Wow, in the past couple of days there has been an interesting flurry of online activity about CableCARD, Switched Digital Video (SDV), and the Tuning Resolver. HD GURU posted an ‘investigative report’ entitled“How The Cable Industry Plans to Cheat 10+ Million HDTV Owners”, so you might guess at the tone. Unfortunately, there are a few factual errors in the post – for example, all CableCARDs are two-way capable and always have been. Mike Schwartz from CableLabs responded with an extensive comment that I recommend reading if you read the post. (I’d link to it but the blog doesn’t appear to support comment links, just scroll down a bit.)
The HDTiVo Blog picked it up from there (which is where I found the link to the HD GURU post). Gizmodo also picked up the story, though I have a nit to pick:“Our friend Gary Merson, the HD Guru, has uncovered an issue that may soon piss you off.” Uncovered? Gizmodo hasn’t been paying attention, blogs such as this one, Zatz Not Funny, and others have mentioned the SDV issue and Tuning Resolver repeatedly for quite a while now. Just one example, the issue with Bright House cable pulling channels, and then returning them. This is hardly a surprise issue if you’ve been paying attention. And, unfortunately, Gizmodo repeated the errors from the original post.
Anyway, CableLabs responded to Gizmodo’s original post, and Gizmodo shared the information in a follow-up post. I’m glad a statement came out of it to help clarify things a bit, and correct the misconceptions.
Over at Zatz Not Funny, Dave Zatz chimed in on the SDV Tuning resolver issue as well. Including a link to the most solid, and best, news to come out of the whole thing, at Media Experiences 2 Go. Mari Silbey of Motorola reports that Motorola’s Tuning Resolver implementation, now officially the MTR700, has sailed through CableLabs interoperability testing ‘with flying colors’. The next step is CableLabs certification testing with product submission in April in preparation for the certification board meeting in June. So, presuming the device gets certified, it will be ready at the end of June. Which means it would be very unlikely to make the 2Q2008 release schedule, but will probably be available in early 3Q08. Motorola will be exhibiting the MTR700 at The Cable Show in New Orleans in May. While it may not seem that way to those awaiting a solution, the development of the Tuning Resolver has been extremely fast for a new piece of hardware. The cable industry is really fast-tracking development to get the Tuning Resolver out there as fast as possible. Now it is up to the consumer electronics industry to provide compatible firmware for CableCARD devices with USB ports. (TiVo is, of course, already on board.)
Back in November when the Motorola Tuning Resolver was first revealed, it was noted that it strongly resembled their DCT700 cable box. The MTR700 model number seems to indicate the commonality is more than cosmetic.