Samsung announced at CES that it has become the first consumer electronics manufacturer to sign a license with CableLabs for a two-way interactive version of the POD-Host Interface License Agreement (PHILA), giving the company a head start on the production of two-way interactive digital cable-ready products.
The cable interoperability agreement struck between the CE and cable industries last month covered a more limited one-directional system for connecting digital cable equipment and services to consumer electronics products. That agreement is awaiting approval of the Federal Communications Commission. The cable and CE industries will next sit down to hammer out an agreement for two-way services.
By signing the PHILA agreement now, Samsung may begin working with CableLabs to develop products that will work with both the one-way and two-way digital cable services.
Interactive products, such as digital televisions, will be able to directly receive interactive digital programs, video-on-demand, premium services, as well as high-definition TV via cable through the two-way PHILA license. Consumers may purchase these products at retail stores and receive interactive digital services directly, without the requirement for a digital set-top box from their local cable provider.
"This action by our company and the cable industry will foster the development of two-way advanced television sets that will greatly aid the deployment of advanced interactive services to consumers first in North America and shortly to the world," said Frank Romeo, director of DTV strategy group at Samsung Electronics America. "Samsung supports the recent activity between CE and cable and applauds the efforts of Congress and FCC Chairman Michael Powell to advance America's digital transition. The first steps have been taken and Samsung believes that the future of DTV relies on advanced interactive services."