Cable industry looks askance at FCC set-top recommendations

Even though nothing's official, the cable industry is preemptively striking out at any set-top standardization plans that might affect what it calls its "flexibility to test and use diverse solutions that can adapt to rapid changes in technology, competition and consumer demand."

The FCC, in a Notice of Inquiry on its AllVid standard, sought comments on the evergreen problem of building a set-top box that's open and available to consumers in retail and yet provides the cable industry with security and the ability to differentiate services from other carriers. Google, which is looking for ways to get its content on wider broadband video platforms, has ardently supported standardizing, and therefore building a competitive market for, set-top devices that roam seamlessly between the Internet and traditional video programming.

That kind of box is a good idea, the cable industry as a whole agreed, as long as it doesn't create a box of a different sort that shuts down the industry's ability to innovate and differentiate with new product designs and functions. Cable instead wants what it described as AllVid "user interfaces" that would work on top of a common platform but still allow flexibility and control.

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