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CEA, NCTA Offer New Cable Terms

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CEA have established new terminology to indicate the capabilities of digital television sets with integrated cable compatibility that do not require separate set-top cable boxes.

The terms were disclosed to the Federal Communications Commission in a letter that also updated the FCC on progress in establishing a two-way interactive plug-and-play cable interoperability agreement. In the letter the two associations said that when the agreement is reached, sets with interactive functionality will be labeled “Interactive Digital Cable Ready.”

Another new term for a digital TV set capable of displaying one-way programming services, including premium channels, is “Digital Cable Ready.” Such sets require smart cards — called Point of Deployment (POD) cards — that will be supplied by cable TV operators to unlock scrambled channels.

However, under the new terms, the POD name has been changed to “CableCARDs.”

In the letter the trade groups urged the FCC to adopt as soon as possible the one-way digital-TV-set agreement reached last December between the two industries.