FCC Proceeds on Plug & Play

The FCC may issue its plug-and-play guidelines as early as next week, the agency indicated. According to the FCC's agenda for the Sept. 10 open meeting, it will consider a Second Report and Order that would allow consumers to walk into a retail store, buy a television, go home and hook it up to their preferred cable service without having to mess with a set-top box.

The retail-conscious Consumer Electronics Association has pushed hard for plug & play rules. The cable industry, with its millions of rented set-tops in the field, has been less enthusiastic, but nevertheless worked out a plug-and-play agreement with the CEA last December, at the behest of the FCC. Since then, both parties have been waiting for the FCC to codify their agreement, which includes certain copyright protection measures.