TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Integrated Broadcast/CATV Tuners

Integrated Broadcast/CATV Tuners

Neal McLain (
Fri, 16 Mar 2007 21:14:30 -0600

CableLabs' Off-Air Receiver Project Could Pull In TV Signals, Reclaim
Bandwidth, Sidestep Retrans Fees

By Todd Spangler 3/12/2007
Multichannel News

Cable wants to put rabbit ears back in the home -- a technical irony
that could help the industry conserve big chunks of bandwidth on its
network of fiber and coaxial transmission pipes.

The plan could also let the industry avoid shelling out millions in
retransmission fees to broadcasters.

CableLabs, in a two-paragraph press release earlier this month, said
it is developing specifications for an interface that would let
set-top boxes receive digital broadcast signals off the air. This
technology would allow households to see broadcast TV signals
alongside cable programming -- as an integrated viewing experience, --
the consortium said.

Ok, so what happens if some independent fourth-party manufacturer (say
Dell or Apple) starts selling TVs with Cablelabs-compliant digital
tuners that integrate off-air broadcast signals with CATV-delivered
signals? Or if TiVo starts selling Cablelabs-compliant DVRs? Do
Dell, Apple, and TiVo have to get retransmission consent?

And what happens if MDU owners distribute off-air broadcast signals to
apartments (just like they did back in the 1950s)? Do MDU owners have
to get retransmission consent if residents connect the off-air signal
to a Cablelabs-compliant device?

I can't wait.

Neal McLain

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