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

  • From: "Kon Wilms" <kon@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2004 11:59:32 -0500

> > Why not?  For the reasons I stated earlier:  Too
> > many different broadcasters, too many different
> > boxes, too much potential liability.
> I just don't see this being more than the risk
> associated with any scheme to update boxes in the field.
> My example of a bum video driver update from the
> Microsoft update site being a perfect example.

Microsoft Update has 'gone wrong' a couple of times though :). I had a
bluescreen when updating video drivers a couple of times.

But thats the thing - Microsoft only offer WHQL Certified drivers from
their update site. I believe certification costs a small penny too.
Thats where this and A/97 differ in a big way. Is the ATSC going to
certify our flash updates now? :)
> 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 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).

So with these options we're looking at a lot of extra code, and a lot of
'unused' flash space which pushes up the price of the STB, and makes it
less competitive than the other el cheapo box (which cuts corners but
says it can be safely updated). 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'.


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