FCC Gets CableCARD Comments

When we last left the Federal Communications Commission, it was thinking over ways to improve the CableCARD situation, as well as the card's next-generation successor. As part of that process, it requested comments from all and sundry. Be careful what you wish for.

The comments are in and Engadget has provided a helpful summary of them.

They are about what longtime observers would have predicted. Panasonic, Sony, TiVo, and the Consumer Electronics Association are bubbling over with ways to implement AllVid, FCC chair Julius Genachowski's suggestion of a next-gen gateway to consumer electronics devices.

But the cable companies--along with their trade association, plus satellite and telco providers--are rebeling against the whole idea of a new cable ready and set-top box standard. Having tried to control the set top with their own boxes literally for decades, they are not about to give up what they view as their rightful hegemony over the user interface for their video and interactive services.

So history repeats itself. Big cable torpedoed the CableCARD by first signing agreements to support it, then dragging its heels in the implementation. Even if the FCC goes through with AllVid, there's no guarantee that the same thing won't happen again.

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