Video software

The CEA vs. Cablevision

11:30 AM -- For those of you who aren't tired of the Ping-Pong match going on between Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) over a waiver extension that gives the MSO more time to develop a downloadable conditional access system (DCAS), the CEA sent yet another volley over the net this week.

In a filing made with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday, the CEA came out against the temporary waiver again, arguing that the extension will spur other operators to "implement multiple, incompatible conditional access systems."

Cablevision has plans underway to deploy a downloadable security system that relies heavily on the NDS Ltd. "Key Ladder," a technology that the vendor pledged to offer to others on an "open" basis.

The CEA is urging the FCC to reverse the waiver extension order originally granted by the agency's Media Bureau and is seeking a full Commission review of the matter.

"The Order, if allowed to stand, thus would effectively cut off any further review of the system’s compliance with the common reliance rule," the CEA argued.

In other recent comments on this matter, Nagravision SA , an NDS competitor, said the Cablevision-NDS approach "may have merit," but only if wider adoption is ensured. Echoing one of the arguments laid out by the CES, Nagravision wants the FCC to amend the waiver with a provision that results in a "single, commonly used" downloadable security platform. Further, Nagravision recommended that the goal could be achieved via an "industry standard-setting process."

The cable industry tried to do something along those lines via a cross-MSO, multimillion-dollar effort called PolyCipher LLC , but that project has been pretty much mothballed. (See DCAS Can Wait and Cisco, Moto Take Control of DCAS .)

The CEA's filing this week is just the latest chapter in a protracted story about Cablevision's DCAS efforts. Here's a list of events (starting with the most recent turn) that captures the whole controversial affair:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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