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Statements: Commissioner Ness
Order FCC 00-342: Text | Word97 | Acrobat

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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

September 14, 2000

David Fiske 202-418-0513


Washington - - The FCC today adopted rules for the labeling of digital television (DTV) receivers to insure that consumers will be fully informed about the capabilities of digital TV receivers to operate with cable television systems.

In a Report and Order, the Commission said that while it would have preferred a "comprehensive market-driven solution" to the labeling issue, it was adopting this regulatory approach because the relevant industries were unable to develop a consensus.

The Commission's rules specify labels for three categories of DTV receivers:

  1. "Digital Cable Ready 1": a consumer electronics TV receiving device capable of receiving analog basic, digital basic and digital premium cable television programming by direct connection to a cable system providing digital programming. A security card or Point of Deployment (POD) module provided by the cable operator is required to view encrypted programming. There is no 1394 digital connector or other digital interface. This device does not have two-way capability using cable facilities.

  2. "Digital Cable Ready 2": A consumer electronics TV receiving device that in addition to the features of the Digital Cable Ready 1 sets also includes the 1394 digital interface connector that may be used for attaching the receiving device to various other consumer appliances. Connection of a Digital Cable Ready 2 receiver to a digital set-top box may support advanced and interactive digital services and programming delivered by the cable system to the set-top box.

  3. "Digital Cable Ready 3": A consumer electronics TV receiving device that in addition to the features of the Digital Cable Ready 1 sets is capable of receiving advanced and interactive digital services by direct connection to a cable system providing digital programming and advanced and interactive digital services. The Commission said additional industry work was still required for design specifications for the Digital Cable Ready 3 category of receivers, and that it would therefore keep the record open in this proceeding, giving the Commission the option of incorporating these specifications into its rules at a later date.

The Commission said that the labeling scheme being adopted will permit consumers to make well-informed decisions about DTV equipment purchases based on a clear understanding of the capabilities of receivers with different labels. It said it was not mandating that all "cable ready" receivers or all DTV receivers have a 1394 connector, but said it was confident that the consumer electronics industry would be responsive to consumer demand and provide DTV receivers with features that consumers desire.

The Commission said that in addition to keeping the docket open and requiring the cable and consumer electronic industries to report to the Commission on the continuing development of technical standards for the Digital Cable Ready 3 receivers, it was also requiring the industries to report back to the Commission on their progress in developing technical standards in two other areas: direct connection of digital TV receivers to digital cable television systems, and the provision of tuning and program schedule information to support on-screen program guides for consumers. The Commission said that these two issues had been substantially but not completely resolved in an agreement embodied in a February 22, 2000, letter to the Commission by the heads of the National Cable Television Association and the Consumer Electronics Association. The Commission said that it was thus preserving the option to incorporate into FCC rules the formal standards that it expected could result in the future from continuing industry efforts to implement the February 22, 2000 agreements in these two areas.

The Commission said that all these reporting requirements would be consolidated into a single reporting timetable beginning October 31, 2000, and every six months thereafter until October 2002.

The Commission determined that the copy protection issue raised in the NPRM in fact relates to its navigation devices rules. For that reason, the copy protection licensing issue is incorporated in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order/Declaratory Ruling in the navigation devices docket. This decision, also adopted today, includes the finding that the navigation device rules do permit some amount of copy protection to be included in commercially available navigation devices.

Action by Report and Order, (FCC No. 00-342)
PP Docket No. 00-67

- FCC -

Office of Plans and Policy Contacts: Jonathan Levy, Amy Nathan (202) 418-2030 Office of Office of Engineering and Technology Contact: Alan Stilwell (202) 418-2470