Capitol Steps Open Cable Isn't
To grasp the extent of the cable industry's lack of cooperation, you need only look at the details of the licensing agreement. Every manufacturer of a device that will attach to a cable network will be required to enter into a license with Cable Labs. The proposed license imposes needless burdens on consumers and consumer electronics manufacturers alike. In its present form, this license could prohibit all home recording by consumers. It could forbid manufacturers from building attractive new technologies—like personal video recorders—into set-top boxes. And it could allow cable providers to turn home devices off from the head-end.
The license would allow cable providers to determine if and when competitors can introduce
new products. Moreover, certain provisions are presented so broadly that new manufacturers could have to surrender unlimited intellectual property rights. In light of these outrageous conditions, it's not surprising that no competitive manufacturer to date has signed the license. While the industry continues to drag its feet in creating specifications, individual cable systems are rapidly developing and saturating the market with proprietary boxes that blatantly ignore open standards technology and deliver services competitors simply can't replicate. In this way, they are further entrenching their existing monopoly.