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NCTA pushes for FCC 'plug-and-play' adoption

Mon, 04/28/2003 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, in reply comments filed Monday, urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a proposed agreement for set-top-free digital televisions.

The agreement warrants prompt FCC adoption of the cable-CE "plug-and-play" agreement because it serves the public interest, the NCTA argued. The organization cited assurances that next-gen digital sets would be capable of receiving high-definition signals with full image quality, and that the agreement would spur vendors to speed the production of new digital TVs and services.

The association also noted that the agreement includes "rules of the road" on home recording capabilities and proposes copy protection rules for digital content that are based on existing laws and agreements between studios and consumer electronics companies.

NCTA reiterated that any method used to close the "analog hole" should not put the cable industry at a competitive disadvantage with DBS, but that any rule should be made to apply to all multichannel video providers. For that reason, the issue of down-resolution of top-tier digital content delivered via analog outputs is not addressed in the proposal, but is currently out for comment, NCTA wrote.

The comments follow an FCC decision on Friday to push back a deadline that would ban cable operators from deploying digital set-tops with integrated encryption. The FCC's deadline, originally scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2005, was extended to July 1, 2006.

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