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CEA Files Digital Cable Comments with FCC
Nov 30, 2004
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Digital cable ready (DCR) television sets are a marketplace reality that requires the full backing of both the consumer electronics (CE) and cable industries, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) wrote in a filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

CEA filed its comments in response to submissions from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and its members, urging the FCC to lift its requirement that cable operators and competitive products rely on a common interface for purposes of conditional access. The interface and conditional access measures provide protections to prevent theft of service and damage to the cable system.

"Consumer electronics manufacturers have invested countless hours and millions of dollars to design and produce digital cable ready television sets," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "We celebrated the arrival of digital cable ready sets at the 2004 International CES and today, more than 100 models are on the market. We'll likely see DCR capabilities in other devices, such as digital video recorders (DVR), going forward, but for the consumer to fully benefit from and understand digital cable ready, the cable and CE industries must work together to promote and support CableCARD."

CEA argued in the filing that the only way to assure a competitive supply of digital cable set-top boxes and digital cable ready TV sets is to ensure that the devices supplied by cable operators rely on the same CableCARDs for security that must be used by equipment supplied through competitive retail outlets.

"When a common security interface prevails in the marketplace, and a framework for 'interactive' competitive products has finally been achieved, the Commission will finally be close to having achieved one of the Congress's essential goals -- competition from a range of independently offered products, such as DVRs, DVD players, game players, PCs, etc., that can work directly on digital cable," CEA wrote. "The ability of these players to sport a common security interface, and to service legacy analog TVs at the same time, will more than make up for any residual cost saving by hardwiring proprietary, non-renewable security into navigation devices."

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