NCTA Boxing with TiVo, Intel, Microsoft - Multichannel

NCTA Boxing with TiVo, Intel, Microsoft

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The cable industry is firing back at TiVo Inc., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. for pushing for a federal ban on cable deployment of new integrated set-top boxes after July 1, 2006.

In a Jan. 4 letter scolding cable’s business rivals, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the Federal Communications Commission that the companies want to cripple cable with expensive regulations to further their own business interests, and not to promote a retail set-top-box market.

The NCTA insisted that deployment of boxes that must work with CableCards (which control access to scrambled programming) would raise box-lease rates without providing consumers with additional benefits to justify the increase.

TiVo, Intel and Microsoft each has a business interest in seeing cable deploy costly boxes, the NCTA said.

“Both TiVo and Microsoft are exploring new transmission and distribution paradigms that will compete directly with traditional cable,” the NCTA said. “Their insistence that cable incur a new cost should be examined critically because both companies stand to benefit in the competitive marketplace by saddling cable with needless costs that do nothing for the consumer.”