AllVid expected to be the next hot issue for FCC

Having conquered net neutrality (yeah, right) the FCC will next focus its sites to AllVid, the supposed update and upgrade to the failed--or at least highly unsuccessful--CableCARD effort. AllVid, as with any effort that threatens to wrest programming control from cable, has been opposed by the NCTA and supported by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

For the NCTA, it comes down to protecting what cable operators have paid for "so of course they don't want to see that content made available in a way that ... interferes with them being able to provide the service that customers have come to expect," says Neal Goldberg, the NCTA's general counsel. For the CEA it's simply a matter of being able to build and sell more consumer electronics devices and cable is "holding us up from bringing something to consumers that would make it easier for them to get the content they want."

Possibly the key issue in the debate, which certainly will turn white hot when CEA guys start showing off connected TVs at their big CES trade show next month, is whether cable operators make money on set-tops or simply use them to deliver the best features in a timely manner. "They're in business and if it didn't make sense for them to lease the boxes it would stop right away," said Julie Kearney, the CEA's vice president of regulatory affairs.

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