Major cable operators and consumer electronics trade groups must begin filing status reports with the FCC on Oct. 1 on how they plan to meet a new deadline for eliminating cable set-top boxes that combine anti-theft security with channel surfing and interactive functions.
Thereafter, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Consumer Electronics Association must file status reports every 60 days on their progress toward making sure that retail equipment will be available to replace the integrated boxes. The two groups are negotiating technical standards for two-way plug-and-play TV sets that will permit interactivity with on-screen ads, games and other services.
Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Adelphia, and Cablevision must file status reports every 90 days on the availability of software that will allow subscribers to activate set-top boxes they've purchased at retail using a coded CableCard provided by their local operator to grant access to programming.
Last March the FCC delayed a ban on all-in-one security/navigation devices by one year, to July 2007. The postponement was the second time the deadline had been delayed. The purpose of the latest delay was to give operators a chance to come up with downloadable security software.