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CEA FCC Filing Says Cable Industry Must Keep Promise Of Digital Cable Ready And CableCARD

Arlington, Va., November 25, 2004 – Digital cable ready (DCR) television sets are a marketplace reality that requires the full backing of both the consumer electronics (CE) and cable industries, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) wrote in an ex parte filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). CEA filed its comments yesterday in response to submissions from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and its members, urging the FCC to lift its requirement that cable operators and competitive products rely on a common interface for purposes of conditional access. The interface and conditional access measures provide protections to prevent theft of service and damage to the cable system.

“Consumer electronics manufacturers have invested countless hours and millions of dollars to design and produce digital cable ready television sets,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “We celebrated the arrival of digital cable ready sets at the 2004 International CES and today, more than 100 models are on the market. We’ll likely see DCR capabilities in other devices, such as digital video recorders (DVR), going forward, but for the consumer to fully benefit from and understand digital cable ready, the cable and CE industries must work together to promote and support CableCARD.”

CEA argued in the filing that the only way to assure a competitive supply of digital cable set-top boxes and digital cable ready TV sets is to ensure that the devices supplied by cable operators rely on the same CableCARDs for security that must be used by equipment supplied through competitive retail outlets.

“When a common security interface prevails in the marketplace, and a framework for ‘interactive’ competitive products has finally been achieved, the Commission will finally be close to having achieved one of the Congress’s essential goals – competition from a range of independently offered products, such as DVRs, DVD players, game players, PCs, etc., that can work directly on digital cable,” CEA wrote. “The ability of these players to sport a common security interface, and to service legacy analog TVs at the same time, will more than make up for any residual cost saving by hardwiring proprietary, non-renewable security into navigation devices.”

About CEA:
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 1,750 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA’s members account for more than $90 billion in annual sales. CEA’s resources are available online at www.CE.org, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry.

CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES – Defining Tomorrow’s Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.

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