Print 27 comment(s) - last by Argon18.. on Dec 10 at 4:24 PM

Gov't agency tries to placate TiVo, who objected to the plan in 2010

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission -- upset that cable television providers (CTPs) did not allow streaming of HD video via secured connections like the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard -- in 2010 decided to force the issue proposing an order to force CTPs to stream.  The industry was less than enthusiastic and TiVo Inc. (TIVO), the largest maker of video-recorder set-top boxes, was particularly upset.

Commented TiVo, fearful that the new requirements would lead to CTPs locking it out, "If each cable operator deploys set-top boxes with its own understanding of an open industry standard, the result may be an outcome that is neither standard nor open."

The FCC listened and now it's come back with a revised version of the plan, which makes it clear the CTPs can deploy their own "open" standards as they wish, but the standards must be well-documented and easy enough that PC and set-top box makers could implement them on the receiver side with no contact with the cable provider.

[Image Source: Streaming Media Hosting]

The new set of rules, set to be made mandatory by June 2, 2014, also clarifies what capabilities are expected of the HD streams:
  • recordable high-definition video
  • closed captioning data
  • service discovery
  • video transport
  • remote control command pass-through
DLNA Premium Video Profile, an HD-compliant version of the secure-streaming standard set to be ratified in 2013, was suggested as one possible option for cable companies.

A minor caveat is that small CTPs, with less than 400,000 customers, will get an additional 3 months to comply with the ruling (they will have to be compliant by Sept. 2, 2014).

Source: FCC

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By someguy123 on 12/6/2012 10:06:47 PM , Rating: 4
It's not as though these cable companies work under a free market to begin with. They all have legal monopolies in their respective territories done to drive infrastructure development. Since they can't just tell them to give up the lines they paid for you may as well try to keep them from monopolizing other aspects of television/cable.

By ebakke on 12/7/12, Rating: -1
By someguy123 on 12/7/2012 1:19:16 AM , Rating: 4
No, allowing someone to become a monopoly is the exact opposite of regulation. Normally this position would require antitrust regulation, but they were able to obtain legal monopoly rights based on the cost of infrastructure and whatever else you may want to infer, so the FCC has no control over their monopoly status.

Preventing monopolization of other aspects of cable is more in line with free market rights than allowing monopolies to abuse their position.

By othercents on 12/7/2012 8:19:25 AM , Rating: 2
But are they a monopoly when there are competing satellite services and why are they not requiring satellite services to do the same?

By Argon18 on 12/10/2012 4:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
Because satellite sucks and no cares about them? I mean seriously, I don't watch much TV, usually only when it's raining or snowing outside- which is precisely when satellite tv shows "error: signal loss" on the screen. it's about as useful as a light bulb that only works in the day time. lol.

By someguy123 on 12/7/2012 1:35:30 AM , Rating: 3
Also I should add that the FCC is basically protecting the ability to do what you're describing. If you actually read the article the fear is that the cable providers will block out regular competition by encrypting their signals so that only their own set top boxes may stream, effectively reducing the value of competing boxes.

You could apply this to your "digital distribution" scenario as well. if cable companies were to create their own distribution service they could simply block other distributors from their network. thanks to their monopoly contracts, competitors can't come in (most can't afford to lay wire to begin with) and local consumers would have no choice but to go with their current provider. at that point the only choice is to regulate.

By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, the cable companies want to do everything in their power to stop the inevitable change from cable provided programming to direct online streaming. If consumers don't stay on top of this they might just get their way.

By FITCamaro on 12/7/2012 8:24:46 AM , Rating: 1
So maybe, just maybe, we get the government out of the picture, not put it deeper in.

By Piiman on 12/8/2012 10:00:20 AM , Rating: 2
And if you think the Cable providers will then do something good for you(lower rates? better service? etc etc) you're sadly mistaken.

By ebakke on 12/8/2012 10:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
So maybe they do things that are "bad for you". If they keep doing that but don't have the protections of a government enforced monopoly, then someone else will offer something better. I think that'd be "good for you".

By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
It's not as though these cable companies work under a free market to begin with

Exactly they have been granted government enforced monopolies.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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