Amid criticism that cable and CE’s plug & play agreement didn’t include enough outside players, cable and CE leaders have pledged to seek input from 3rd parties on a 2-way plug & play agreement. The comments came Wed in the NCTA’s 3rd status report to the FCC on discussions for a 2-way agreement. "Both cable and CE representatives believe the input of third parties from here on is important to this process and will address concerns expressed to us (and to the Commission) by 3rd parties who were not participants in the 1-way discussions," the filing said. EchoStar [DISH] and DirecTV have voiced concerns about not being privy to the 1-way agreement approved by the Commission. NCTA said it’s seeking input from both companies and that 2-way discussions are "getting fully underway" (2-way has been in somewhat of a holding pattern as some of the details for the 1-way agreement took precedence). CE and cable said they’re already talking with a number of outside folks, including IT and program content reps, on 1-way plug & play products. On the consumer side, CE and cable have cooked up a common logo to alert consumers to devices that are "Digital Cable Ready" and "Interactive Digital Cable Ready," as well as consumer education materials. The filing also updated the FCC on 1-way developments, noting that 4 major metropolitan areas have successfully tested for compliance with 1- way digital cable products. Additionally, several DTV manufacturers have used CableLabs’ testing facilities for their CableCARD-enabled devices (9 manufacturers used the facilities in Nov and Dec, up from 7 in Oct and 5 in Sept).

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