[mythtv-users] Another step towards what I'd predicted
mjs at qwsa.com
Tue Jan 8 02:22:29 UTC 2008
At 04:10 PM 1/5/2008, you wrote:
>This week i E-mailed the FCC and complained about the fact that allot of
>people are buying new TV's with the digital and Qam tuners and the cable
>operators are blocking us from using our tuners.. My Argument is we
>change over to digital tv's and still have to rent a stb and remote..I
>have 3 tv's so it costs $24.00 a month to do what my tv's already
>do..They E-mailed me 2 days later and asked for my home phone number so
>they could speak to me about it...Maybe if more people would e-mail
>them and tell them their cable co.won't allow them to use their TV's
>with out an stb... Can't hurt.... Sorry to jump on your post,but i
>wanted to maybe prompt a few to do as i did.... The email address is
>MBINFO at fcc.gov
The following implicitly explains cable companies' desire for stb,
namely 2-way communication to support interactive services,
pay-per-view and what not.
Comcast: Cable to Standardize Technology
Jan 7, 6:02 AM (ET)
By DEBORAH YAO
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Facing pressure from regulators, the cable TV
industry plans to make good on a promise to standardize its
technology and open the door to televisions and other gadgets that
don't need cable boxes to receive video-on-demand programs and other
An industry initiative, to be renamed "tru2way" after a decade in the
works, is expected to allow electronics manufacturers to make TVs and
other gear that will work regardless of cable provider. By making
devices compatible, the standard also could encourage the development
of new services and features that rely on two-way communication over
the cable network.
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) (CMCSA), the nation's largest cable provider,
will roll out the platform in all its markets by the end of 2008,
Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in an interview with The
Associated Press ahead of a speech Tuesday at the International
Consumer Electronics Show.
Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) is even closer to completion, Comcast
executives said. A spokesman for No. 3 provider Cox Communications
Inc. said the company will have "widespread deployment" this year.
"Our business model has changed completely, from a closed,
proprietary model to an open architecture that will work across cable
companies - not just across Comcast," Roberts said. "That was a
Herculean job to accomplish."
Craig Moffett, senior analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said the industry
is sending a hands-off signal to the Federal Communications
Commission. Last summer, FCC officials said they would soon take on
the issue of two-way compatibility between consumer electronics and
"They don't have a lot of friends at the FCC right now. The cable
industry has every reason to be nervous," Moffett said. "I suspect a
lot of this is trying to beat the FCC to the punch."
CableLabs, the cable industry's research and development arm, which
Roberts leads, was to announce Monday that its OpenCable platform,
first developed in 1997, will now be branded as "tru2way."
Cable providers and device manufacturers have long disagreed over the
technical specifications for two-way communication among their
devices. There are TVs and set-top boxes in the market that can
receive digital programming, but they can't talk back to the network,
which would allow advanced interactive services. That leaves
consumers with having to rent a box from the cable company.
And even with the new standards some discord remains.
Though the cable industry has inked separate deals with electronics
companies, including Panasonic, Samsung and LG, consumer electronics
giant Sony isn't on board.
The FCC - where Chairman Kevin Martin supports a more open and
competitive environment - is also considering a different standard
put forward by a group of consumer electronics companies.
CableLabs said it has inked licensing agreements with Intel Corp.
(INTC) and Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) to develop chips to run the
software. And Microsoft Corp. is expected to integrate the standard
into future versions of its Windows operating system for personal computers.
Comcast foresees "tru2way" branding on TVs, set-top boxes, PCs and
other devices to signal their compatibility with cable systems.
On Monday, Panasonic and Comcast plan to unveil a slew of products
that will be compatible with "tru2way," including a plasma
high-definition television, high-definition digital video recorders
and a portable DVR.
"You'll see a number of new 'tru2way' devices, and this is just the
beginning," Roberts said. "This is Day One."
The Panasonic Viera Plasma HDTV with "tru2way" will go on sale this
year. Panasonic's portable DVD player and recorder, called "AnyPlay,"
lifts off a docking station and allows consumers to watch the
programs they've recorded anywhere they like, on its 8.5-inch LCD
screen. It is to go on sale in early 2009.
Other products are expected to reach retail stores as early as the
end of 2008. The timeframe gives cable leverage over the competing
standard proposed by consumer electronics makers, whose devices might
not make it to retail until 2009 at the earliest.
Moffett said cable operators are telling the FCC that the industry
can work with consumer electronics makers on two-way cable-compatible products.
"That could tip the scales in their favor," Moffett said.
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