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Gov't agency tries to placate TiVo, who objected to the plan in 2010

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission -- upset that cable television providers (CTPs) did not allow streaming of HD video via secured connections like the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard -- in 2010 decided to force the issue proposing an order to force CTPs to stream.  The industry was less than enthusiastic and TiVo Inc. (TIVO), the largest maker of video-recorder set-top boxes, was particularly upset.

Commented TiVo, fearful that the new requirements would lead to CTPs locking it out, "If each cable operator deploys set-top boxes with its own understanding of an open industry standard, the result may be an outcome that is neither standard nor open."

The FCC listened and now it's come back with a revised version of the plan, which makes it clear the CTPs can deploy their own "open" standards as they wish, but the standards must be well-documented and easy enough that PC and set-top box makers could implement them on the receiver side with no contact with the cable provider.

Streaming
[Image Source: Streaming Media Hosting]

The new set of rules, set to be made mandatory by June 2, 2014, also clarifies what capabilities are expected of the HD streams:
  • recordable high-definition video
  • closed captioning data
  • service discovery
  • video transport
  • remote control command pass-through
DLNA Premium Video Profile, an HD-compliant version of the secure-streaming standard set to be ratified in 2013, was suggested as one possible option for cable companies.

A minor caveat is that small CTPs, with less than 400,000 customers, will get an additional 3 months to comply with the ruling (they will have to be compliant by Sept. 2, 2014).

Source: FCC



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YAY!!
By ebakke on 12/6/2012 7:29:22 PM , Rating: -1
Market intervention!! Yeah, that's the best! If someone doen't voluntarily do what you want, FORCE THEM!!




RE: YAY!!
By someguy123 on 12/6/2012 10:06:47 PM , Rating: 4
It's not as though these cable companies work under a free market to begin with. They all have legal monopolies in their respective territories done to drive infrastructure development. Since they can't just tell them to give up the lines they paid for you may as well try to keep them from monopolizing other aspects of television/cable.


RE: YAY!!
By ebakke on 12/7/12, Rating: -1
RE: YAY!!
By someguy123 on 12/7/2012 1:19:16 AM , Rating: 4
No, allowing someone to become a monopoly is the exact opposite of regulation. Normally this position would require antitrust regulation, but they were able to obtain legal monopoly rights based on the cost of infrastructure and whatever else you may want to infer, so the FCC has no control over their monopoly status.

Preventing monopolization of other aspects of cable is more in line with free market rights than allowing monopolies to abuse their position.


RE: YAY!!
By othercents on 12/7/2012 8:19:25 AM , Rating: 2
But are they a monopoly when there are competing satellite services and why are they not requiring satellite services to do the same?


RE: YAY!!
By Argon18 on 12/10/2012 4:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
Because satellite sucks and no cares about them? I mean seriously, I don't watch much TV, usually only when it's raining or snowing outside- which is precisely when satellite tv shows "error: signal loss" on the screen. it's about as useful as a light bulb that only works in the day time. lol.


RE: YAY!!
By someguy123 on 12/7/2012 1:35:30 AM , Rating: 3
Also I should add that the FCC is basically protecting the ability to do what you're describing. If you actually read the article the fear is that the cable providers will block out regular competition by encrypting their signals so that only their own set top boxes may stream, effectively reducing the value of competing boxes.

You could apply this to your "digital distribution" scenario as well. if cable companies were to create their own distribution service they could simply block other distributors from their network. thanks to their monopoly contracts, competitors can't come in (most can't afford to lay wire to begin with) and local consumers would have no choice but to go with their current provider. at that point the only choice is to regulate.


RE: YAY!!
By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, the cable companies want to do everything in their power to stop the inevitable change from cable provided programming to direct online streaming. If consumers don't stay on top of this they might just get their way.


RE: YAY!!
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2012 8:24:46 AM , Rating: 1
So maybe, just maybe, we get the government out of the picture, not put it deeper in.


RE: YAY!!
By Piiman on 12/8/2012 10:00:20 AM , Rating: 2
And if you think the Cable providers will then do something good for you(lower rates? better service? etc etc) you're sadly mistaken.


RE: YAY!!
By ebakke on 12/8/2012 10:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
So maybe they do things that are "bad for you". If they keep doing that but don't have the protections of a government enforced monopoly, then someone else will offer something better. I think that'd be "good for you".


RE: YAY!!
By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not as though these cable companies work under a free market to begin with


Exactly they have been granted government enforced monopolies.


RE: YAY!!
By wolrah on 12/6/2012 10:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
In most areas cable providers are a monopoly, there aren't competitive forces to push them along. This is inherent to their nature, there's only so much area to run cable and no one wants a rats nest of overhead wires, so we grant a single provider a monopoly in exchange for submission to regulations.

In the end digital cable is nothing more than moving standard MPEG2 or MPEG4 video and one of a few audio codecs as a stream somewhere within a 6MHz channel. It's not a burden on the cable providers or their equipment vendors to make this stream come out an ethernet port. Many tuners on the market could be made to do this with a software update.

Pretty much anyone with a modern home entertainment system has multiple devices capable of handling UPnP streams which are also already approved by the DRM gods to view their precious content. The only reason all these aren't able to also be your cable box is the cable carriers not wanting it to happen.

Seems like a reasonable request in exchange for the monopolies, eh?


RE: YAY!!
By GatoRat on 12/7/2012 11:04:10 AM , Rating: 2
In most areas cable providers are a monopoly,

They are a cable monopoly, but not a delivery monopoly. There are very few places in the US which can't use DirecTV or DISH.

In the past twenty years, I had cable once, from 2001 to 2003. Before then, I used over-the-air, since I used DISH, then DirecTV and now I'm back to over-the-air and using internet streaming. There are a few shows that I've not seen, but I find I don't care. (I do miss Formula 1.)


RE: YAY!!
By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:23:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, cable companies are making extremely expensive deals with sports franchises because they see sports as their saving grace. Nobody wants to watch last weeks game/race.


RE: YAY!!
By ComputerJuice on 12/7/2012 3:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
Not true at all. If you do not own the building in urban centers most of the time you are not allowed to have a dish installed. For example: I own my loft, but I cannot mount a dish to get satellite service because I do not own the exterior structure that my loft is contained within. So, if I want any kind of television, I have only one choice: Comcast. Which sucks because the basic HD package (no movie channels) is nearly $170 per month. Plus my cable has gone up $2-5 in price every month for the last 2 years and the only other solution is no tv service at all.


RE: YAY!!
By ebakke on 12/7/2012 4:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
That isn't a cable, satellite, or FCC issue. That's a complaint you have with your landlord.

There's no reason the owner of your building couldn't have Dish and/or Direct installed on the roof and use the buildings existing networking to hook your loft's drops up to any number of providers. Hell, Dish or Direct might even be willing to pay for the install to gain the customers.


RE: YAY!!
By ComputerJuice on 12/8/2012 6:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
And this is where you failed to comprehend what I typed... I OWN Read that: OWN my loft, its considered a condo. Therefore I do not have a landlord . You cannot have a dish installed on the structure of a condo because as an condo owner you do not own anything from the drywall out. If you owned a condo in a (key words:) urban center you would know exactly what I am talking about, but you obviously do not. Most urban centers consist of buildings 4+ stories tall, with somewhere between 10-20 units per floor. As I said, you cannot have a dish installed onto something you do not own. Dish, directv etc will absolutely not, again WILL NOT install onto a structure you do not own. Its against the law.

Now say under your misunderstood view, If perhaps I rented, I would have to get permission from the PROPERTY MANAGEMENT company to have a dish put in. In that scenario a landlord would act a liaison between the renter and the company that owns the building. But that basically does not happen, because I could just imagine what the roof of a building would look like with 300+ dishes on the roof. Seriously don't chime in on when you have no idea what you're talking about.


RE: YAY!!
By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 4:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not telling you how to live, but get highspeed internet only and then use hulu+ and redbox.


RE: YAY!!
By ComputerJuice on 12/8/2012 6:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
I would go that route, but I do like the local news... and because we have 2 choices for high speed. 1)century link $100 for 7mb down, 256k up or comcast another $150 a month for 30mb down, 7 up (which is what I pay for) with no bundles offered here. Monopolies are great aren't they?


RE: YAY!!
By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
Cable encryption and locking down DVR recordings is the primary reason I "cut the cord." I like to be able to record shows, transfer them to a portable hard drive and watch them on the road. This can be done through a HTPC recording broadcast television but not from a satellite or cable company box. Congrats on costing yourselves a customer, the added $40 a month in my pocket is a nice bonus.


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