The FCC is considering moving up a deadline prohibiting cable operators from deploying advanced set-tops to subscribers. The deadline is currently set for Jan. 1, 2005, but Circuit City and other retailers want it moved up to 2003. The retailers are complaining that the extended deadline is hampering competition in the set-top box market.
Cablevision has a $1 billion program lined up to deploy set-tops with security features to New York area subscribers. If the FCC were to move the deadline forward, Cablevision would be forced to deploy the boxes without the security features.
In other FCC news, digital TV manufacturers in a letter asked the commission to require all TV networks to provide digital high-definition programming to speed up the transition away from analog TV service.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said the transition is stalled because networks are not required to provide HDTV programming, cable operators are not required to carry local digital-TV signals and the FCC has not yet settled the dispute over the broadcasters' digital transmission standard.
"We urge the FCC to focus on the content side of the DTV transition," the CEA letter stated.