July 1st, 2008 – Do or Die for IPTV?

The FCC finally issued an order for operators requesting waivers with regards to separable security.   The 25+ operators requesting one of the waivers were given until February 17th, 2009 to move to an all-digital system. 

The interesting thing is that IPTV operators, although inherently all-digital, are going to have to offer a separable security solution that allows for interoperability with consumer electronics equipment by July 1st, 2008. 

What does that mean?  Does that mean if AT&T connects an X-Box to U-verse, then this condition will be met?  How will the small operators, the real innovators in IPTV, comply with a July 1, 2008 date?  How are they going to get the attention of the Consumer Electronics industry?  The CE suppliers will probably not answer the phone for a current market that measures in the hundreds of thousands with a total market of probably 5 million.  This order creates more questions than it answers and does not look good for small provider of IPTV services.  


The footnote of interest:

See Consolidated Requests For Waiver Of Section 76.1204(a)(1) of the Commission’s Rules, 22 FCC Rcd 11780,11802-04, ¶¶ 58-62 (2007) (“All-DigitalOrder”). While we do not decide in this order whether IPTV providers are in compliance with Section 76.1204(a)(1) as they claim, consistent with our precedent, we grant them waiver of that provision, which will afford them relief similar to what they seek. Id. It is our understanding that set-top box manufacturers have not developed any nonintegrated high definition or digital video recording devices for use with Internet Protocol (“IP”), Asynchronous Transfer Mode (“ATM”) or hybrid QAM/IP systems. To the extent that this understanding is correct, we will allow operators to deploy HD and DVR devices with integrated security elements for use on such systems until July 1, 2008. Those operators should work to develop and deploy a separable security solution that will allow for interoperability between their systems and consumer electronics equipment, preferably a downloadable solution based on open standards. All-DigitalOrder, 22 FCC Rcd 11804, ¶ 61.

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