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FCC adopts DTV 'plug and play' rules

Posted: 12 Sep 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:federal communications commission? fcc? tv? digital broadcasting?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new TV-cable compatibility rules that it said would speed the transition to digital broadcasting.

The rules are intended to make it easier for new digital TV receivers to hook up to cable systems. The "plug-and-play" rules will allow consumers to plug their cable directly into digital TV sets, eliminating the need for a set-top box to convert the signal for display.

Under pressure from the FCC, the consumer electronics and cable industries agreed in December to a package of regulatory proposals designed to hasten the transition to digital broadcasting.

The FCC said its new rules would enable TV sets to be built with "plug and play" functionality for one-way digital cable services. Consumers would need a security card from local cable operators that would be inserted into the TV set.

The agency also said it would soon address another key sticking point in the DTV transition, digital broadcast copy protection issues.

Lawmakers had been pressuring broadcasters, set manufacturers and the cable industry to reach a consensus on rules for digital broadcasting. "The FCC has taken another step toward ensuring the nation's smooth transition to digital television by adopting the 'plug and play' rules," said Rep. Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House Commerce Committee.

"Consumers must have a diverse selection of cable-compatible digital televisions and other electronic products available on the market in order to make the transition to DTV possible," Tauzin added.

- George Leopold

EE Times

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