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Motorola and Pioneer pledge to smooth transition to basic digital cable-ready television

Under a new agreement, Motorola's set-tops will plug-and-play with with Pioneer's plasma displays.

Motorola and Pioneer, confident that the new proposed FCC rules for cable plug-and-play will soon become reality, have announced that they will begin testing procedures to assure compatibility between Motorola’s MediaCipher conditional access system and Pioneer’s flat-screen plasma HD compatible TVs.

The test, the companies said, is the first of its kind to bring together independently developed POD (point of deployment) and plasma HD compatible TV host technology.

Motorola recently expanded its MediaCipher conditional access system to include an OpenCable POD module, in adherence to the FCC requirements to offer separable security for consumer electronics devices. Pioneer has developed a basic digital cable-ready television that targets compatibility with OpenCable POD modules such as the Motorola MediaCipher POD.

The OpenCable compatibility testing is scheduled to begin at the Motorola MediaCipher integration lab in San Diego, Calif., as the first step toward a 2003 rollout. That rollout is dependent upon FCC approval of the new interconnect rules. Any FCC decision will probably be contingent upon agreement from the Hollywood motion picture industry and direct-to-home satellite operators.

The engineering efforts of the two companies will be in compliance with CableLabs OpenCable host specification and proposed technical standards currently under review by the FCC.

The Motorola MediaCipher POD module contains an embedded version of the complete access control/decryption hardware and firmware subsystem that is currently built into all Motorola set tops. The POD module — which has a similar form factor to a PCMCIA module — contains Motorola’s security circuitry as well as an embedded battery backup for increased tamper resistance.

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