Cable's digital plug-and-play agreement with the consumer-electronics
industry has been officially teed up for a vote by the Federal Communications
Commission at its Sept. 10 public meeting.
Under the agreement, consumers will eventually be able to purchase digital-TV
sets for the reception of one-way cable programming, including scrambled premium
channels, without the need for set-top boxes.
Both sides are planning to conclude a second agreement covering digital-TV
sets with two-way interactive functionality.
The FCC released its Sept. 10 agenda late Wednesday. Although the vote might
be postponed, it appears that the agency is willing to endorse the deal despite
objections by the National Association of Broadcasters, EchoStar Communications
Corp. and others.