12.16.2005 08:00 AM
Cable industry proposes interactive digital cable solution

The cable industry has submitted a package of voluntary commitments and proposed regulations to the FCC that would enable consumer electronics manufacturers to develop digital TVs and other devices delivering interactive digital cable services without a set-top box.

Instead of using a set-top box, the new Interactive Digital Cable Ready (IDCR) devices would use a CableCARD similar to the one used for one-way DCR services.

A separate report from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association highlighted the cable industry’s willingness to deploy a downloadable security system capable of working with both cable operator-supplied set-top boxes and IDCR devices. In its filing, the NCTA reported that deployment of a Downloadable Conditional Access System (DCAS) could be rolled out by July 1, 2008. A downloadable security system should increase the number of set-top box suppliers for cable operators because they can deploy any set-top equipment that includes DCAS.

According to the NCTA, DCAS can replace the existing and more expensive CableCARD-based “separate security” system for retail IDCR devices, thereby making such equipment more affordable at retail.

The proposals were submitted in response to the FCC’s request that the cable and consumer electronics industries submit status reports on discussions regarding two-way devices and concrete proposals to bring two-way DCR products to market as quickly as possible.

Cable’s proposal for two-way devices includes specifications and license agreements that have been developed by the cable industry’s research and development organization, CableLabs, and have been commercially accepted.

To read the filings, visit www.ncta.com/pdf_files/NCTA11-30ReportonIDCPBidirectionalPlugnPlay.pdf,

www.ncta.com/pdf_files/NCTA11-30ReportonDownloadableSecurityDCAS.pdf and

www.ncta.com/pdf_files/CEA-NCTAJointStatusRpt-FINAL113005.pdf

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