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Goodbye CableCard, we hardly knew ya. We may never see CableCards in Canada if a new technology called Downloadable Conditional Access System (DCAS) is introduced. Developped by Cable Labs, DCAS consists of hardware and software that will allow Cable companies to deliver premium content in a cheaper, more flexible and secure way. Unlike set top boxes or CableCards, the controlling software can be easily uploaded into secure firmware built into your televisions or other consumer electronics. Consumers won't have to rent one or more STBs and will have greater choice in cable-ready DTV equipment. Cable operators can use the CAS of their choice without the additional costs inherent in STBs or CableCARDS.

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics Inc. earlier this year, signed aggreements with CableLabs to incorporate DCAS in digital televisions and other video equipment. It's not clear exactly when that will happen, though, because the engineering spec for the technology hasn't been released and the technology hasn't been thoroughly tested yet. Nonetheless, cable operators told the FCC that DCAS will be ready by 2008. The FCC ban on integrated set top boxes was pushed back to 2007 in order to develop DCAS.

No cable providers in Canada currently support CableCARD. With a mere 80,000 sold in the US, it isn't exactly blazing a trail. This is because first generation CableCARDS are one-way only and don't support EPGs, VOD, or PPV. Basically, everything you'd buy an STB for. Of course this could all change if CableCARD 2 hits the shelves in mid-2006 as promised.



http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-257519A1.pdf

http://www.cabledatacomnews.com/jan06/jan06-1.html

http://arstechnica.com/guides/other/cablecard.ars/3

http://www.cedmagazine.com/article/CA6297197.html

http://www.opencable.com/dcas/Electronics
http://www.cablelabs.com/news/pr/2005/05_pr_dcas_samsung_113005.html
http://www.cablelabs.com/news/pr/2006/06_pr_lge_dcas_010406.html
 

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Well we've had this discussion many times before including this one.

CableCard simply doesn't deliver the goods so it failed. Good Riddance! If and when they do it right then maybe folks would be interested.

With a mere 80,000 sold in the US, it isn't exactly blazing a trail.
Didn't realize it was that low but I've yet to read anything positive from reviewers.
 

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Good ridance?

Only with cablecard would you be able to use the receiver of your choice, such as one that would integrate OTA with cable, have a higher storage capacity, and have firewire ports.

I WANT MY CABLECARD!
 

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I want something that can be used with a computer based tuner, and under linux. Without jumping through legal hoops. That way I'll be able to fully realize the potential of mythtv, which is just amazing.

MArk
 

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Michael DeAbreu said:
No cable providers in Canada currently support CableCARD. With a mere 80,000 sold in the US, it isn't exactly blazing a trail. This is because first generation CableCARDS are one-way only and don't support EPGs, VOD, or PPV. Basically, everything you'd buy an STB for. Of course this could all change if CableCARD 2 hits the shelves in mid-2006 as promised.
The main reason I buy an STB is to be able to get digital and/or HD channels. I have much less need for EPG, VoD or PPV and VoD makes PPV anyhow (except for HD-PPV until we have HD-VoD).

The reason I would like a CableCard is to be able to use PVRs other than what is available from my cable company. There will soon be such products available once the TiVo Series 3 is released and when Vista and ATI's OCUR card are released. These are the most compelling reasons for CableCard that I have seen so far and they would come with much better EPGs than what I get from Rogers on my SA boxes which renders the EPG argument moot.

By the way, the 2.0 spec of CableCard will allow two-way communication but I don't really care if the winning spec is CableCard or something else, I just want more freedom to use other boxes to record HD.
 

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could it mean CABLECard-ed PCs from Dell/HP might be available in Canada?
Availability and usability are two different things. As I said above, CableCard simply doesn't deliver the goods so it failed.

Trade groups start these new specs and then do a lousy job implementing them. They through out crappy version 1.0 and it's miserable.

I think the notion of CableCard is great but the execution was so bad that I doubt we'll see any serious backing for this technology anytime soon
 

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hugh said:
I think the notion of CableCard is great but the execution was so bad that I doubt we'll see any serious backing for this technology anytime soon
Can you elaborate on this Hugh. What is wrong with CableCard 1.0 other than the fact that it is one-way?

For a HTPC you don't care about guide data since that will come over the internet rather than the cable feed. Not having PPV or VOD is a minor inconvenience to me but I would put up with not having this to be able to have an HD signal going directly into my PC or Series 3 TiVo. Are there some other problems in addition to this that I am missing?

And by the way, given the demonstration of the ATI OCUR and Vista at CES earlier this year then Microsoft and ATI are now backing CableCard. The Series 3 TiVo uses CableCard. Is that not serious backing?
 

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Hugh,

Personally, I don't want it as a periperal to my TV, I want it as a peripheral to my PC. In this case it seems to be a very good solution.

As per Wayne's comments, if I had a USB 2.0 or PCI connection to a cable card I would have the two things that I really miss from my existing HTPC set-up:
- HDTV tuning
- Quick channel change

I already have an EPG, better than the cable/satelitte system. I have excellent PVR scheduling control (even remotely) and DRM management as part of my solution. I use PPV maybe a couple times of year. So why do you think it's a failure? What features is it missing? I'd like to hear your insight.

Ted
 

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CC failed, so far, because consumer TV and STB manufacturers weren't into them as much as they should have been, and not a lot of features are available in the current version.

As for CC and a PC, you can't have it.
You could likely, but need a certified PC to use it, which means you need an approved prebuilt system with approved tuner and video card, plus Windows Vista.

All of this is academic anyways, as Canadian providers aren't issuing Cablecards to their customers.
 

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Our first discussion of CableCard from 2004 and CableCard 2 still is NOT available.

The reality is that it may have some limited appeal but 95% of cable customers with a set top box want EPG's, PPV, Seasons sports package, etc etc and a product that works. CableCard did none of that. I'm moving on and so are the cable companies.

BTW: Search on Cablecard and review the first thread for more thoughts on the matter.


Recent NY TImes article on Cablecard
 

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I read most of the other thread but a lot of what was on their was before media centers became as significant as they are today.

Actually, I dispute your 95% - most consumers don't care about PPV or Seasons Sports packages. Cable companies want them but most consumers dont' use them.

But consumers do want:
- advanced EPG, with better info and scheduling - check
- PVR functionality including HDTV recording, even if it's DRM'ed - check
They get all that with their Cablecard + Media Center. In fact, it's potentially a great solution. We should be actively pushing for this stuff not dismissing it.

As for only "certified suppliers" will be allowed to have solutions due to protected media path (PMP) compliance, so be it. Dell and HP already supply most of the PCs in the industry.

The NYT's article totally ignored the HTPC - which was very interesting. Considering that one of the most active topics in this forum is HTPC related, I think it was an obvious snub and demystified the purpose of the article.

When you say it didn't work, what didn't work? When ever I push anybody for specifics, no one can really say what didn't work. Can you be specific?

I'm wondering if this site has the same hidden agenda as the NYT. I'm for the consumer. Maybe I'll get kicked off for this.

Ted
 

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okay Ted, you take the lead in the fight against the hidden conspiracy and the New York Times hidden agenda.

Of course you'll have to start talking to the consumer electronics companies like Sony and Sharp because some of them are now dropping the cable card slots from their televisions.

And talk to Cable Labs that still hasn't completed the V2 spec which has been in the works for over 2 years now.

Finally, Ted although you may not want to hear this, no one really cares about people who have MCE hooked up to their flat panels. The percentage of homes with this set up is very small and frankly until that percentage is closer to 50%, no major cable or satellite company is going to make any money from it.
 

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okay, Hugh, still a lot of blather from you - but still no specifics on what doesn't work in the Cablecard. I guess that's the benefit of being the administrator.

The cable and satellite companies don't make much money on TiVo, YouTube.com or Flickr.com either, but that doesn't mean it isn't they aren't important in the future landscape.

Ted
 

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This article seems highly suspicious, and speculative. As far as I know, you can get the CableCARD from the Service Provider without telling them what it's going into. Now, technical support/troubleshooting may be another matter.

Since the TiVo3 is not available, let's wait for some "real" news when it is out.
 

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Here's some information directly from a Microsoft Program manager: http://mediacenter.mattgoyer.com/archives/2006/07/28/1160

So far, the known facts are:
1. Microsoft Vista Media Center SKUs will support CableCARD/OCUR
2. This support will allow you to view, record and stream recordings to extenders (like an Xbox 360)
3. Due to requirements of CableLabs, only "certified" suppliers will be able to provide a CableCARD/OCUR capable PC. Not anyone will be able to build their own system, but larger OEMs, providing they have passed certification, will be able to provide a solution.

Of course, this is for the U.S. - we need to bring this functionality to Canada.

Ted
 
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