Looks like Comcast will be fighting tooth and nail to wiggle out of the upcoming CableCARD mandate deadline (just like the last 2 times) IMO if they are successful a third time, I think CableCARD is pretty much dead. TiVo S3's will have limited value. due to the probable introduction of SDV, something which cable DVRs will not have to deal with because they wouldn't be required to use CableCARD. On the other hand if the mandate stays, then cable DVRs (and STBs) will need to deal with making SDV work on CableCARD 1.0 devices so at least TiVo S3 has a way to piggyback on the solutions and cable companies have an incentive to implement a solution.
Notice the strategy is multi-fold. I don't even think they feel the FCC vote would go in their favor, but once there is a vote, it would allow them to appeal in court, which as we all know is a very speedy process, not!http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post9631351
Comcast Files FCC Appeal Over Set-Top Box Ruling
Dow Jones News Services
(Copyright © 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
By Corey Boles
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Cable giant Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) Tuesday filed an appeal with industry regulator the Federal Communications Commission over its decision to force the company to abide by new regulations regarding set-top boxes.
The FCC rejected Comcast's request for a waiver from the rules in January. At the time, the company immediately announced its intention to appeal the decision.
Comcast is now asking the five politically appointed commissioners at the FCC to vote on the issue rather than for it to be decided by agency staff.
Were the commissioners to hold a vote and still rule against Comcast, then the company would have the right to appeal the matter to the courts, but its hands are tied until the FCC rules on its appeal.
The agency is requiring cable operators to provide set-top boxes to subscribers from July 1 that don't include integrated security features that link the box directly back to the cable provider.
Its goal is to establish a retail market for the boxes and encourage other companies such as mainstream consumer electronic manufacturers into the market.
Currently, the majority of consumers who have boxes rent them from their cable provider and surrender the device to them when they cancel their subscription or move house.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin strongly believes that cable prices are too high, and has pointed to the cost of renting the boxes as one factor in the price.
The average cost of to rent a set-top box is around $7 a month.
The industry has argued that the technology used in the current generation of set-top boxes will soon be redundant and has asked for time to develop downloadable technology which would replace the current boxes.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has asked for two more years for this, but the FCC has rejected this, saying it would want a greater certainty that the technology would be ready by 2009 and that it isn't just a further delaying tactic by cable.
The lobby group has said that rather than save consumers money, the new rules will instead cost consumers an extra $600 million a year as they will have to buy new boxes.
It has filed a separate appeal to Comcast's as has telecommunications company Verizon Communications (VZ), which is making rapid strides in moving into the video service market.
The FCC has yet to rule on either of these appeals, although there has been some speculation it may do so this week.
On its own, the issue of set-top boxes is important to the cable industry, but the FCC's action represents one of several decisions that have gone against the industry in recent months. Martin has been accused of being biased against the industry, although he has publicly denied any rift with cable.
Martin, as well as the other four FCC commissioners, are set to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday where, he at least, can expect a grilling from Democratic senators over some of the FCC's actions of late.
No one from the FCC was immediately available to comment on the Comcast appeal.
- By Corey Boles, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6637; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.