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Charter Strikes Back at the CEA

Welcome to the cable and broadband news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Charter Communications Inc. rejected assertions from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and others that a chip the cable operator wants to use for a new downloadable security system in digital set-top boxes is proprietary and will support only Charter's service and conditional access system. Charter is seeking a two-year waiver from the July 2007 set-top security integration ban so it can deploy dual security boxes containing silicon that would support the future downloadable security system alongside the traditional integrated conditional access system. Once Charter activates the downloadable system, it intends to use a "simulcrypt" system that will also allow it to support televisions and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) boxes purchased at retail that use CableCARD security. (See Charter Sets All-Digital Path for Video and Charter Video Plan Good News for Cisco, Samsung.)

    In its reply comments at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , Charter said the downloadable chip would rely on the same "commodity chips" that Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) now uses for its downloadable system, and that the silicon can support security systems other than the one Charter wants to deploy. Cablevision's system, like the one being proposed by Charter, relies on the NDS (now Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)) key ladder as the "hardware root of trust," which will be offered on an open, royalty-free basis for use by other retail "host" (i.e. set-tops, televisions, and other connected devices), the MSO added. Charter intends to use its downloadable system as a key component of its all-digital video migration. The CEA wants the FCC to reject the request for temporary waiver and instead pursue a CableCARD successor called AllVid that would be applied to all pay-TV providers. (See CEA Tries to Kill Charter's Video Plan .)

  • Aereo Inc. has made enemies of the broadcast TV networks, but it's starting to get buddy-buddy with the cable networks. Bloomberg TV is the first cable channel to secure a carriage deal for Aereo's streaming video platform, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Barry Diller-backed service, which starts for $8 per month and includes a network DVR, captures live TV broadcasts using thumb-size array antennas for delivery to customers via broadband. The difference here is that Aereo will pay to gain access to and distribute Bloomberg TV's live feed. Terms weren't disclosed. Aereo service is currently limited to New York City, but the company has plans to expand to 15 more cities ... if it wins its court battle. (See Aereo Offers a Free Taste , Judge Keeps Aereo on the Air and Diller's Aereo Under Legal Attack.)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) video subscribers are the first to get access to a TV Everywhere iPad app that offers full episodes, movies and clips from A&E, History Channel and Lifetime. A&E says the app will support additional distributors in early 2013.

  • Service Electric Cablevision of northeastern Pennsylvania is the first cable operator to launch 3net, a 3DTV network run by Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) and IMAX, reports Multichannel News. DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) also carries 3net, which will also produce programs in the new UltraHD 4K format. (See 3net Puts 4K TV in the Picture .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 1/10/2013 | 4:00:10 AM
    re: Charter Strikes Back at the CEA

    This is playing out just like Cablevision's waiver request did...almost a complete repeat. So can we expect the request to be granted in T-minus 5, 4, 3...

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