Skip to main content

NCTA: No Need for Another FCC Video Mandate

Reiterating its view, the NCTA urged the FCC to reject calls to create new technology mandate aimed at bringing pay TV programming to retail devices, noting that the “apps revolution” has brought pay TV services to twice as many consumer video devices as there are set-top boxes currently in use.

The FCC Media Bureau is seeking comments on the final report that the Commission-appointed Downloadable Security Technical Advisory Committee (DSTAC) submitted August 28. Reply comments are due Nov. 9, 2015. The FCC has not announced plans to follow with a larger Notice of Inquiry or a full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the matter.

The formation of the DSTAC in January followed the passing of the STELAR Act, legislation that will sunset the current set-top security integration ban in December 2015 and called on the FCC to take a look at a successor approach to the CableCARD that could spur the retail market for video navigation devices for not just cable operators, but other MVPDs.

The DSTAC report was far from unified, and included an apps-based approach favored by cable operators and another AllVid-style approach, favored by companies such as Google, that originally envisioned a government-specified gateway device uniting video from various sources.

The NCTA has labelled the latter concept as “pure vaporware,” while also complaining that it would “strip the programming out of the pay TV service a consumer purchases, mash up that service in any way the manufacturers wish, and brand it as their own service – with no responsibility to programmers or distributors to deliver the content as required by contract and programming licenses. “

“The “DSTAC’s Report underscores that there is no need for FCC technology mandates in a marketplace where consumers can access MVPD and OVD content on a wide and growing array of retail devices,” the NCTA said, noting that apps from pay TV providers have been downloaded over 56 million times for the iOS and Android platforms and are now available to more than 460 million video devices in the U.S., more than twice the number of set-top boxes currently in use.

CableLabs CTO Ralph Brown recently posted a blog that presents that tally in more detail.

Multichannel News will shed more light on the other filings and positions on the matter shortly.