Copyright 2002 Warren Publishing, Inc.
Consumer electronic and cable industries are expected to submit proposed DTV interoperability standards to the FCC this week, setting the stage for the introduction of the first sets with POD (point of development) modules by late 2003, industry sources said.
Assuming the FCC adopts the proposed standards (details weren't available at our deadline), CEA is likely to drop a lawsuit it filed in October challenging FCC order mandating that DTV tuners be installed in all TV receivers by July 2007, we're told. CEA argued that the order exceeded the Commission's legal authority and violated the Communications Act of 1934.
The Original goal was to submit a proposed standard on Nov. 4, a target that was postponed to Nov. 8 and then to this week. Sources said negotiations were down to final details and that no hurdles had emerged that would prevent filing with FCC.
The proposed standard would cap more than three months of negotiations between CE and the cable industry. Cable industry-financed CableLabs had proposed POD-Host Licensing Agreement (PHILA), but CE manufacturers sought to modify it. Among compromises, industry sources said, were that CE manufacturers not be required to submit TVs and other devices to CableLabs for testing and certification, a process that could slow product delivery and development. CE manufacturers also had been critical of selectable output controls (SOCs) that would have allowed MSOs to remotely disable the ability of the box to feed content to various devices and allow only low-resolution transmissions.
The industries had been expected to submit interoperability proposal to the FCC on Nov. 4, but extended the deadline to Nov. 8 in an effort to finalize details, sources said. CEA's Video Board also must give final approval to the proposal, with a vote expected Nov. 13 or 14, sources said. "There were lots of things that had to be worked out, but both sides moved toward making this happen," one source said.
Modules are expected to be introduced in high-end rear-projection TVs that at start will carry $800-$1,000 premium over existing models, sources said. The premium charged for POD-based TVs is likely to be "reduced somewhat" by late 2003, but price will "still be a significant number," they said. POD-Host Interface provides standardized secure communications link between POD and host DTV. Panasonic rankled many in CE industry earlier this fall in breaking ranks to sign POD-Host agreement with CableLabs with goal of introducing TVs based on it by fall 2003. Several other CE manufacturers also were said to be nearing pacts with CableLabs.