Vendors File Waivers For More DTAs

Two vendors, Evolution Broadband and Huawei Technologies, have asked the Federal Communications Commission to exempt their low-cost, limited-function set-top boxes from an agency rule prohibiting cable operators from deploying boxes with integrated security.

The FCC's Media Bureau last month granted three-year waivers for similar devices with integrated security from Motorola, Cisco Systems, Pace and Thomson after Evolution won an initial waiver for two low-cost set-tops in May.

The devices -- referred to in the industry as digital transport adapters, or DTAs -- are designed to cost less than $50 each, provide one-way access to digital cable programming and convert it into analog format. The waivers to the FCC's so-called integrated set-top ban allow cable operators to deploy DTAs with integrated security.

Evolution now is seeking for waivers covering three more devices: the DMS-2002-CA, a smaller version of its current MPEG-2 standard-definition DTA; the DMS-1004-CA, an MPEG 4 SD DTA; and the DMS-2002u, a new product that will support content protection in Cisco and Motorola systems, as well as Conax DVB conditional access smart cards.

Brent Smith, president of Evolution's digital unit, said in an e-mail that the DMS-2002u is still in the development phase and that the vendor is working "to go through the necessary steps for certification" for access licenses required for the product. Evolution expects it to be shipping sometime in early 2010.

Meanwhile, Huawei filed a request for its DC-730 and DC-732 limited-function set-top boxes. The specifications for those devices were not immediately available.

The FCC posted notices soliciting public comment about the latest Evolution waiverand the one from Huawei on Monday.

Separately, Evolution has asked the FCC to exempt its HD-capable DTAs from the integrated set-top ban, arguing that HD should no longer be considered an advanced service.