AfterDawn: Tech news

Verizon asks FCC for equal access to cable boxes

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 13 Aug 2008 2:03 User comments (4)

Verizon asks FCC for equal access to cable boxes Cable television providers and consumer electronics companies have been busy planning for a future where TVs and DVRs can not only decrypt cable signals using CableCARD, but also use Tru2Way to add support for features like Video On Demand (VOD). Meanwhile other companies whose interests lie in alternate transmission formats like IPTV are working behind the scenes to get regulations that would require an IP (Internet Protocol) interface as a mandatory feature for cable boxes.
Unlike much of the world, where cable television just uses another variant of the DVB standard, digital cable in the US is based on a standard called QAM, which is unrelated to either ATSC Over The Air (OTA) or DVB-S satellite formats. The interest by companies like Sony and Panasonic in making all-in-one devices that don't require a cable box has made both Intel and Verizon nervous enough to ask the FCC to look into regulations that would require some type of ethernet interface in the cable system.

Both companies have an interest in IP-based TV services. In fact the biggest difference between what traditional cable providers and upstarts like Verizon and AT&T are looking for is the openness. Both Verizon FiOS and ATAT&T U-verse use open IP standards for transmission.

With the development of technologies that allow mainstream consumer electronics channels to provide cable box functionality directly to consumers instead of relying on cable companies to provide receivers, it becomes more important for these new services to get equal support in the new TVs, DVRs, and any other devices.

A letter from Verizon to the FCC at the end of last month outlines the importance of this kind of "platform-agnostic" approach. The letter states "Verizon would welcome such openness on the part of the cable industry that is, the opportunity to participate in their technology and standards processes. The Commission should endorse and encourage these efforts."

They're not the only company to lobby regulators for IP support either. On July 16 Intel, a company with a significant interest in the sort of enterprise networks required for IPTV, sent their own letter to FCC regulators suggesting some type of IP support should be mandated in addition to the IEEE 1394 (firewire) interface already required by current regulations.

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4 user comments

113.8.2008 5:45
susieqbbb
Inactive

Wouldn't be a bad idea but!!!

We all know how hackers like to hack there cable boxes so what is stoping them from getting free movies and tv shows with these devices once built.

All though this sounds good in all due aspects i think this will never happen because with comcast being cheap as they are even if you offered a downloadable content service if they couldn't control it comcast would deny consumers use of such a device because there perpritory cable boxes keep them in control.

213.8.2008 12:24

is verizon's network open?

313.8.2008 16:21

Originally posted by jemaric:
is verizon's network open?

Open in what way?

Just to be clear they're not asking for access to the cable networks. What they're trying to get is basically a voice in setting standards for cable boxes.

What they're really looking for doesn't really have anything to do with the cable boxes themselves. If there's IP support in cable boxes it theoretically leads to devices like TVs and DVRs with CableCARD/Tru2Way support also having IP interfaces. Otherwise they favor cable companies since you no longer need a box for cable, but would still need one for FiOS or U-verse.

Actually my biggest complaint is the lack of options for satellite customers. But that's another discussion altogether.

46.10.2008 16:14

I have a eurovox max v 2008 box and its blank, does anyone know where i can download the software for it, please help

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