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The FCC's role at CES

Rob Pegoraro

LAS VEGAS - FCC chairman Kevin Martin and commissioner Deborah Tate are walking the show floor and visiting with some of the major firms here. Some just showed off their latest hardware, but others have policy goals.

Hitachi and Intel separately asked for government intervention to establish an open market in video receivers so that a customer could use the box of their choice, whether they get their TV from cable, satelllite, fiber or some other channel. The idea: you could plug any video input - a dish on the roof or a wire from a telephone pole - into a universal terminal on the outside of your home and run whatever interface you like inside the home to watch and record TV.

That's historically been a massive sticking point in the industry: Earlier attempts - like CableCard, which didn't even affect satellite and fiber services - have done little to force open the market for these boxes.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 10, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  CES 2007 , Rob Pegoraro
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It's no surprise that the FCC has failed to create a market for the boxes - who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a box? More importantly, the CE industry has moved past boxes and toward new devices that can use the card - newer TVs and computers, namely. Instead of focusing on old technology that nobody really wants but has begrudgingly accepted for years, the FCC ought to get the video guys and the CE guys to come up with devices and services that don't need a box or card. Has anyone in Vegas been talking about software-based solutions?

Posted by: Edward | January 10, 2007 11:28 AM

Actually, on the cable side, review Open Cable Access Protocol (OCAP). This is an open API that will take effect and runs on top of a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and will allow the consumer to decide the Set Top Box for cable ... Microsoft Media Center on a PC? Purchase a mass produced STB/DVR at Best Buy and plug in?

It's happening now. I'm not sure what is up with the satellite market and the Telco's that are not under the same edict to open the Set Top Box.

Posted by: Frank | January 11, 2007 12:51 AM

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