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Consumer Electronics by S. P. Bali

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INTEROPERABLE SET-TOP BOXES

The FCC mandated in July 1998 that cable TV set-top boxes be available for retail sale by July 2000. Cable companies received a waiver on this requirement because open cable standards had not been agreed upon. Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. known as Cable Labs, is developing standards for set-top boxes with their Open Cable intiative. Without standards, off-the-shelf gear will not work on all providers' networks. Once standards are agreed upon and equipment is manufactured to the standard, consumers will be able to rent or purchase set-top boxes from retail outlets or cable providers. The FCC has mandated establishment of a standard for security by 2005.

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