Set top box chassis with swappable daughter cards

Looking through the FCC photos for the Tablo Dual, I see two modules, looks like tuner and wireless modules.

I can imagine a very flexible chassis design supporting user swappable daughter cards:
Think of something along the lines of Cisco 800 series routers for a 10+ year old example. These had two interface cards. A user could purchase a chassis, and change it between T-carrier, ISDN PRI, switched Ethernet, xDSL, or the next new thing.

Look at the roster of new and upcoming tech standards: 802.11ax wireless networks, 802.3bz 2.5 and 5 Mbit wired ethernet, ATSC 3.0. Think about changing from 2-4 tuners. Hardware requirements for computing don’t change that fast. An adequate system on a chip could last 5+ years. For example, Roku 2xxx’s are still supported by release 8.1 after 6-7 years. macOS High Sierra is supported on hardware released in 2009. Windows Vista’s recommended system requirements in 2007 were 8.1’s minimums in 2013. Swappable cards would reduce the amount of electronics in the waste stream by having longer chassis lifetimes.

It would be something revolutionary in today’s Consumer Electronics field, future-proofing a device instead of planned obsolescence.

Not disagreeing necessarily, but the cost would likely more than triple… is that ok?

I don’t think it would work at triple. Off the top of my head, $400 feels like a subjective top to me. Gut feeling, no hard justifications. As a point of comparison, older Cisco 800s sold in the $200-$700 range, IIRC.

Can you elaborate on the factors that drive it to triple in your thoughts?

Size, materials, patents… you’ll just have to trust me. It’s a complete reengineering effort as well.

What makes you think it wouldn’t be triple (which, btw, is conservative)?

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I’ll have to trust you like you say. I’m a system integrator, not a hardware engineer.

I’ve used many modularized pieces of equipment in networking over a couple of decades, and seen the price ranges. That’s my only basis, and it is a broad ballpark range at best.

My statement “I don’t think it would work” is poorly worded. I should have said, I don’t think it will sell at triple, and provided my gut feeling on pricing to sell.

If it is possible to amortize some of the chassis, power supply, and mainboard components over a longer lifespan, does that change anything?

High volumes, and sometimes big name vendors “take a bath” on hw cost because they get you on “other” fees. Very true of Cisco btw.

And with all that said, there are people that would pay “triple” (or more) to get the device of their dreams.

Re: “device of their dreams”. That’s an expensive and demanding niche to play to. Disappoint that audience even a little bit, and you can bet on repercussions.

Re: Cisco and fees. Don’t I know it. Not as much on the little iron, but the big iron, Wow! I have an engineer friend at a global carrier. The numbers are hard for me to comprehend.

Thanks for the discussion on modularity.

One of my favorite examples is (was?) F5. Not too terribly long ago I know if I wanted to add IPv6 handling to an F5 (software change), I was looking at an additional $30K.

So you are proposing that low cost and hopefully high volume consumer products with a hardware component should have swappable hardware boards.

Many users don’t even take the time to read the user manual. I can hardly wait until they pop the case. But then again customer support can be a revenue source when the company charges for screw ups.

$30k for something that should have been in the box for years. It’s like paying for Y2k (something that never should have happened to that degree) all over again. Didn’t Jupiter gain a lot of market share with their IPv6 offerings vs. the competition?

Consumers, although not necessarily consumer electronics buyers, have been comfortable changing out daughtercards, for a very long time. It isn’t much different than 1990s laptop PC cards. Ever swapped out a laptop battery or optical drive? No case opening required, couple of thumbscrews and done. Not much more than a satellite receiver card or cable card insertion.

The total value of my thought was that a CE device could be future proofed a bit with modular design. That would cost a premium. CJCox conservatively estimates
3x existing price, call it ~$600. I think my idea fails at that price, even with ~7+ yr lifespan.

Too bad.