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#1 02-13-2008 9:17:59 PM

den
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Registered: 02-13-2008
Posts: 1
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comcast signal encryption

I was just about to purchase a TiVo when the salesman told me he was informed that Comcast would be encrypting their signals in a year or less and that TiVo users might all own useless junk when that happens. Comcast is using this technique as a device by which to sell their DVR exclusively.

I then went to the Comcast web site and found a Chat circuit.  I swapped lines with the chat operator at Comcast and that person said Comcast was already test marketing such a product in some cities and indeed their program would render TiVo useless unless TiVo pays some sort of premium to buy into the comcast cipher.  They knew nothing about the schedule or any technical details.

Anyone know about this? When?  How?  I asked TiVo and not surprisingly, they know nothing.

Thanks

Den

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#2 02-13-2008 9:37:40 PM

Wareagle
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 02-15-2005
Posts: 1073
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Re: comcast signal encryption

Comcast already encrypts a lot of their channels -- premium ones such as movie channels, and some non-local channels.  However, customers with TiVo can get cablecards for nominal fees which allow them to view any channels they would receive with a cable box, except for pay-per-view and OnDemand, which the TiVo/cablecard combination cannot currently receive (except for PPV ordered by phone).  The reason for the existence of cablecards is to allow customers to use non-Comcast equipment, so I doubt there will be any danger of that capability being restricted.

Switched Digital Video may pose additional technical problems for TiVo users if and when Comcast implements it, but I have more faith in TiVo solving it than I do in Comcast implementing SDV any time soon.  hmm

Last edited by Wareagle (02-13-2008 9:42:51 PM)

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#3 02-13-2008 11:44:50 PM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Re: comcast signal encryption

TiVo and the cable industry agreed to work together on SDV months ago.

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#4 02-14-2008 9:09:05 AM

Georgia Guy
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From: Atlanta
Registered: 02-15-2005
Posts: 207
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Re: comcast signal encryption

den wrote:

I was just about to purchase a TiVo when the salesman told me he was informed that Comcast would be encrypting their signals in a year or less and that TiVo users might all own useless junk when that happens. Comcast is using this technique as a device by which to sell their DVR exclusively.

I then went to the Comcast web site and found a Chat circuit.  I swapped lines with the chat operator at Comcast and that person said Comcast was already test marketing such a product in some cities and indeed their program would render TiVo useless unless TiVo pays some sort of premium to buy into the comcast cipher.  They knew nothing about the schedule or any technical details.

Such a move would be in violation of FCC rules. Comcast could not implement a program to kill off competing equipment.  Besides, Comcast is involved in a partnership with Tivo, putting Tivo software on Comcast dvrs.  I think that salesman didn't really know what he was talking about. The chat operator was mistakenly referring to the implementation of SDV, not some encryption process.  Any encryption would be handled by Comcast's own cablecards, which are installed in the Tivos.

As mentioned above, Switched Digital Video is the only possible threat to Tivo users. It would require a set-top box from Comcast that the newer HD Tivos would be incapable of controlling.  But, if you read Frank's link, there is already a "dongle" solution in the works which will solve that problem. The dongle would allow the Tivos to communicate with Comcast (via attachment to the Tivo usb ports and a coax thru-put) and order up individual channels, which is what SDV does, supposedly saving bandwith by not requiring that all channels be piped to all connections.   SDV has already been implemented in some markets (I believe Chicago is one), causing some Tivo users to not be able to receive all the channels they are paying for. The SDV channels in those instances have not been all channels, just some newly added channels.  The dongle, scheduled for release in the 1st quarter of 2009 (I think) is supposed to solve that problem.

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#5 02-14-2008 10:01:04 AM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Re: comcast signal encryption

Moved thread to a more appropriate area.

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