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‘Plug-and-play’ DTV deal hammered out

Dec 30, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Representatives of the cable TV and consumer electronics industries have announced an agreement that they say will clear the way for the manufacture of TV sets capable of receiving digital TV signals from cable systems without the need for a special set-top box.
The so-called “plug-and-play” capability, according to industry representatives, will also enable consumers to use their DTV sets virtually everywhere-or at least anywhere cable systems have built out to the necessary technical specifications.
At a press conference in Washington Dec. 19, industry officials said the development will help spur the television industry’s transition to DTV, assuming that the Federal Communications Commission sets the technical standards in regulatory concrete. “This will be a foundation for billions of dollars of commerce over the next few decades,” said Bob Perry, VP of marketing for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America.
In a statement, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the agency will move quickly to review the proposed regulations. “Plug-and-play will be good for the future of these industries, good for the digital transition and, most importantly, good for consumers,” Mr. Powell said.
Industry sources said they hope the standards will be in place in time to allow the technology to be included in sets by July 2004, when agency regulations require many TV sets to begin including DTV broadcast tuners.
The technical agreement applies only to one-way cable DTV transmissions. Negotiations over compatibility standards for interactive digital TV are expected to begin in January.