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CE/TV Execs Discuss HDTV At NCTA

Chicago – While CE and cable TV industry executives were upbeat on current HDTV developments, they expressed concern that a possible delay by the Federal Communications Commission on approving cable-ready HDTVs could push back product introductions into 2005.

That was one of several areas that executives from Best Buy, Comcast Cable Communications, ESPN, Mitsubishi Electronics and Sony Electronics agreed upon during a special breakfast panel discussion presented by TWICE and its sister publication Multichannel News during the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Show, held here at McCormick Place.

Dave Sprosty, subscription services VP of Best Buy, David Watson, executive VP / sales, marketing and communications of Comcast, Bryan Burns, strategic business planning and development, ESPN, Bob Perry, marketing VP of Mitsubishi Electronics, and Greg Gudorf, senior VP of Sony Electronics’ Digital Platform Division, were the five panelists.

It was Perry, who is also chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) Video Division, who first sounded the alarm on the urgency of having the FCC approve the plug-and-play agreement which was reached by the cable and CE industries last December.

‘We wanted a decision by [this month] to allow us to effectively produce product by June 2004, but we have no decision yet by the FCC.’ He added, ‘We’ve heard that the decision may be delayed until September. If that happens there will be no product next year. We need a decision by July. We need 12 months to develop product.’

Perry called on the cable industry ‘NCTA, CEA to urge the FCC to move now.’

When asked about the future of bi-directional HDTV services such as VOD, pay-per-view and others, Perry said, ‘To develop these new services now the FCC has to understand that we can’t develop those standards unless we know what our foundation is, what our basic standard is.’

(For more on the NCTA panel, see the print edition of TWICE or visit on June 23.)