Amazon says pay-TV's app-based set-top alternative 'does not address security concerns'

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) executives met with FCC officials last week to discuss the pay-TV industry's alternative proposal to the agency's "Unlock the Box" NPRM.

As outlined in an Amazon ex parte filing, executives for the technology giant see the apps-based counter proposal — spearheaded by the National Cable Telecommunications Association — as undermining a key complaint rendered by the pay-TV industry itself, that the FCC's original NPRM doesn't do enough to enable content security.

"The Amazon representatives stressed that hardware-based digital rights management (DRM) is the gold standard for content protection," the ex parte said. "A native application has no impact on the robustness of properly implemented hardware-based DRM with regards to content security. Thus, the NCTA submission does not in fact address the security concerns MVPDs have identified as one of the central reasons to oppose the proposals set forth in the NPRM. By contrast, the proposals identified in the NPRM can deliver content securely to streaming media players without the need for a native application."

With FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel apparently abandoning support for Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to open the pay-TV set-top industry to third-party device makers, momentum has swung in recent weeks to the NCTA-led "Ditch the Box" proposal. 

In its ex parte filing, Amazon outlined its conditions for such an apps-based standard. 

"MVPDs should adhere to the standard practices and business terms of app distribution, including 'in-app' transactions."

"MVPD apps should provide the full MVPD linear channel lineup and corresponding VOD library to which the customer is entitled."

"In order to foster innovation, any app-based approach should require that MVPDs provide access to the metadata required for universal search and electronic programming guide ('EPG') presentation.

For more:
- read this Amazon ex parte filing

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