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Picture of USSB "Bridge"

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by ejjames, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

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    That's kind of amazing that the system was/is designed to be completely independently managed by two companies on the same satellite. Obviously there had to be *some* collaboration to manage channel numbers, but the fact that EPG data and conditional access was duplicated is surprising.
     
  2. Christopher Gould

    Christopher Gould Icon

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    the channel numbers were easy. everything USSB be had was in the 900's
     
  3. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I wonder if it is much different than today with multiple uplink centers. The information on DirecTV's and USSB's servers would need to be shared so a change on one system would affect the others. The only difference I can see is with one company the changes would be done at one office and propagated instead of being done at two or more different points.

    I assume all the data and control streams are still built at each uplink center (and not built at one and sent to the other centers as a data stream). The individual "per transponder" data streams would be best done at the actual uplink center (even if the changes were remotely controlled).

    It is easy to forget how much infrastructure is behind the scenes. All we have to do is turn on the receiver and change channels. All the "where's the channel" and authorization is transparent (to us).
     
  4. Scott in FL

    Scott in FL Godfather

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    I worked for GlobeCast in London back in the 90's and early 2000's. GlobeCast was one of four companies that uplinked to Sky (actually the Eurobird and Astra satellites). Customers would call Sky to subscribe, Sky would keep the subscriber base, and send the conditional access information via a terrestrial link to the applicable uplinker (depending on who was uplinking a particular channel). We'd insert it into the transport stream, and the customer's receiver would be authorized.

    Sky maintained the call center and customer support, etc. We never talked to the customer. And they did this for three other uplink service providers, in addition to us.

    Sort of the same technology.
     
  5. SamC

    SamC Hall Of Fame

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    The one I had still exists. I sold it to my brother-in-law and he sold it to a bar. It had an "S-video" imput and the ones based on RCA plugs. It also had output RCA plugs so you could hook up a VCR "going and coming". It would only get the old HD, the ones that showed up on two-digit channel numbers. When the current HD came out, I got a traditional box, and the installers had never heard of the built-in deal I had. We hooked the box up via the S-video and deauthorized the built-in box. It did not "intergrate" the OTA channels, you just toggled between "DirecTV", "antenna" and "AUX" (which was what the S-video imput was labeled). So with today's system, theoretically (the bar has it hooked up to cable via the antenna imput) it would still get DirecTV SD and OTA ATSC and any NTSC that is still out there.
     
  6. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

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    Today I'm sure the CA data is all merged into one big stream. With call centers all over along with the website, those commands probably go into one CA system that would likely send the CA stream to all uplink centers, because no matter what channel you're tuned to, your CA data is always up to date.

    I have to think that something similar was going on with DirecTV/USSB. Someone had to be "prime" (IE: who owned the satellite and managed its operations?) and I would imagine the other company simply sent CA data to get sucked up into the stream of data. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like it would be workable.
     
  7. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Still a bit confused here;

    Why would CA info. need to be conveyed to all uplink centers? :confused:

    Wouldn't all CA data as well as all other control information be sent to receivers by uplinking it to certain designated transponders on 101 Ku and possibly mirrored on 119 from one main site (with backup site(s) of course) which maintains (or is certainly in communications with) the subscriber database of authorized customers and their packages?
     
  8. Jeremy W

    Jeremy W Hall Of Fame

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    It wouldn't. 101 and 119 (for legacy systems) are all that's needed, just like the guide data. I believe that Castle Rock is where all of the CA is handled.
     
  9. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    For that to work all receivers would occasionally need to tune to the right transponder on the right satellite to get CA information. It is more robust to place that information on as many transponders as possible - so you don't have to have a customer tune to a specific channel in order to enable or disable their receiver.
     
  10. Jeremy W

    Jeremy W Hall Of Fame

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    I have no reason to believe that the CA data is any different than the guide data, which is transmitted on one transponder at 101, and one transponder at 119. Because of the way DirecTV designed the stack plan, that's all that's necessary. And with SWM, 119 isn't even needed anymore.
     
  11. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Isn't there a trickle EPG?
     
  12. Jeremy W

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    IIRC all guide data beyond 24 hours is a trickle.
     
  13. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    AIUI, all DirecTV receivers actually have a dedicated "Network Tuner" separate from TV programming user accessible ones which operate in the background and invisible to the user that not occasionally, but always tunes to the specific transponder on 101 or 119 carrying the channel guide, CA, system information, and all other necessary control data.
     
  14. Jeremy W

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    I understand it exactly the way you said it.
     
  15. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Just for clarity, I'm told it's actually two designated transponders at 101 and 119, one odd the other even, used for this purpose so the Network Tuner may receive authorization, guide, and system control data regardless of the dish polarities which happen to be selected by TV program tuner(s) at any particular time. :)
     
  16. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Interesting ... that would help get away from the need to put the data on other satellites - although it does cost another RF tuner circuit.
     
  17. JosephB

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    But would that work on a legacy receiver with a phase 3 dish? Suppose you're watching something from 110. Does the switch not work in a way that you only get the sat + polarity combo that you're watching? So if you were on 110 (either way) you would miss the data? I know that immediately following a CA data command it's repeated very often, but it starts to taper off and eventually stops.
     
  18. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    That dish stacks the 110 feed with the 119 feed ... so one would still have access to a polarity of 119 on the cable while watching a 110 hosted channel.
     
  19. Jeremy W

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    The way the stack plan works, you're always seeing 101 or 119 no matter what orbital slot you're actually using. If you're watching 110, you're also seeing 119. The SWM system gets around this by extracting the data from 101, and feeding it on a dedicated channel. That's why the signal strength screen on a SWM system always shows one more channel than the system actually supports.
     

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  20. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

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    Ah, got it. That lends even more to the hypothesis that either USSB or DirecTV had to be running a "master" EPG/CA system that the other company fed into.

    fake edit: According to Wikipedia, if I'm reading the wording correctly, there was a common company that handled billing, and Hughes (DirecTV) built and operated the satellite, so I'd be willing to bet money that USSB's activations and EPG data flowed through DirecTV's systems.
     

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