The FCC has voted unanimously
to allow the cable industry to start encrypting basic service, a move cable companies insist will help them reduce theft of service and simplify service calls. You'll recall that some over the top video companies like Boxee earlier this year complained about the push
, saying that encrypting signals sent over coax would derail Boxee products like their Live TV Dongle
Boxee and Comcast subsequently hashed out their differences by designing a new set top box/gateway
, the Ethernet – Digital Transport Adapter (or E-DTA) to ensure users can still get these channels over IP. According to a statement at the Boxee website
the company likes the ruling, and was thrilled to learn they could impact the rulemaking despite being a smaller company:
The rulemaking ensures startups like Boxee can continue to invest in building products to innovate in the set-top box/connected TV space. We are also excited about the new opportunity to work with cable companies to provide next-generation experiences that will delight customers and push the industry forward. This rulemaking was the first time we’ve had to deal with the policy side of technology. While initially doubtful our voice would be heard and we would be able to make a difference, we were pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong.
Neither Boxee or other OTA makers may find their enthusiasm and optimism waning slightly as things move forward. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has promised that the organizations six largest cable industry members will cooperate for three years in making access to these encrypted signals as easy as possible -- potentially to the point of providing free hardware to access basic channels. The FCC summary of the move
offers up some additional technical details on some of the stipulations Boxee managed to get included in the move.