- From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
- To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 09:03:26 -0400
Date posted: 2006-10-06
Multicast Must-Carry: The Words Not Heard at MSTV Confab
The language of a new carriage strategy emerged among the many
discussions at the annual fall MSTV conference Oct. 3. During a panel
moderated by MSTV chief David Donovan, the concept of multicast
must-carry was turned on its head by NAB chief David Rehr.
Rehr instead dropped the term "anti-stripping," in reference to the
bits comprising a digital broadcast signal. He said that
anti-stripping was among the NAB's priorities for the coming year. He
never once uttered "multicast must-carry," the assertion that
must-carry provisions should apply to all of a broadcaster's digital
programming streams. I.e., the NAB argues that cable operators should
carry the entire 6 MHz signal occupied by a broadcast signal without
stripping out any bits. Cable operators beg to differ, and so far,
the FCC and lawmakers have agreed.
The FCC voted it down last March under the leadership of
then-Chairman Michael Powell, who said must-carry applied only to the
"primary video signal." Only Kevin Martin, who was a commissioner at
the time, dissented in part because he said the public interest
benefits of multiple DTV programming streams should be considered
before knocking compulsory cable carriage off the table. Martin tried
to revive multicast must-carry once the FCC had a full complement of
commissioners under his chairmanship, but the item was pulled from
the regular meeting agenda in June.
Interest on Capitol Hill remains tepid.
"I'm not sure if there's a market failure to address," said Barry
Ohlson, senior legal advisor to Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.
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