Those 2-way plug & play talks continue; cable and CE manufacturers have held more than 30 face-to-face meetings since the 1-way agreement was signed in ’02, an NCTA FCC filing says. The discussions are the framework for allowing CE makers to build digital-ready TV sets capable of VOD and other interactive services. One-way digital-ready TVs, which aren’t capable of interactive functions, are already on the market. As the 2-way discussions heat up, NCTA is making sure it holds larger meetings with all potentially affected parties (the movie studios and DBS guys raised a stink at the FCC when they weren’t included in the 1st plug & play deal). These larger meetings have consisted of 80- 100+ attendees and were held in DC (3 meetings), Chicago and L.A. The 1st included 12 CE makers, CEA, 7 studios, MPAA, 4 group owners of programming, 6 "prominent" IT/PC companies, DirecTV, EchoStar, NAB and MSTV. "The size and scope of these meetings, and the presence of cross-industry competitors when issues touch on proprietary matters, necessarily influence the speed with which issues can be resolved," NCTA said. That doesn’t sound especially promising for a speedy resolution… CableCARDs: The NCTA’s plug & play update was part of a larger FCC filing that argued against requiring cable operators to deploy only CableCARD-enabled set-tops after July 1, ’06. The FCC rule is aimed at encouraging set-top availability at retail. CableCARD-enabled set-tops would allow consumers to purchase a set-top from the manufacturer of their choice. The Commission has said it would reassess the rule by Jan 1, ’05, a timeline that worries NCTA. The trade group says it takes 18 months for ops to have boxes ordered and delivered, which would make it hard to meet a July 1, ’06 deadline. NCTA wants the deadline dropped altogether, arguing that the availability of plug & play devices and CableCARD products makes it unnecessary. It also said a ban would stymie the goal of creating a $35-$50 digital set-top because of the expense of CableCARDs.

The Daily


Final Debate Numbers

According to the early numbers, 55.2mln viewers tuned into the second and final showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden across Fox News

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up