Some in the consumer-electronics industry are misleading federal regulators
on the cable industry's role in the debate over equipment compatibility and
copyright protection, according to Motorola Inc.
In a Dec. 7 letter, Motorola told the Federal Communications Commission that
the Consumer Electronics Association and Thomson Multimedia are supplying
inaccurate information that distorts cable's actions in recent years.
Motorola, a large set-top-box supplier to the cable industry, lodged its
complaint in a five-page letter signed by Christine Crafton, the company's vice
president and director of broadband policy.
In the letter, Motorola cited an Oct. 24 letter from Thomson claiming, 'A
working POD module . does not yet exist.' A POD (point-of-deployment) module is
the Ethernet-looking card that inserts into set-tops and TVs for the
unscrambling of encrypted programming.
Motorola said Thomson's claim was inaccurate because 'Samsung [Electronics
America Inc.] and Panasonic [Consumer Electronics] both demonstrated
'POD-enabled TVs at last year's Consumer Electronics Show.'
On a related issue, Motorola asserted that both the CEA and Thomson told the
FCC the cable industry is demanding that equipment vendors endorse a
copy-protection regime when in fact all that the cable industry is doing is
transmitting the demands of digital-content suppliers that fear rampant
'The restriction of the PHILA [POD-Host Interface License Agreement] license
are based on requirements from [the Motion Picture Association of America] and
content providers, not the cable industry,' Motorola said.
Motorola noted that the PHILA license is based on copy-protection standards
developed by the so-called 5C companies -- Hitachi Ltd., Intel Corp., Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. Motorola added that
all of the 5C firms are CEA members except Intel.
'So it is hardly equitable for [the] CEA and Thomson to criticize the cable
industry for the copy-protection restrictions in the PHILA license when it is
the dispute between MPAA and CEA members . that is the source of the
controversy,' Motorola said.
A CEA spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
In the past, the CEA has insisted that the cable industry is hampering the
development of a retail set-top-box market to ensure that a large base of cable
subscribers rely on set-tops containing proprietary services supplied by cable