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NCTA on CableCARD Successor: There's An App for That

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has told the FCC just what it thinks of an AllVid proposal for mandating set-top standards for passing through video from various sources: It would exceed the FCC's authority, was not mandated by a Congressman, and would be illegal and unconstitutional.

NCTA filed reply comments on the FCC's report on downloadable security from the appropriately named Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC), which was formed by the Commission in January and published its recommendations in August.

The committee's report offered a number of alternatives for a software solution to the integrated security and surfing set-top functions whose CableCARD hardware mandate was axed by Congress in the STELAR satellite legislation.

NCTA was generally pleased with the report on a successor to the CableCARD separable security regime, particularly its focus on developing a market-based security solution. But it did not like even the whiff of a return of the AllVid proposal, which was discussed in the report.

NCTA made its disdain clear in its reply to AllVid backers. It said they had not made the case for FCC authority, or any reason for a mandate if the FCC had the authority.

NCTA said the apps platforms for accessing content is the future of TV, and MVPDs and OVDs are already expanding their competitive features, which are available on retail devices like tablets, phones and Roku.

"Contrary to misinformation advanced by AllVid proponents," said NCTA, "apps provide a recordable output, add download-to-go for mobile devices, and provide recordability via cloud-based DVRs. Apps even map a path for eliminating the set-top box (and set-top box rentals) altogether."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.