Items tagged "Plug and Play"

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Rumors of Apple Set-Top Box a Reminder of Thwarted Innovation

August 17, 2012 Future of Video , Plug and Play , Set-Top Box , Unlicensed frequencies , Wi-Fi

The Wall Street Journal has run two recent reports that describe Apple’s plan to roll out a cable set-top box. There have been rumors about this for years. Back in 2007, Steve Jobs showed a level of familiarity with obscure cable technology that would suggest that Apple engineers were looking into this kind of product back then. But Jobs was repelled by the janky technology, and instead, Apple introduced a pure streaming device–the AppleTV–that did not interact with cable TV content. But most of the most valuable content is still available only on cable, or on cable first. Lots of people seem to love the AppleTV, but there’s a reason why Apple still describes it as a “hobby.”

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Let’s Get the Future of TV Right

February 6, 2012 Innovation , MVPD , Plug and Play , Set-Top Box , Video Innovation

One of the benefits of the FCC’s often-laborious process of rulemaking is that it allows new issues to be discovered and resolved. This is what has happened in the Commission’s proceeding on a seemingly-arcane issue: “encryption of the basic tier.”

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Wireless Boosters Are Really Useful, Let’s Make Sure We Can Actually Use Them

July 25, 2011 AT&T , Competition , Handset Exclusivity , Plug and Play , Wireless

            PK, along with the New America Foundation, has just filed its comments on the FCC’s proposed rules on the subject of wireless signal boosters. PK and NAF are trying to keep wireless boosters from getting tied to wireless carrier contracts. What’s a wireless signal booster? Here’s one:

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FCC Patches CableCARD; Doubles Down on AllVid

October 14, 2010 DVR , Innovation , MVPD , Plug and Play , Set-Top Box

It’s great to see the FCC issuing orders and moving its agenda forward. The National Broadband Plan called for the Commission to increase video device competition–that is, to create the conditions that allow for third-party devices to as easily interoperate with cable or satellite video as they can with Internet-delivered content. The Commission just took an important step in the right direction by issuing an order designed to fix some of the most egregious consumer issues that have made using CableCARD devices such a challenge. CableCARD is far from an ideal solution (for example, you can’t use it with satellite), but with AllVid (the proposed successor) still on the drawing board, it’s all we’ve got for the next few years.

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Harold on The Future of Your Cable Box on The Kojo Nnamdi Show

January 27, 2010 Analog Hole , FCC , MPAA , Network Neutrality , Plug and Play

If you were following our tweets yesterday (and don't forget to follow the tweets of our collective staff, found on this twitter list, too), you may have seen an update that PK Legal Director Harold Feld participated in a discussion about set top boxes, over-the-top Internet video, cutting the cord, and net neutrality on the Kojo Nnamdi Show. If you missed the live show, you can read the transcripts and listen to the recorded audio stream here.

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The Public Knowledge Interview: Set Top Boxes at CES

January 20, 2010 Broadband , HDTV , Innovation , Network Neutrality , Plug and Play

As you may have noticed, Public Knowledge spent some time at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. While we wandered the floor with the best of them, we also found time to talk with some of the people who are trying to bring Internet video to your TV.

Syabas (Popbox)

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MPAA: Still No Reason to Break TVs, DVD Copy Protection Does Not Stop Copying

December 11, 2009 Analog Hole , DRM , Fair Use , HDTV , Plug and Play

As devotees of our hit video series Five Minutes with Harold Feld (or as the cool kids call it “5MWHF”) will no doubt recall, on the eve of Thanksgiving MPAA dropped a lengthy filing into the Selectable Output Control (SOC) docket. Among other things, it called Harold a liar. Harold immediately took five minutes to tell MPAA to chillax, and yesterday we filed our official response with the FCC. Although I urge you to read our full reply (I promise it is much shorter than the MPAA’s), if you are in a rush here is the short version. Our response basically made three points.

**Most of MPAA’s Filing is Unrelated to SOC.

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PK Successfully Predicts the Future: FCC Evolution Waiver Destroys Competition

December 9, 2009 Competition , FCC , MVPD , Plug and Play , Set-Top Box

This summer, PK flagged a decision by the FCC that was a big step towards undermining any remaining competition in the cable set-top box world. In fact, it was such a big step in the wrong direction that we filed a petition asking the FCC to reconsider its decision.

There is great background for this “Evolution waiver” (named after the company that originally requested it – Evolution, Inc. – not because anything is evolving) here, so I won’t rehash all of the details.

The short version is that the FCC thought it needed to waive its existing rules designed to create competition in cable set-top boxes in order to make sure that low-cost set-top boxes were available.

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Warner Brothers to FCC: When We Say SOC Is Necessary, We Mean Not Necessary

November 4, 2009 Analog Hole , Fair Use , FCC , HDTV , Plug and Play

As the Selectable Output Control (SOC) battle continues here in Washington, Public Knowledge just sent a letter to the FCC pointing out that movie studios are doing some of the best work to show why SOC just doesn’t make sense.

As you may recall, the entire point of SOC is to allow movie studios to release movies via Video on Demand (VoD) prior to the DVD release. The MPAA claims that without SOC protection, the VoD releases (which, unlike DVDs, are not protected and therefore theoretically easier to copy) would immediately be used to make perfect copies available to pirates. These perfect copies would destroy the market for DVDs, and ultimately destroy Hollywood. SOC protection would allow studios to protect VoD distribution and therefore save Hollywood.

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It ain’t FUD if it’s true.

July 1, 2008 Analog Hole , Plug and Play

In last week's post, I discussed the MPAA's petition for waiver of the FCC's ban on selectable output control (SOC).

At the end, I suggested that one possible outcome is that a content provider could shut down ALL your existing standardized output plugs, forcing you to buy a new TV, DVD player, and DVR with a special "MPAA-approved" connector plug in order to view their content.

To some people, it might have sounded like FUD, but this time the truth comes a little close for comfort.

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