CableLabs Ready To Test Tuning Resolver, TiVo Owners Await SDV Support

Switched Digital Video (SDV) has been the bane of CableCARD users, notably owners of the TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD. SDV channels cannot be tuned by UDCP (unidirectional digital cable products) CableCARD devices, such as TiVo, as SDV requires bidirectional communication with the head end.

Enter the Tuning Resolver. As previously reported, the Tuning Resolver is a bidirectional communications terminal which is designed to connect to a UDCP via USB, to enable SDV support. Of course, the UDCP most people refer to when discussing the Tuning Resolver is TiVo. Release is expected in 2Q08, and it is eagerly anticipated by many users.

Now Multichannel News is reporting that CableLabs has received the first version of a PC-based testing tool which will allow them to test the Tuning Resolver’s functionality. The tool was developed by Solekai Systems in Boulder, CO and is known as the Tuning Resolver Interface Simulator (TRIS).

“We at CableLabs are encouraged by the flexibility this tool offers to allow us to validate the interfaces between UDCP [unidirectional digital cable products] and tuning resolver devices, and ultimately provide UDCP devices with the ability to access switched digital video services in the field,” CableLabs vice president of advanced media platforms So Vang said, in a prepared statement.

This brings the Tuning Resolver one step closer to release. Development was only agreed upon last August, so getting the box to market in 2Q08 is really a fast-track development cycle for the cable industry. Charter isn’t using SDV in my area (yet?), but I know there are a lot of TiVo users out there for whom the Tuning Resolver can’t arrive fast enough.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Michael Burstin

    Does anyone know if this will also allow for OnDemand (with additional Tivo software support)?

  • MegaZone

    At this time no, it will not. The Tuning Resolver will only enable SDV.

    The issue is standards – or rather, the lack thereof. SDV is a fairly new development, and there are only a couple of systems deployed. This makes it easier to standardize the interface to allow one generic device communicate with disparate head ends and enable SDV on different UDCPs.

    However, OnDemand & PPV systems are older and there are many different types with different communications standards. While it would be possible to use a Tuning Resolver to communicate with most, if not all, of the head ends physically, software would be needed to support each different system. At this time the cable industry does not plan to go that route, instead pushing OCAP/Tru2Way is the solution for new products. With OCAP the platform is generic, and each MSO delivers their own software application to communicate with their own head end.

    With the Tuning Resolver in the field, that may change. Once the hardware is in place to support SDV, the barrier to supporting VOD/PPV is much lower. As ‘all it would take’ is a software update. So we may see some MSO decide to add support via the Tuning Resolver if they feel the revenue will justify the work.