order would also make CableCARD pricing and billing more transparent, streamline the installation process, and ease requirements on manufacturers and operators upgrading their equipment.

None of these address the "value add" (sorry, kinda puked in my mouth a little bit getting that out) that sells the consumer that they MUST GET CABLE BOX FROM CABLE COMPANY. First of all, consumers don't know they have a choice of getting a cable card, and how to get a device that supports one, and get one installed if they find the device. Secondly, consumers are told they can't get on-demand content if they don't use the cable company's device.

That's it guys. Prescheduled programming? Nobody runs into problems with this. Pricing/Billing transparency? No - this would be a problem if most consumers knew the option existed. Streamlined installation? See pricing/billing transparency. Ease requirements? No - just need to HAVE requirements.

Re:Root Cause Analysis Fail (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902980)

None of these address the "value add" (sorry, kinda puked in my mouth a little bit getting that out) that sells the consumer that they MUST GET CABLE BOX FROM CABLE COMPANY.

So true, and it also doesn't address the yokels at the local office or the incompetent third party installers, all of whom insist that the cable company's rental box is absolutely required. Consumers are so uninformed in this area that I think the companies should be obliged to inform them of their rights, so that optional costs and charges are not sold as requirements for other services/packages.

Hate to say it, but we need more regulation in this industry, if we can't have real competition. In my state, natural gas regulations have been eased, allowing for competition among many suppliers. The local delivery company who maintains the lines, takes care of transmission, and handles billing, still gets a cut for customers in their service areas, but they MUST inform customers of their right to choose a supplier and pricing plan, and do so in plain language. Something like this should be done with cable, which is not to mention AT&T's secretive pricing plans for landline and DSL service, as they seem to vary a lot depending on whether you look online (and even which part of their site you see) or call them.

Re:Root Cause Analysis Fail (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903472)

You know, this is the ONE case where I can actually be happy my cableco is shitty. Thanks shitty cableco! My local cableco runs all the basic channels still in analog, which means my USB TV tuner plugged into Windows 7 Media Center makes a hell of a DVR. Of course to find that out I had to deal with 10 minutes of "You don't OWN a TV? Really?" after which they finally gave me one of the bubbas that actually knows what is going on who told me they just broadcast all the basic channels in the clear, and if they switched he'd just hand me a box no problem.

I have to agree wholeheartedly about the lying and weasel BS though. I don't even want to think about how many folks are paying them an extra $45 a month simply because they don't know you can resign another contract when yours runs out. My mom was laughing her ass off last time mine was due, because I was tied up on a job and just let her borrow my CC so she could buy what she needed and pay my bill at the same time. She started telling the folks in line that they could just resign and if the cableco didn't offer to drop the charges for the previous month they could just go get DSL and watch the shows online and they gave me a $30 off "loyal customer bonus" and waved my late fee so they could hustle my mom out the store,LOL! I'll have to send her to pay my bills EVERY month, hell she may cut my expenses in half with that blabbing she loves to do!

Re:Root Cause Analysis Fail (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902988)

Secondly, consumers are told they can't get on-demand content if they don't use the cable company's device.

That's easy enough to fix. All it takes is a prosecution for false advertising and Bjorn Stronginthearm's your uncle.

Re:Root Cause Analysis Fail (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903404)

"That was a misinformed representative. He has been replaced. We are sorry for the misunderstanding. It's all quite clearly laid out in our training manuals."

javelinco = fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903380)

First of all, consumers don't know they have a choice of getting a cable card, and how to get a device that supports one, and get one installed if they find the device. Secondly, consumers are told they can't get on-demand content if they don't use the cable company's device.

That's it guys. Prescheduled programming? Nobody runs into problems with this. Pricing/Billing transparency? No - this would be a problem if most consumers knew the option existed. Streamlined installation? See pricing/billing transparency. Ease requirements? No - just need to HAVE requirements.

did you see section three in the PDF?

A. Reforming the CableCARD System
                  8. Based on the record before us, we conclude that modifications to our rules are necessary
to improve the CableCARD regime and advance the retail market for cable navigation devices. We are
sympathetic to concerns that we are adopting these rules while we consider a successor regime,25 but we
must keep in mind that CableCARD is a realized technology – consumer electronics manufacturers can
build to and are building to the standard today. Until a successor technology is actually available, the
Commission must strive to make the existing CableCARD standard work by adopting inexpensive, easily
implemented changes that will significantly improve the user experience for retail CableCARD devices.
Therefore, in this order we adopt rule changes that will (1) require cable operators to provide retail
devices with access to switched-digital channels; (2) require cable operators to provide greater
transparency in their CableCARD charges; (3) require cable operators to allow subscribers to self-install
CableCARDs and require cable operators to inform their subscribers about this option; (4) require cable
operators to provide multi-stream CableCARDs by default,
unless a subscriber explicitly requests a
single-stream CableCARD; and (5) clarify the testing requirements for CableCARD devices. Based on
our examination of the record in this proceeding, we believe that these changes will be inexpensive to
implement and will eliminate or reduce the disparity in the consumer experience between leased devices
and retail devices, which has dampened enthusiasm for retail devices.

you can't legislate intelligent decision making (0)

MichaelKristopeit 86 (1921174) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902640)

no rule changes are warranted. cablecard standards have already solved this problem, and enabled 3rd parties. i've been using a tivo HD with premium cable service for many years now. it works perfect.

faulty "rules" are not what is stopping consumers from making the best long term decision... their own lack of understanding is.

a rule that really needs to be addressed is the practice of cable companies now requiring customers to power a separate tuning adapter to aid the cable company in not broadcasting signals to areas where no paying subscriber has requested the signal in the last few hours. it provides no features to me, and yet i am forced to pay for the electricity to power it and the space to store it.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902710)

Oh dear god, you life must be hell. Maying 10 cents a month in electricity and having to put it on something.

If only someone would do something so the consumer could understand the rules~

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

Mike Kristopeit (1900306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902882)

it's going to cost a lot more than 10 cents a month to rent a cablecard.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (0, Troll)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902712)

Said by a corporatist troll who's never had to do the "Comcast Card Shuffle."

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1, Informative)

MichaelKristopeit 24 (1916798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902794)

you're an idiot. i've had comcast at over 10 addresses in the last 3 years. it's always a giant headache. in the end, after everyone has typed the keys in correctly, everything works.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

Mike Kristopeit (1900306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902810)

the cable company can not be expected to service every 3rd party box... so expect installation prices to go up. a 3rd party box will always require a manual exchange of keys during installation, while a rented box will have had that done already internally.

consumers are not willing to figure out or deal with that step, the same as other consumers are not willing to unscrew and later replace an oil plug.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903796)

Hooking up a PVR should be no more complicated than hooking up a VCR used to be.

All of the nonsense "standardization" that has been created by the industry and the FCC is nothing more than a monopoly on a silver platter.

The connection between the cable box and the TV should be in the clear. THAT should be mandated by the FCC.

I should be able to record off of a cable box with a $30 ATSC tuner.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

Michael Kristopeit 9 (1913326) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903922)

you can. there is simply no one willing to sell their content to anyone that would sell you access to that content in the format you feel you should be able to use.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902950)

If it is providing no features to you, then don't do it.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

Michael Kristopeit 7 (1913322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903008)

they cut off the signal if i don't use it... it doesn't save them any bandwidth, they just don't utilize the bandwidth to thwart signal pirates.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903114)

Then it seems it does provide a feature to you, it lets you use the cable. Also, you're wrong about why they do that. It is not to deter pirates, it is to free up bandwidth. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_video [wikipedia.org]

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (2, Interesting)

Michael Kristopeit 7 (1913322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903262)

the existence of tuning adapters does not provide any new feature to me... it creates a liability if i don't use it, and all the while i am left to pay to store and power it.

you obviously don't know much about bandwidth, and have fallen for the lies provided to you... everyone still must be able to receive every channel they pay for at any time. the required bandwidth is fixed. nothing is saved. it is a pure play against piracy at the expense of subscribers.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903686)

OK, since you obviously know more than I do about bandwidth, please explain how my cable company is offering 150 HD channels, about 400 SD channels, about 30 on-demand channels (so every TV in the neighborhood could theoretically be watching a different on demand show), plus internet and telephone, all over a wire that has about a 750MHz bandwidth.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

Michael Kristopeit 7 (1913322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903804)

mine too... i get every channel... a few more than your cable company offers... they've been doing it without tuning adapters for many years. i also have 60Mbps down / 5Mbps up internet that has worked without tuning adapters. i have 3 multi-stream cablecards and a rented dvr... i am often receiving 6 HD streams at once while streaming up a 720p webcam with crystal clear audio to a rebroadcaster with no additional compression.

it already works. again: TUNING ADAPTERS ARE A PURE PLAY AGAINST PIRACY AT THE EXPENSE OF SUBSCRIBERS.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903792)

The required bandwidth is fixed, however, then the channels are off, they can use those channels for cable internet signals. That means that they can use a single cable run for more houses, since they can fit more Internet content. If all the TV stations are being watched, then everybody's Internet connection would be terrible, but the cable company knows that needing all channels at once is not very common.

Further more, if fewer channels are in use, then they can offer more VOD content. They normally keep selections painfully limited, because if thy were bigger, too many people would want to use the service at once, and they only have a limited number of VOD channels per area (but satellite has it even worse) . If they can use the regular channel slots for VOD, they could offer more programming, because they could sustain more feeds, albeit at the risk of having to tell users that a normal channel is unavailable if VOD is using up all the slots.

That said, many have not fully rolled out either of those, and piracy is still a significant part of the reason.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903774)

What? The standards are working because there is ONE LAME vendor out there?

Hardly.

If the standards were working, there would be 50 VENDORS out there.

Contrast the diversity in PVRs with the diversity that existed with VCRs.

I want a solution that streams all of my media and is completely network transparent. I don't want any media tied to a particular TV. I don't want to have to associate a particular show with a particular TV. Even a web based interface for manipulating that relationship is a step backwards.

Tivo is far too busy abusing the patent system and not spending enough time improving their product in meaningful ways.

Re:you can't legislate intelligent decision making (1)

Michael Kristopeit 7 (1913322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903918)

uhhhh... i have 3 tivos... i can view any show on any device from any device. they all show up in the same central "now playing" list.

also, every HDMI jack in my house has a loopback to a receiver fed back to every room... why trust the device providing the signal to distribute the signal? they are completely separate tasks. either way, my install can do it either way equally as well, and i've never found myself wanting with any tivo device.

i also just got the new illuminated bluetooth qwerty slide remote... the reduction in latency is incredible... the tivos feel 5 times as fast because of the increased responsiveness.

TFA is useless; here's the actual order (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902714)

TFA states a lot of PR from the FCC, the TiVo, and the cable industry on the effects the new rule will have on consumers, but nowhere describes what about the CableCARD rules is actually being changed, and doesn't cite the order to enable people to check for themselves. So I checked the FCC website, the order is here [fcc.gov] .

Haven't had time to read it myself yet, but hopefully having it will enable people to read it and make comments on the actual content, rather than the fluff in TFA.

Re:TFA is useless; here's the actual order (2, Interesting)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903044)

TFA states a lot of PR from the FCC, the TiVo, and the cable industry on the effects the new rule will have on consumers, but nowhere describes what about the CableCARD rules is actually being changed, and doesn't cite the order to enable people to check for themselves. So I checked the FCC website, the order is here.

Thanks, I downloaded it. Unfortunately, the document is 59 pages of legalese. If most of us don't even RTFA most of the time, we sure as heck aren't going to try to make sense this FCC order. I'm sure I could get the gist of it, but determining how it will actually be implemented and enforced and what the impact will be is not something I care to wrestle with. Too bad TFA isn't more in depth.

Re:TFA is useless; here's the actual order (1)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903402)

Unfortunately, the document is 59 pages of legalese.

I read through some, The pages are only have height (half is taken up by footnotes) so ites really like 30 pages, The rules itself are only page 43-48 (appendex B) everything else is just what was talked about in the meetings. Now the rules changes are legalese but pages 1-33 (Discussion) are actually a pretty easy read.

Re:TFA is useless; here's the actual order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903060)

Haven't had time to read it myself yet, but hopefully having it will will enable people to increase my karma.

ftfy.

para 26 seems to be the key (3, Informative)

megabunny (710331) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903424)

26. We conclude that the best means of assuring the development of a retail market for navigation devices is to require cable operators to allow subscribers to self-install CableCARDs. We believe cable operators should have time to train staff and develop more robust customer support infrastructures and procedures, and provide nine months to comply for any operators that allow subscribers on any of their systems to self-install any cable modems89 or leased set-top boxes.90 We are not persuaded by arguments that cable operators could not support activation of retail CableCARD devices within this reasonable transition period. However, we are concerned that a cable operator that does not permit self-installation of any equipment that attaches to its network may not have the customer support infrastructures in place to handle self-installations and may need a longer transition period.91 Therefore, we will allow cable operators that do not have any self-installation support in place twelve months to phase in this self-installation requirement.92 We also require cable operators to inform their subscribers about the self-installation option when they request CableCARDs.93

Re:TFA is useless; here's the actual order (5, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903778)

Reading the PDF, the new rules seem to be:
1.Cable operators need to provide better access to switched digital video services (via improved tuning adapters, via an IP backchannel or via some other option)
2.They must provide greater information to consumers about the cost of a cable card. They must also offer consumers who dont lease a set top box a lower price than those who do lease a set top box. And there is something in there about making any set top box they lease also available for sale.
3.They must improve cable card installation including allowing self-install for any device where the manufacturer has provided installation instructions (i.e. anything where the cable company wont have to provide self-install technical support)
4.They must provide multi-stream cable cards by default unless a consumer specifically asks for a single stream card
5.There are changes to cable card certification designed to ensure cable card certification bodies cant hold up cable card equipment for anything other than valid technical reasons
6.There are some changes in the interface between set top boxes and other devices. The current requirement to provide a firewire port will go away and be replaced with a requirement that is physical-interface-neutral. It will also be expanded to require 2-way communication (such as being able to send the cable box remote control signals)
7.There is something there that says recievers will not be reqired to implement features designed to lock certain outputs on playback of certain content (something the MPAA was asking for to close the "analog hole" and prevent direct copying of certain kinds of PPV movie content)
There are also some other things that I dont understand.

The thing I want to see from the FCC is the elimination of any rules regarding analog cable programming and a new rule pushing cable companies to completly end analog cable programming (which frees up spectrum/bandwidth for more TV channels or higher broadband speeds)
Something regarding over-the-air channels that says cable companies can carry over-the-air channels (including ant digital channels, high-definition or otherwise) and that the over-the-air channel providers like ABC can not prevent the cable companies from carrying their content or charge "unreasonable" fees for doing so would be nice.

Remove satellite waiver (2)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902756)

The waiver for the satellite companies should be removed, so that you can buy third party DirecTV and DISH boxes too. (There could be third party DISH boxes, and would presumably have been new DirecTivos all along, without the waivers.)

Re:Remove satellite waiver (2, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902830)

But TiVo doesn't want that.

They're just about to release a new DirecTivo and have cowed DISH in court. TiVo doesn't want third-party competition in satellite. But because the cable companies were doing non-infringing competitive DVR boxes, TiVo was the third-party, so it wanted this access.

A business just isn't a real business until you can see the hypocrisy crusting around its mouth.

Re:Remove satellite waiver (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902954)

Proof that "Tivo doesn't want that"?

Tivo(*) could have had a DirecTivo *ALL ALONG* if it could make boxes on its own. Tivo(*) could have had their own box that worked with DISH. Heck, Tivo(*) could have had one box to rule them all, one box that was transferrable between satellite, cable, and OTA, and worked with all of them. (Yes, it might not be cost effective, but maybe it would be. There was the DirecTivo that did OTA HD but regular DirecTV..)

(*) or any third party box/device maker, for their own devices of course.

Re:Remove satellite waiver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903088)

If it was like the HD Tivo DirecTV box, you can keep it.... 'Slow' would be a kind word and the reboot times on the at box were seriously 'slow'.... DirecTV did far better job bringing it in house,
yes people gripped at the beginning (hell they still do) but they have add a ton of features over the years (SWM, MRV, internet downloads, games, etc)
And from an home theater installer stand point please let me add thank you for ONE code set that stays the same!

Re:Remove satellite waiver (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903484)

They're still building it, so nobody knows what it's like.

Though from the delays, I don't doubt it will have at least one major technical fuck-up that they'll gloss over but will piss me off every time I turn the machine on.

Re:Remove satellite waiver (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903476)

Do I have to explain the difference in tense between "doesn't" and "didn't".

DirecTV and TiVo kissed and made up over a year ago.

First things first (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902822)

Cable boxes aren't just behind, their development (at whatever pace) is lopsided. My cable box from Verizon Fios:

-Can suggest programs based on what I've watched. But it can't cache the channel line-up and programming info, so there's an incredibly irritating pause every time you click the remote.
-Can play video games from 1994, but it can't make the remote emit a sound so I can find it in the cushions. We've needed this feature for decades, but instead we get a gutted hole that used to be HDMI out or USB port (who knows?).
-Can deliver a huge variety of content from a fiber optic network, but charges huge fees for MA and XXX content that is far worse than what can be found on the internet for free, in 3 clicks. Seriously who has FIOS and orders that junk? Same with Comcast. It's rotgut moonshine at single malt-reserve prices. I expect porn to be ahead of the development curve, not bringing up the saggy rear.

Re:First things first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903036)

This may surprise you, but sometimes there is more than one person watching those movies. Furthermore, many times they like to watch those movies on a TV in a bedroom. Shocking, I know. Why do they charge so much? Because people pay it, and they'd be idiots not to charge that much.

Aren't television sets "cable-ready" ? (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33902842)

I thought television sets came "cable-ready" -- haven't they done so for like twenty years now? Why would you rent something that was obsoleted in the early 90s?

Re:Aren't television sets "cable-ready" ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903064)

Cable ready means you can shove coax directly into the back of your TV and see stuff.

It doesn't, however, mean your TV is capable of handling the pleasant luxuries that have been developed over the past few decades - such as DVR, handling PPV content, et cetera.

Re:Aren't television sets "cable-ready" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903072)

Cable ready is for analog only, not digital. Although you can get digital cable ready these days.
Cable ready is only for unencrypted channels. They are encrypting more and more channels.
Cable ready does allow for on demand.
Cable ready does not allow for on screen programming guides or other special features.
Cable ready doesn't include a DVR.

Cable ready is obsolete. Refusing to use a cable box gets the consumer less channels, and it makes it harder for the cable company to make sure you pay your bill. Cablecard solves some of these problems, but cablecards don't work well.

Re:Aren't television sets "cable-ready" ? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903458)

Cable0ready does not allow for on-demand. Neither does CableCard. It's really the only weakness of TiVo vs Comcast's box. (And it's totally not worth it to me - my TiVo is just a million times better of a box, and I'll put up with its weaknesses in order to get the stuff it does really well.)

Re:Aren't television sets "cable-ready" ? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903848)

on-demand content wouldn't be a problem if the cable companies and the electonics companies could agree on things.

The electronics companies like TiVO want on-demand content, pay-per-view, EPGs etc delivered in standard meta-data forms that the boxes can just parse and display in their own UIs.

Cable companies want on-demand content, pay-per-view, EPGs etc delivered via application programs that get run on the set-top-box. This allows the cable companies to control the UI (they want to be sure cable company content is clearly distinct from content pulled from places like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu etc and isnt seen by consumers as "just another choice" when they go to select content to watch). The cable companies also want the use of the application programs so they can provide interactive content, games, voting/polls and other things that benifit the cable company or make them money.

tru2way was supposed to be the answer but cable companies are dragging their feet on rolling it out and electronics companies are not implementing it in their products.

Re:Aren't television sets "cable-ready" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903296)

Because the cable system quickly got rid of that pesky problem. By going 'digital'. Not only can you rent the box, you can then rent the privilege of having the box, the remote that only works with the box, AND the digital tier that has those 1 or 2 stations everyone wants anyway.

They made it nice and complex (probably not on purpose). Which in turn made it a bitch to make TVs across the whole US. Instead you have TWs flavor of digital, cox, cablevision, etc...

Cable ready was nice while it lasted.

Barrier not technological. (4, Insightful)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903188)

The barrier isn't technological, it's psychological. My mom has a cable box she doesn't need. The installer told her she needed to get cable. I told her to take it back and demand a refund. She won't. During the 80's, you had to have a box to get channels above 13, because that was the highest a TV could tune. Then the FCC mandated cable-ready TV's, and you didn't need a box at all except for pay TV. There was no education or information given to the public, so a lot of people went through the 90's still believing they need a box, and the cablecos still play on that. The only was to solve the problem is to educate the public, something like forcing the cablecos to hand their customers a pamphlet clearly showing what channels do and do not require a box.

Re:Barrier not technological. (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903646)

This used to be the case. Now some networks are going digital, so the built-in tuners in even modern TVs do not work.

Case in point, Verizon FIOS used to work without a box. Now you need one.

The QAM tuner only gets the basic network broadcasts.

Re:Barrier not technological. (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903746)

The QAM tuner can get all clear channels. Some places you get more than just networks. I get Braves TV in HD, for example. I also get about 5-10 other SD digital channels (NASA, etc.). But your point is correct for fiber systems. My point is, a lot of people are paying for the box when they don't need to, and until the FCC addresses that, cable viewers will still keep renting the cablecos box. In related news, my cableco is still hit-or-miss then you call and ask for CableCARD, even though they've been using them for more than 3 years. One rep I called had never heard of them, the next knew they had the dual-channel version and that they charged $5 for them ($2 each for the single channel).

I'd run one in a heartbeat (2, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903212)

I would run one in a heartbeat - especially since I now live in a city where Comcast has deployed Motorola rather than Scientific Atlanta. (on Scientific Atlanta the ESATA ports are enabled, and on Motorola they are disabled). I like having the ability to keep an entire season of certain shows on the PVR/DVR to re-watch at my leisure.

However, there is a problem; most CableCard-capable PVRs available on the market, at least last time I looked into them, did not support OpenCable Host Device services, so watching On Demand content isn't (or wasn't) possible. Also, aside from client apps on a PC or Mac, management of viewing, recording, and deleting content on a Tivo requires about 3x as many clicks as does the cable company's PVR. The Tivo still doesn't(?) support OCAP:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/dnptivo-premiere-and-premiere-xl-usher-in-a-brand-new-interface/ [engadget.com]

Both models will do up to 1080p output and have single multistream CableCARD slots and eSATA jacks for storage expansion; the $299 Premiere will do 45 hours of HD recording on the 320GB internal drive, while the $499 XL will do 150 on 1TB and adds in THX certification. The bad news? There's still no support for tru2way, so you still won't have access to your cable company's video on demand service -- although one of the screenshots has a Comcast logo on it, so we're intrigued.

Re:I'd run one in a heartbeat (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903520)

No, TiVo still doesn't get on-demand from Comcast. And it still isn't as good of an experience as my old ReplayTV. But it's better than the Comcast box.

Stop tinkering at the edges (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903316)

and get some line sharing going.
One big fat rented pipe and any telco, isp, tv, digital service you like.
No contract, long term, bundles, get some light and entrepreneurship flowing back into the dark cartels and sealed single providers.

Tivo HD + dual Cable Cards FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33903352)

Tivo HD + dual Cable Cards FTW!

I know this is being heralded as a victory but... (0)

Yadyn (1374599) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903400)

...to me this announcement does nothing but highlight the overwhelming need to get rid of what was once only a possibly legitimate agency but, in a world of vastly different technology than when it was created, now is definitely unnecessary.

"Overbearing control-freaks vow to allow more competition in area of economy they enjoy tight control over."

Seriously, does no one else think competition (or, rather, the lack-there-of) in the telecommunications market would be so abysmal if the FCC weren't in the business of protecting the monopolistic status quo? And don't think I'll spare the Comcasts of the nation; they are just as guilty, though who can blame them? As a company you'd be stupid not to collude with the feds on minimizing the chance of competition.

Re:I know this is being heralded as a victory but. (2, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903656)

Hold on a moment. Cable companies are granted exclusive franchises by the city government, not the federal government. That and that alone is the reason for the abysmal service. If you had a choice between TW, Comcast, Cox, Charter, and CableVision in most cities then we would have real competition, and the prices and services would be much better.

The FCC helps to keep the cable companies acting like there is competition. If not for the FCC, there would never have been the CableCard option in the first place. The only option would be to buy the set-top box, or not be able to tune in to many of the channels you are paying for.

Sure the FCC does sometimes bend to much the the will of the media companies or cable companies, but if the FCC only regulated the actual airwaves, and not also the cable companies, Things would be much, much worse.

Not enough (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903436)

Until cable companies and their subsidiaries are forbidden to design, manufacture, sell, lease, rent or otherwise provide hardware, they will have too much control.

Choose? (1)

bflong (107195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903438)

currently consumers overwhelmingly choose to rent a box from their cable provider
Back when I had cable a couple years ago, there was no choice. If I wanted the deal, I *had* to rent the box. It sat under my sofa for a year, collecting dust and costing me money until I just had enough of it and canceled the service.

cableCARD ready tvs (2)

scoticus (1303689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903492)

i worked as tech support for a cable company in souther california. the only guy who was honest about the specific flaws of each model of box was the guy who trained us. he told us what problems to expect and how often, basically saying that all the boxes in one way or another were crap, even the 'new' ones. according to him, the main reason the company did not allow customer owned boxes, was because most of them were not compatible with our proprietary software. (read into that what you will) his sincere desire, for the good of the customer and the sanity of the tech support people, was for tv manufacturers to get off their butts and develop 2-way cableCARD ready TVs. do away with the box all together. at the time, there were TVs capable of using cableCARDs, but only 1-way, meaning no on-demand or pay-per-view. eventually, TVs with 2-way function and internal HDDs will come along, but who knows what roadblocks are delaying this...

Re:cableCARD ready tvs (1)

scoticus (1303689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903546)

cont- and who knows if the cable industry will accept them. lot of money in box rental. boxes were $8/month while cableCARDs were $2.50. plus thats a lot of boxes sitting unused in the warehouse...

Reminds me of telephones (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903572)

This will date me, but I can remember the day when EVERYONE had to rent a telephone from Ma Bell. Rotary dial and then the Princess phone. Technology really got pushed along in those days.

Slider boxes (1)

Wild_dog! (98536) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903694)

The old slider boxes they had way back when cable first started were way better than what they have now.

FCC grew a pair? (1)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903702)

Seriously, when did the FCC grow a pair? This is fantastic there have been things coming out left and right that seem like they are shutting down the anti-competitiveness of cable companies and for the consumer. All good things must come to an end though, I am afraid what really bad piece they are waiting for to come out. I'd totally vote for the person driving all this over at the FCC for president. He totally freaking rocks.

Call me when I can get a CableCard-ready TV (2, Insightful)

eyegone (644831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33903794)

Remember those?

I'd kill to have a setup that my 75-year old mother could actually use. (She's just never going to be able to get the idea of separate components, and I've never found a "universal" remote control that she can use.)

Monopolistic a$$hats.

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