Replacing the CableCARD Regime

By  |  Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm

For about a year, and as directed by Congress, the FCC has been working on their (our) National Broadband Plan. With the goal of ensuring access while maximizing usage and potential. Whatever that may mean. But hopefully does not include Chatroulette. As you might imagine of a government report, the newly released National Broadband Plan covers a lot of territory. So instead of reading each of the 376 pages, take a look at DSLReports for some consumer-centric highlights. You might also want to hit Engadget for a few corporate responses. However, given our general focus here, I wanted to address the cable-co…

Section 4.13 discusses the current CableCARD landscape and associated challenges. Specifically, they address the SDV hurt fest, pricing obfuscation, “installation” hoop jumping, and CableCARD certification burden. And the FCC would like to see this all cleaned up by the fall. This year. It’s certainly a goal we can get behind. But, yeah, good luck with that.

Section 4.12 proposes more open access to a cable operator’s programming and services. In fact, they’re backing the “gateway” concept, suggested by TiVo and others in the CE space, opening the cable-co’s network to all manner of devices. Which certainly sounds more appealing than mandated cable-co UIs pushed down via tru2way (not long for this world?). Here’s what the FCC would like to see from a gateway device by 12/31/12:

  • Should use open, published standards for discovering, signaling, authenticating and communicating with retail devices.
  • Should allow retail devices to access all MVPD content and services to which a customer has subscribed and to display the content and services without restrictions or requirements on the device’s user interface or functions and without degradation in quality (e.g., due to transcoding).
  • Should not require restrictive licensing, disclosure or certification. Any criterion should apply equally to retail and operator-supplied devices. Any intellectual property should be available to all parties at a low cost and on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
  • Should pass video content through to retail devices with existing copy protection flags from the MVPD.

Of course, THE cable industry doesn’t quite see eye to eye on all points. As they’ve got a business to protect. And seem to suggest that IPTV and satellite television services should be held to similar standards. (Agreed.) We can also thank the NCTA for the title of this post. As it’s a direct quote. I don’t have a problem specifically with CardCARD technology but, as implemented, this ineffective regime needs to be overthrown.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

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