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FCC Sets CableCARD Vote

5:50 PM -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has tentatively set Oct. 14 as the date it will vote on new rules that aim to apply some short-term fixes to the existing CableCARD rules. (See FCC Floats 'Simple' Gateway, CableCARD Rules .)

The FCC's hope from the outset of this has been to "sustain the current retail market for set-top boxes," even though there's hardly one to speak of, since the vast majority of boxes are still leased by MSOs. (See CableCARD Update .)

The FCC is looking for more transparency on CableCARD pricing and a way to streamline and accelerate the certification process for all retail CableCARD-based devices.

However, the biggest debate has centered on TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO)'s "IP backchannel" proposal for handling cable switched digital video (SDV) on the company's CableCARD-capable DVRs. TiVo wants the FCC to mandate it while also suggesting the FCC consider some enhancements that could grace the tuning adapter, the device that's used to help TiVo DVRs and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)-made Moxi retail boxes tune in channels offered in an MSO's switched tier. (See Tweaking the Tuning Adapter and TiVo, Cable Re-Spark SDV Debate .)

The cable industry has railed against the IP backchannel idea, calling it expensive, unnecessary, and technically daunting. It's also suggesting that the FCC chase that one down in its broader "AllVid" notice of inquiry. (See TWC Pokes More Holes in TiVo's SDV Proposal and NCTA Prices TiVo's SDV Idea at $22M.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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