Comcast and Boxee, the Internet television developer, reached an agreement that will allow users of Boxee set-top boxes to access encrypted cable programming from Comcast. The relationship was revealed in a letter from Comcast to the FCC.
Boxee, introduced in 2008, is a software application in a box that enables television set users to view, rate and recommend content to their friends through social networking services and interactive media related features. Boxee recently announced the ability to watch live TV on the Boxee Box with the introduction of a live TV accessory.
In the letter to the FCC, Comcast and Boxee said they have worked out “an initial and a long-term solution” for cable customers with IP-enabled clear QAM devices—such as the Boxee Box from D-Link—to access encrypted basic-tier channels, once the commission allows MSOs to engage in full-lineup encryption.
“Comcast and Boxee representatives expressed their belief that the initial and long-term solutions provide a strong foundation for a final order in the above-referenced proceeding by resolving issues raised by Boxee in the basic tier encryption rulemaking while also enabling cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier in their all-digital systems as quickly as possible,” the companies said in the filing.
The initial solution involves the development as soon as possible of a high-definition digital transport adapter with an Ethernet connector (“E-DTA”), the letter said. This solution would enable a customer with a third-party device to access basic tier channels directly through an Ethernet input on such third-party device or via the home network, and to change channels remotely in the E-DTA via a DLNA protocol.
“The long-term solution, which would follow shortly after the initial solution, involves the creation of a licensing path for integrating DTA technology into third-party devices (‘Integrated DTA’),” the letter said. “Such a device could access encrypted basic tier channels without the need for a cable operator-supplied DTA or set-top box.”
Comcast and Boxee representatives expressed their belief that the initial and long-term solutions provide “a strong foundation” for a final order in the above-referenced proceeding by resolving issues raised by Boxee in the basic tier encryption rulemaking while also enabling cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier in their all-digital systems as quickly as possible.
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