Some Interesting Details on the Tuning Resolver for SDV

Following up on the recent Tuning Resolver solution for SDV announcement, Mari Silbey at Connected Home 2 G0 used her connections inside Motorola to dig up more details. And they are certainly interesting details – some highlights:

  • Motorola starting working on a device with CableLabs in July.
  • Two weeks ago they had a working prototype at an interoperability session with TiVo – a working device in just four months. (And the implication that TiVo has work prototype firmware already too.)
  • Motorola has committed to general availability of the Tuning Resolver in 2Q2008, just six months from now.
  • Motorola’s current design looks like their DCT700 cable box.

And, perhaps most intriguing of all, Mari writes:

Last, last note – the tuning resolver does not currently support VOD services, but I’m told it’s not an unreasonable assumption to believe that it might in the future.

I said before that once a bidirectional communications device exists for SDV the barrier to developing protocols for other services, such as VOD and PPV, is much lower. And there is incentive for the cable MSOs, since they make revenue from the sales of VOD and PPV – the more people who have access to the content, the better it is for them.

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    I hope they can engineer this device so that it can be powered off the USB port. It looks way too big. But I’d rather have it be too big and an ugly wall wart than not at all. A nice VOD access protocol would be nice.

  • Chris

    Okay, if The Tivo is just passing thru to some crappy cable company box than Tivo will kiss my ass, and I’ll get the DVR.

    I dont’ want to hit next channel, wait for the tivo to tell the cable box to go next channel, then see the channel change. Thats crap.

  • MegaZone

    No, that’s not how it works at all. The Tuning Resolver is NOT a cable box, it is a transceiver for communication with the cable head end. I don’t know where you got that idea from.

  • Chris

    I haven’t seen any detail how this things work. But it sounds like its sorta like the setup between a Tivo Series 2 and a digital cable box. . .

    Where the “box” does the actual decoding of the digital stream (and selection of channels). We shall wait and see. . .

  • MegaZone

    The Tuning Resolver doesn’t have any tuner, despite the name. It has a transceiver for DSG & QPSK, the bidirectional communication protocols used on cable systems. It is basically a specialized cable modem that can communicate with the different head-end cable systems. It implements the same SDV communications protocol used by cable boxes on that cable system.

    The way it works is that the host device, like a TiVo, tunes to a given channel. If that channel is flagged as being an SDV channel, and not a normal linear channel, then the host device would communicate with the Tuning Resolver over USB requesting that channel. The Tuning Resolver would then translate that request into the local cable system’s SDV protocol and request it from the head-end. The head-end responds by sending the frequency that the channel has been dynamically assigned on the system. The Tuning Resolver then passes that information back to the host, which then uses its tuner to tune to that frequency to receive the channel. All of the channel tuning is done on the host itself, the Tuning Resolver is simply a communications node.