NCTA to FCC: Call Off 'AllVid'
He argued that FCC mandates aimed at spurring the retail market for video devices are unnecessary because the market is making plenty of headway on its own amid the rise of "smart" TVs and other broadband-connected devices.
He led by citing Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s, and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s recent deals to integrate their subscription-TV services (linear and on-demand) with connected Samsung Corp. TVs, and TWC's additional agreement with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) -- moves that essentially turn cable services into an app on those platforms. (See IP Will Trump Tru2way , CES 2011: TW Cable, Sony Make IPTV Connection, CES 2011: Samsung Puts MSOs in the Picture and Tru2way: Epic Fail at Retail.)
Among other examples, he pointed to cable's recent foray into the iPad and tablet arena, which includes new navigation apps and the ability to stream live and stored video, and a new breed of boxes that combine TV and Web content. McSlarrow also noted that cable's "TV Everywhere" projects connect subscribers to subscription video without gateways. (See Comcast Readies iPad Video Streaming, Comcast Invades the iPad , TWC Preaches Openness With iPad Tilt , Technicolor's Sneak Peek and TWC Preaches Openness With iPad Tilt .)
Boiled down, cable wants to nip AllVid in the bud before it can morph from a relatively harmless notice of inquiry and into a full-fledged notice of proposed rulemaking that, some think, could bring video device innovation and product development to a screeching halt.
"The fact that tens of millions of tablets, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs, and other smart, video-capable devices have been sold and will be sold means that the Commission no longer needs to 'create' a retail market for navigation devices," McSlarrow's letter asserted. "The market is in a period of intense experimentation. No one knows exactly how services will be designed or which approaches will succeed."
The FCC hasn't indicated when it might take that extra step and start up a mandate that would define "open" video gateway and adapter architectures that would apply not just to cable, but to all forms of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable