TiVo asks FCC to reinstate CableCARD rules

TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) said it is asking the FCC to continue to require cable operators to support CableCARDs, which consumers who buy retail set-tops like its Premiere DVR can use to decrypt cable programming.

The company's petition comes five months after an appeals court ruled that the FCC doesn't have the authority to implement the "plug and play" rules that led to the introduction of CableCARDs more than a decade ago. The CableCARDs, which are about the size of a credit card, contain conditional-access technology that was previously only available in set-tops leased by operators to subscribers.

Cable operators have been required by the FCC to support subscribers who buy set-tops or TVs containing CableCARD slots, but operators insist they have seen little demand for the devices. In January 2012, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said major MSOs had installed just 516,000 CableCARDs on retail devices in subscriber homes.

The FCC has proposed replacing CableCARDs through the creation of new AllVid standards aimed at creating a retail market for set-tops. But TiVo executives said they want the FCC to keep CableCARDs alive until a new security solution is developed.

"TiVo is eager to work with the cable industry on a successor security solution to CableCARD that works for retail. Until a new solution that can actually enable retail competition is available, however, the FCC must endeavor to make the existing CableCARD standard work for consumers and complementary technology providers because CableCARD currently is the only choice that consumers have to purchase a retail device that gets access to all cable programming," TiVo SVP and General Counsel Matthew Zinn said in a prepared statement.

For more:
- see the TiVo release

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