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NCTA proposes ‘Tuning Resolver’ to aid CE devices with switched channels

Mon, 08/27/2007 - 8:30am
Mike Robuck

On Friday the National Cable & Telecommunications Association sent a 76-page filing to the Federal Communications Commission that outlined three solutions for two-way cable services and devices.

While saying the OpenCable Platform, which was formerly known as the OpenCable Application Platform or OCAP, was still the best way for consumer electronics companies and cable operators to offer two-way services, the NCTA also said in the filing that it’s willing to develop a “tuning resolver” to help consumer electronics devices receive switched linear channels.

Switched digital video (SDV) frees up bandwidth by only sending the signals that are being watched in a specific neighborhood, which allows cable operators to offer more HD channels or other services. There has been concern within the cable industry that SDV won’t work with third-party set-top boxes such as those developed by TiVo. Unidirectional digital cable products (UDCPs) aren’t capable of accessing SDV channels.

In the filing, the NCTA said it has worked with consumer electronics companies (it cited TiVo as one example) to come up with a solution that provides two-way SDV channels to one-way digital products through a small tuning resolver adapter. The tuner resolver would require firmware modifications to new UDCP products and a USB 2.0 connection. The NCTA said current TiVo DVRs have USB 2.0 connections and may be able to upgrade with firmware for SDV.

The NCTA cited the OpenCable Platform as the second solution to providing two-way cable services. The OpenCable Platform already has consumer electronics companies such as PanasonicSamsung and LG Electronics signed on for OpenCable Platform and CHILA licenses to make two-way retail devices, but the Consumer Electronics Assocation has criticized the OpenCable Platform by saying it’s too costly to develop products for.

The NCTA’s third proposal was a new network interface device for interactive services that would work across a wide variety of multichannel video programming distributor networks and not just cable.

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