CE Makers Sign OpenCable Agreement


Pace Micro Technologies PLC added its name to a short list of
consumer-electronics manufacturers to sign the CableLabs Point of
Deployment-Host Interface License Agreement (PHILA).

In a Federal Communications Commission filing, CableLabs announced Pace on
Dec. 22 joined Motorola Broadband Communications Sector and Scientific-Atlanta
Inc. on that list. Motorola and S-A signed the agreement earlier in the

Companies signing the license agreement gain access to proprietary designs
needed to manufacture OpenCable set tops. The agreement includes key clauses
regarding copy protection between the OpenCable POD card and the OpenCable
set-top box.

'Having three large consumer electronics manufacturers show their interest in
making OpenCable boxes by signing the PHILA validates the cable industry's
commitment to this advanced digital service provisioning platform,' Cable
Television Laboratories Inc. CEO Richard Green said in a release.

The cable and consumer electronics industry have clashed over recording
rights related to these next-generation digital devices. While Consumer
Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro called last week's
release of the first OpenCable middleware standard a step forward, in a
statement he also called on the cable consortium to work toward an agreeable
PHILA arrangement.

'Such a license, to exercise a right granted by law, can and must protect the
security of cable systems without compromising consumer home recording and fair
use rights, or eliminating or limiting the functionality of related consumer
electronics products,' he said. 'We urge the Federal Communications Commission
to publish the draft POD-Host Interface license for comment - as it did, in
telephone deregulation, the license for a competitive consumer telephone
interface - to help ensure that the final license meets this critical balance.'