Only a day after asking over-the-air television broadcasters to justify their existence and why some or all of their spectrum should not be reclaimed by the FCC to be used for wireless broadband (and giving interested parties only until December 21 to not only justify their existence, but also to come up with technical means by which the spectrum could be more efficiently used, business plans for their future use of the spectrum, and a survey of the competing needs for that spectrum – see more detail below), the FCC issued another request for comments, asking how current video devices could be made more accommodating to Internet video. These comments, also due on December 21, seemingly bring consumer electronics manufacturers and multi-channel video providers into the FCC’s rapidly-expanding evaluation of the video industry and its future. As the comments filed in connection with these two requests will no doubt lead to proposals to be included in the FCC’s February report to Congress on strategies for broadband deployment, these quickly prepared filings could help determine the future of the video industry for the foreseeable future.
The new proceeding, looking for a "plug and play" model of consumer video devices that can access conventional television delivery systems and the Internet, starts with the statement that Internet video is "tremendously popular" and a prediction that, as it expands, new applications for such video will be found. The Commission says that it sees Internet video as one way of spurring broadband adoption. How to best promote the plug and play model for consumer video devices that can access the Internet is the crux of the comments that the FCC seeks. The Commission first asks whether there are currently video devices that allow televisions to view not only the programming provided by multichannel video providers (e.g. cable and satellite), but also Internet video that may be available through an Internet service provided by that same MVPD, stating that it was not aware of such devices. Next, the Commission asks what would be necessary to develop such devices, and what rules the Commission could adopt to possibly require capabilities in set top boxes and other devices to provide this universal access to video programming of all sorts. The third area of inquiry from the Commission asks about standards that could be adopted to make Internet video and video from other sources interact with all other home audio and video equipment, including DVRs, to bring about the "digital living room." And finally the Commission asks what stands in the way of plug and play devices that will work with all networks by which video is delivered.Continue Reading In Less Than 3 Weeks, Let’s Provide Detailed Analysis on Fundamentally Changing the Television Industry – Comments Sought on Encouraging Internet Video in Addition to Repurposing TV Spectrum