Market Insight

CEA objects to Cablevision waiver

February 20, 2009

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The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) on Feb. 17 filed objections with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), requesting the US regulator to reverse its decision to grant US cable MSO Cablevision an extension of its Cablecard waiver. The FCC's extension was granted until 31 December 2010, awarding Cablevision time to introduce a downloadable conditional access system (DCAS) as an alternative to Cablecards. Cablevision is collaborating with existing CAS supplier NDS on its DCAS. The CEA's objection is principally twofold: that the FCC was not provided with specific details of the DCAS, and that the FCC has issued no word on the regulatory compliance of the proposed DCAS.


The CEA's decrying the waiver is motivated by concerns that the extension was granted without assurance that the DCAS system will comply with the FCC's requirements for an open, separable conditional access solution. Their unease regards the possibility that the system Cablevision plans to deploy will not support all third-party STBs or iDTVs purchased by consumers, despite NDS' pledge to license its technology on an open basis. A DCAS system unable to integrate with all third-party STBs or iDTVs would not constitute an open solution.

Given that the FCC's waiver is tacit recognition that an open DCAS is a viable alternative to Cablecard, general interest in developing such a solution could be revived, such as the stalled collaborative DCAS effort between Comcast, Cox and TWC. However, if the FCC deems the Cablevision/NDS framework to be open it could become the de facto DCAS solution in the US.


For more information and analysis on the above story, please refer to the links below


Cablevision CEA
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