NATIONAL PLUG & PLAY
The FCC issues Rules & Order for Cable PlugNPlay
On September 10, 2003 the Memorandum of Understanding, submitted on December 19, 2002 by major Consumer Electronics manufacturers and Cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs), was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pending the release of its final Rule & Order (R&O). The R&O was issued on October 9, 2003. The majority of the MoU
, as submitted by both parties, was approved as is. The highlights are as follows:
There are two aspects of the MoU that are up for Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). They are as follows:
Selectable Output Control: This is the ability to remotely shut off a particular output or connector on a program-by-program basis, thereby funneling content through other authorized outputs. Although the FCC is not allowing the use of selectable output control, they are seeking comments on creating formal mechanisms by which outputs may be revoked if compromised.
The FCC also has not ruled out imposition of "Selectable Output Control,
" which would use similar signals to turn off even secure, digital interfaces at the whim of the content provider.
This is the ability to degrade the resolution of content (picture) from a higher to a lower level, such as from high definition to standard definition. The down resolution
of over-the-air broadcast content is not allowed. However, the FCC is seeking further comments on how to handle non-broadcast content (i.e. HBO’s movies). Until a decision is reached, any broadcaster who wishes to activate down resolution on any nonbroadcast content must notify the FCC 30 days in advance.
The FCC, in an October 9 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, asked for comment
on whether program providers should be allowed to force the "downresolution" of HDTV content delivered to the home, so that consumers who rely on set-top boxes would not receive HDTV displays of certain programs. HRRC advises consumers to contact the FCC to oppose all forms of "downres."