Video services

Cable Subs Don't Heart the Tuning Adapter

12:45 PM -- As most of us are aware by now, TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) thinks tuning adapters are big and ugly and present a kluge way to support cable switched digital video (SDV) in its CableCARD-capable DVRs.

Now, it's offering some stats to back up those claims as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gets ready to present some new rules aimed at fixing the current CableCARD regime.

TiVo, which is urging the Commission to mandate the use of an IP backchannel in lieu of tuning adapters, supplied the FCC with results of a survey indicating that 30 percent of TiVo users in markets where SDV is deployed are not satisfied with the performance of the Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) devices, with some complaining about channels dropping or slow channel changing times. (See TiVo: Cable Should Love It Some IP.)

And a good portion of those that TiVo surveyed (530 TiVo Series3 customers in cable SDV markets) think they're unsightly. In all, 26 percent said they were not satisfied with the adapters' appearance, with most citing the size of the boxes and the need to install another piece of equipment to ensure the TiVo DVR can access and display channels in an operator's switched tier.

Eighty-four percent of responders also believe that average customers would be more likely to be confused by the use and installation of tuning adapters.

There are more results, but, predictably, the tuning adapter comes out on the short end of TiVo's study on all counts.

The FCC is tentatively scheduled to tee up new CableCARD rules at its October 14 meeting, but it clearly has plenty to weigh before making any decisions on TiVo's proposal. Another recent consumer survey, for example, was much more complimentary about tuning adapters. On top of that, the cable industry, which doesn't want to see TiVo's idea mandated, has argued that the proposal is exorbitantly expensive to implement. (See FCC Sets CableCARD Vote , Everyone Hearts the Tuning Adapter!, and NCTA Prices TiVo's SDV Idea at $22M.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

netmeister 12/5/2012 | 4:22:27 PM
re: Cable Subs Don't Heart the Tuning Adapter

Time Warner uses Cisco tuning adapters here in Austin. They suck. Period. They seem to lose their minds every few days and have to be rebooted. You typically find this out when you go to watch a show that Tivo should have recorded, but it's just a black screen because the tuning adapter went out to lunch. TWC sucks for a number of reasons, but its use of tuning adapters with Tivo is my number one gripe.

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