National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President Michael Powell sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, itemizing reasons why AllVid is unnecessary. AllVid is an FCC initiative to stimulate competitiveness in the retail video device marketplace. The FCC has issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) for AllVid.

Powell wrote:
"The Cable Show illustrated the many innovative approaches that are already empowering consumers, and many more innovations are rapidly emerging:

  • Live linear and on-demand cable video is being offered as a clickable retail application on Internet-connected televisions, tablets and PCs.
  • TV Everywhere offerings are expanding from the PC to other devices such as smart phones and tablets.
  • New cloud-based interfaces introduced by Comcast enable searchable guides, applications, and social networking tools; and a new partnership with Skype is bringing wide-screen Internet video conferencing to the television.
  • Standards-based home networking is providing new ways to navigate and combine video content from a variety of sources.
  • More business-to-business approaches were announced to distribute programming and content and to combine the worlds of retail devices, Web, and MVPD service. 
  • Cable operators and programmers also continue to embrace cloud-delivery mechanisms."

In his 8-page letter, Powell presented an exhaustive list of next generation and multi-screen video services created within the cable industry, including applications on retail televisions, applications on tablets and retail DVRs, television from the cloud, set-top boxes combining TV and Web content, and home networking of content.

Powell’s letter concluded: "It is especially noteworthy that these welcome developments have taken place without technology mandates and often in the face of existing regulatory impediments. Almost every one of these approaches was developed despite the CableCARD. Many of the major technology improvements in the last few years – such as switched digital video, digital transport adapters, replacement of the 1394 connector with IP connectors – resulted from waiver or elimination of CableCARD requirements (and, unfortunately, only after laborious regulatory or waiver processes). The various prescriptions for future regulatory steps to succeed CableCARD would fare no better.

"The ‘AllVid’ solution suggested in the Commission’s NOI would have required a costly and unnecessary piece of hardware, and, if such a rule had been in place, would have prevented the delivery of cloud-based MVPD services directly to tablets and other third-party devices.  Today, some predict that ‘set-tops are clearly moving to the point where they are either a piece of software that lives in another device, or they’re virtualized totally in the cloud,’ a world that would be impermissible under proposals in the AllVid NOI."

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