STB on the way out

jcarrera

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 15, 2006
901
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Florida
link: by : Yahoo! Tech

* Posted on Tue May 27, 2008 5:06PM EDT

WASHINGTON - The set-top box, a necessary appendage for millions of cable televisions for decades, is moving toward extinction.

A leading television manufacturer, Sony Electronics Inc., and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association said Tuesday they signed an agreement that will allow viewers to rid themselves of set-top boxes, yet still receive advanced "two-way" cable services, such as pay-per-view movies.

In most cases, cable viewers also could dispose of another remote control since they could use their TV's control rather than one tied to the set-top box.

The agreement marks a significant meeting of the minds between cable companies and one of the world's dominant makers of consumer electronics. The two industries have been feuding for a decade about how best to deliver cable service to customers while allowing them to buy equipment of their own choosing.

Sony agreed to use the cable industry's technology in its sets as soon as possible but could not say when the first such televisions might be appear in stores.

The agreement is between Sony and the nation's six largest cable companies: Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Bright House Networks. The six companies serve more than 82 percent of cable subscribers.

Cable subscribers are generally locked into renting a set-top box from their provider if they want more than the most basic cable TV service.

More than a decade ago, Congress ordered the cable industry to allow outside electronics makers to compete for the boxes. The industry developed the cable cards, which are inserted into televisions and add-on devices equipped to handle them.

The cards have been the source of frequent customer complaints and never proved popular. In addition, sets can only receive signals from their cable company, not vice versa. Subscribers were unable to enjoy "two-way" features such as video on demand, on-screen channel guides and cable company-provided digital video recorders.

Customers will still be able to attach their own devices — like TiVo digital video recorders, according to the NCTA.

Under the new system, customers will still need to get a cable card from their provider, but the agreement means, hopefully, technical glitches will be eliminated, "two-way" services will be available and there will be no need for the clunky boxes.

The cable association said it was hopeful other electronics manufacturers will also agree to use the same technology.

The industry hopes to head off action by the Federal Communications Commission to impose a two-way standard on the industry. The FCC declined to comment on the agreement Tuesday.
 

stevenl

SatelliteGuys Master
Jan 2, 2006
10,839
2
Disney World
Well technically they could charge less and still make the same profit. Because of the huge cost difference between the card and the box... Most boxes cost about 300$ so figure at 7$ a month that takes 42 (give or take) months of paying 7$ to cover the cost of the box. at the 300$ range, not to mention with the box you get at least 100 extra channels or so, and you figure a % of that money has to go to cover programming costs as well. Wanna know who really makes out like a bandit when it comes to boxes? The satellite companies, not only do they charge upwards of 200$ for a box you don't own it!! They still charge you a fee per month to use it!!!

So the profit margin is not nearly as high as you would think on that 7$ a month box rental...
 

jcarrera

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 15, 2006
901
0
Florida
If BHN is paying $300 for a standard STB, you are getting taken to the cleaners. No way it should cost that much. A DVR, yes. Regular STB, no.
 

stevenl

SatelliteGuys Master
Jan 2, 2006
10,839
2
Disney World
The DVRS cost in a range of 400-500$, and yes cable companies pay and so do sat companies near those prices. It may not be exactly that amount but its within 100$ of that price. and even if it its 200$ thats still 29months or so just to get back the up front cost. The new "DTA Boxes" that they are looking at buying are in the 50$ range. You also have to factor in the whole cost of the box its not just the hardware but the software. BHN has done alot to reduce this cost by building their own software. so it helps offset the costs, but they still had to pay for the software in the first place to be built.
 

Saxamoophone

SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 4, 2006
118
0
if the boxes are in the $50 range, what type of hardware will it have? any comparison to what we got now?

I could be wrong, but I think they started giving these these "boxes" out for those upset with the loss of some Analog channels that already switched to Digital.

I don't think it has a fancy guide or anything...it's just a little device that can convert digital (but old analog channels) back to analog.

I'm sure when those new HD & On-Demand Channels launch in the next few months you'll see a few more Analog Channels make the switch to digital to free up some space.

Anyone want to take bets on how many analog channels will be left by this time next year?
 

stevenl

SatelliteGuys Master
Jan 2, 2006
10,839
2
Disney World
I could be wrong, but I think they started giving these these "boxes" out for those upset with the loss of some Analog channels that already switched to Digital.

I don't think it has a fancy guide or anything...it's just a little device that can convert digital (but old analog channels) back to analog.

I'm sure when those new HD & On-Demand Channels launch in the next few months you'll see a few more Analog Channels make the switch to digital to free up some space.

Anyone want to take bets on how many analog channels will be left by this time next year?

Well BHN does offer a box for those upset over the loss of a few channels for 1$ its a regular box sorta, it just does not have the guide or anything its merely a tuner.

I hope less then 30. Id bet they keep analog for only the "Basic" tier and get rid of the standard analog tier.
 

XSwiftX

New Member
Mar 18, 2008
4
0
Cable cards.... blech! The customer cost will not change. From a service stand point cost will go up with the cable cards. You can spend hours at some places tying to get those stupid things to work right.
 

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