Not surprisingly, CEA’s Gary Shapiro is less than pleased to see Microsoft joining cable in asking for a delay of a set-top integration ban that would require all new set-tops deployed to have CableCARDs as of July ’06. "The cable industry’s ‘Hail Mary’ pass picking off Microsoft is unfortunate, but symptomatic of an industry that wants to thwart consumer choice," he said. "…The cable industry should stop playing ‘four corners’ with this proceeding and instead apply this same level of creativity to work with the CE industry to develop a 2-way agreement and meet their commitments." As proof of its commitment, NCTA genl counsel Neal Goldberg notes cable ops have deployed more than 27K CableCARDs. "This rule would raise the cost of the cable operator’s leased set-top boxes with no corresponding benefit to consumers, since leased boxes are only used in the cable operator’s service area and do not need the portability that CableCARDs enable."

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