Unplugging Plug-and-Play Regulation

by on October 23, 2007 · 6 comments

I have a new paper out this week entitled “Unplugging Plug-and-Play Regulation” in which I discuss the ongoing dispute between cable operators and the consumer electronics industry over “digital cable ready” equipment and “plug-and-play” interactive applications. Basically, it’s a fight about how various features or services available on cable systems should work, including electronic programming guides (EPGs), video-on-demand (VOD), pay-per-view (PPV) services, and other interactive television (ITV) capabilities.

This fight is now before the Federal Communications Commission where the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has asked the agency to mandate certain standards for those next-generation interactive video services. In my paper, I argue that regulation is unwise:

Ongoing marketplace experimentation and private negotiations represent the better way to establish technical standards. There is no need for the government to involve itself in a private standard-setting dispute between sophisticated, capable industries like consumer electronics and cable. And increased platform competition, not more government regulation of cable platforms, is the better way to ensure that innovation flourishes and consumers gain access to exciting new services.

To read the entire 7-page paper, click here.

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