Thursday, October 14, 2010

FCC CableCARD Meeting Recap

FCC Logo

I listened in on today’s FCC Meeting – at least the portion that covered CableCARD and “video navigation devices” for cable services.  Here’s a summary of the proceedings:

There was the usual meeting formalities but this portion of the meeting was the one where they vote for or against the order that includes the rule changes.  Everyone voted for the changes and there wasn’t much discussion otherwise since that had been covered in past meetings and letters.  The FCC adopted the “Third Report and Order on Reconsideration that revises the FCC’s CableCARD rules” with respect to “video navigation devices” for cable services.  Yes that’s a mouthful, but it’s pretty important to Cable subscribers – especially HTPC users.

Here’s the main points of the order that I noted:

  • Cable Companies must allow the self-install of CableCARDs
  • Changes to the CableCARD certification process to make it easier to become CableCARD certified and less expensive.  I believe this was specific to hardware certification and not software but I’m not positive.
  • Cable Companies will be required to provide the cost of cableCARDs – I had trouble figuring out what this meant exactly but the gist of it was they want the cost of CableCARD to the consumer to be cheaper…
  • A new website for cable subscribers will be launched by the FCC to allow for easier submittal of complaints about Cable Companies non-compliance
  • New rules for Cable Companies to provide the same level of service to CableCARD subscribers as to those with leased set-top boxes.

As far as I could tell, the order did not include requirements for an IP-based SDV solution which had been discussed previously.

The rules discussed in this meeting all sounded pretty good to this “layman”, but we’ll have to wait to see the complete wording of the FCC order that was approved.  I’ve requested a copy and will review it further once it has been received.  Note that these changes are perceived to be the short-term solution while the FCC moves towards adoption of AllVid.