Originally published: February 9, 2011
Last updated: February 10, 2011 - 3:45pm
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing creating a universal set-top device to unite traditional and online video delivery to the TV set, but the National Cable & Telecommunications Association is warning the FCC that Sony, Google and consumer electronics companies are trying to deconstruct its programming service in violation of copyright, trademark, contract, licensing and other rights.
Late last month, the computer companies asked the commission to adopt a technical standard for the device that, as NCTA sees it, "would require MVPDs to disassemble the programming, data, and program guide metadata used to create and provide each MVPD's service, so that each consumer electronics ("CE") manufacturer may remake them into a service of its own design." Google, Sony and others instead billed it as an "IP-based interface that serves the needs of consumers and the requirements for innovation and competition, without compromising the legitimate expectations of content distributors and providers." However you describe it, NCTA argues that such a regime would turn its members into program wholesalers of content in all windows for all devices on every platform.
Cisco filed a similar response to the FCC notices, and also sent company officials in recent weeks met with FCC staff to tell them AllVid in its current form will do more harm than good. “Cisco believes that the FCC needs to rethink its AllVid proposal in light of changes in technology and the market,” said Jeff Campbell, senior director of technology policy for Cisco Government Affairs in an email to Connected Planet. “AllVid will increase consumer costs and limit consumer choice by limiting the functionality in the AllVid which may force consumers to acquire two boxes in place of the current single box. Furthermore, AllVid will freeze technology in time by placing a hardware solution in a situation that will mostly be handled by software clients in the future.” As a leading set-top box vendor, Cisco would be one of the company’s most affected by a change in policy, but the company said a new generation of hybrid video platforms, like the Videoscape environment Cisco announced at last month’s 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will make AllVid moot by enabling easier access to MPVDs and broader content distribution to more devices. “Architectures like Cisco’s Videoscape will accomplish the FCC’s goals of any content on any device using open systems,” Campbell said.
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