[opendtv] Re: Over the air updates for STB's

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "OpenDTV (E-mail)" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2004 16:21:04 -0500

> > Each manufacturer creates his own "closed system,"
> > if you will, with his own safeguards built into the
> > upgrade executable files. The broadcaster would only
> > be required to transmit the files per A/97, nothing
> > more.
> You don't need A/97 to send an update though. My
> question is - who is going to make this A/97 server and
> deploy it? Updates are always a feature that people
> take for granted and expect as a standard part of a
> system if it is available. Its hard to associate a
> monetary value with a firmware update system.

I agree that updates could have been made available
even before A/97. An enterprising manufacturer, with
A/90 *and* with the will to provide the server, could
have installed this capability already. But that would
be an expensive way to go. Because each manufacturer
might take a different tack, meaning potentially
incompatible servers for each one.

The money aspect shouldn't be too difficult, though.
Providing the software upgrades would be a service
that manufacturers would pay the broadcaster to
support. Would be an example of "innovative services"
the broadcasters would provide with DTT datacast.

> I also think there is one other problem though. In
> order to update in an unsafe manner, one just needs
> enough space to store the update flash image. In
> order to update in a safe manner -- one that is
> resilient to 'bad images' -- the box needs to store
> the current running image AND the newly arrived
> image -- if the update fails the box needs logic to
> reset itself to the prior working image (or the user
> can do it via key combination on the front panel).

Yes, and I alluded to this very problem. I agree.
However, a manufacturer interested in providing OTA
upgrades would certainly have to accommodate this
safe upgrade procedure. And for that matter, any
manufacturer interested in allowing field upgrades
would have to worry about this regardless. Even if
he mails out memory sticks. Recovery from disaster
is always what makes this upgrade stuff difficult.

> If you hang up these boxes in the field the 3rd
> party A/97 update server manufacturer is the one
> that will get the blame for 'delivering the updates
> incorrectly'.

Could be, especially at first. It would not take
long to figure out who is to blame, however, and
this is no different from what ISPs have to deal
with now. Who gets blamed if your laborious Windows
update didn't work? The ISP whose connection was
bad or Microsoft? There's always that middleman.

Really, the *only* difference here is that TV is
expected to be bulletproof, whereas PCs are
expected to be a royal pain. So those who
continually profess that TVs should be more like
PCs should temper their over-enthusiasm.

I really don't find anything substantially
different in the OTA TV upgrade, except for user
expectations of TV vs user expectations of

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