CableCARD, Tech Firms Want it, Cable Companies Don’t

Emmy Advanced Media – Television Business News: Tech Firms Want New FCC Box Rule In the ongoing drama between the advocates for expanding what you can do with your television — in my mind the “good guys” (Microsoft, TiVo, OEMs, etc.) and those that would rather maintain much stricter control over your content — in my mind the “bad guys” (Comcast, DirecTV, etc.), Shelly Palmer blogs today about the new FCC Box Rule. At issue here is the adoption of CableCARD technology which would make it much easier for PC and Consumer Electronic companies to build HDTV recorders and the like.

Cable operators have been dragging their heels and are being forced into the PVR revolution as relucatant participants. They have enjoyed the benefits of a captive audience for too long and quite frankly don’t want you having more freedom with your television — it is not in their economic interest.

However, The FCC is here not to protect cable company profits but to represent American consumers and communication advancement. Not only should the FCC insist on the July 1, 2006 mandate that new cable set-top boxes include CableCARD technology, but they should stregthen their language and postion to require the adoption of bi-directional CableCARDs by July 1, 2006 in order to enhance what can be done with recording HDTV and other video on demand type technology and services.

In a letter, “H-P joined 11 other companies, including Sharp Electronics Corp. and Dell Inc., in urging the FCC to reject cable’s proposal that the agency should eliminate the ban or postpone its effective date by 18 months.

“The only way to ensure that consumers enjoy the benefits of a competitive marketplace is to maintain the requirement that devices supplied by cable operators rely on the same CableCARDs for security that must be used by equipment supplied through competitive retail outlets,” the companies told the FCC in a Feb. 18 letter.”

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