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FCC is thinking of enforcing DLNA in all IP set tops


Published: 7 December, 2012


The FCC has hinted that DLNA Premium Video might become the compulsory in the US for all future IP set top boxes. Back in 2010 the FCC's made a set top box ruling requiring cable operators to "ensure they provide HD set-top boxes that comply with open industry standards. This is to include standards for service discovery, video transport, and remote control commands.

TiVo has just applied for a waiver to clarify just what was meant by an "open industry standard". The FCC concluded that there was no such thing yet but decided that the DLNA, with its Premium Video (PV) profile was the only possible contender that would meet the requirements.

However, the DLNA PV is incomplete, awaiting a new version that will not be finalized until sometime in 2013. As the FCC also noted, it will take a further year or more for manufacturers to implement those standards in their devices, and subsequently deploy those in the marketplace. But it has added the vital security ingredient needed to allay the big rights holders, having incorporated DTCP-IP, as the mechanism for enforcing rights defined by whatever DRM is used by the service provider.

Inclusion of the security angle will help the FCC sell DLNA PV to TiVo and their operator customers, and also perhaps retain some control over the increasingly diverse home ecosystem. The impact of the decision on other companies is anybody's guess, as is how premium video will get to tablets, which have no hardware support for DTCP-IP, either within the home, or outside it.

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