Maybe we’re closer to two-way TVs than everybody thinks now that CableLabs has signed 4 2-way licensing agreements recently with Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Digeo. NCTA yesterday asked the FCC to make those OCAP-spec agreements the standard for manufacturers to build 2-way interactive TVs. It’s notable that NCTA made its request with the CEA, with which it has been trying to develop a 2-way solution for more than a year. A key part of NCTA’s proposal deals with downloadable conditional access systems for interactive digital cable-ready devices that would eliminate the need for CableCARDS. It has a series of rolling deadlines, starting July ’08 and ending in July ’09, for 750-Mhz or higher cable systems serving 5K+ subs. NCTA believes its proposal will ensure the fastest deployment of interactive digital cable-ready devices to consumers and allow for continued innovation by MSOs. It also assures content will be protected, and includes measures (many of which are TBD) to educate consumers on the features and limits of interactive digital cable-ready products, NCTA says. With 2-way plug and play negotiations bogged down, the FCC asked cable and consumer electronics to propose a set of standards last March. A 30-day comment period will be opened on the downloadable conditional access part of the proposal. "We assume the clock starts ticking today," NCTA said. There is no set schedule for the two-way interactive digital cable-ready proposal.

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