With the FCC hoping to have 2-way plug & play products in the retail marketplace by the ’08 holiday season, the Commission is expected to act soon on an NPRM to make 2-way devices available to consumers in order to give manufacturers lead time. The FCC believes that 2-way devices may help spur the DTV transition. The cable industry is pushing its OpenCable platform as the 2-way answer, while CEA wants something called Digital Cable Ready + that is based on existing 1-way plug & play products (Cfax, 6/29). Talks between the 2 sides are pretty much at a standstill as everyone awaits FCC input, with no formal meetings between the 2 since July 30, according to an FCC filing. DCR+ plus devices could have a limited number of cable 2-way services, such as VOD, EPG, etc.—but no future cable services could be added. OCAP- devices, however, could evolve. Cable is dead-set against DCR+, saying that consumer adoption of 1-way devices with limited capability has been abysmal and that DCR+ adoption would be the same—with operators making a costly, risky investment on their networks. CEA has expressed doubts about OCAP, telling the FCC that it wants DCR+ as an option along with OCAP. Unlike OpenCable, DCR+ won’t be ready by the ’08 holiday season or the Feb ’09 DTV transition, cable argues. At a briefing with reporters Wed that was similar to meetings being held with FCC officials, cable execs said the best solution is a small device provided by each multichannel provider (cable, DBS, telco, etc) that connects to CE devices to access video services. “We think the only way [consumers] buy the device is if it works with all networks,” said Time Warner Cable svp, strategy & dev Kevin Leddy. A digital cable ready flat screen TV would cost a few hundred dollars more but be worthless without a box if consumers switched to DBS or telco video, he said. Such an MVPD solution wouldn’t be ready by Dec ’08, but Comcast svp strategic planning Mark Coblitz said it would be finished “years” before DCR+. MVPDs wouldn’t have to use OCAP or cable’s security systems, instead using their own middleware. But the small device would have the same outputs and remote control commands across all providers.