Media Bureau Seeks Comment On Samsung's Petition For Waiver
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: June 21, 2013
MEDIA BUREAU ACTION
MEDIA BUREAU SEEKS COMMENT ON SAMSUNG'S PETITION FOR WAIVER OF
CERTAIN "CABLE READY" REQUIREMENTS
MB Docket No. 13-165
Comment Date: July 11, 2013
Reply Comment Date: July 22, 2013
waive Section 15.118(b) of the Commission's rules so Samsung can sell a new cable-compatible and
Internet-enabled set-top box (the "Smart Media Player") without an analog tuner.2 Section 15.118(b)
requires cable-ready consumer electronics equipment to be capable of receiving analog NTSC3
transmission of cable channels 1 through 125. The Samsung Smart Media Player, which is intended for
retail purchase and use by digital cable subscribers, is a CableCARD-enabled device with Internet
connectivity that can access certain pre-loaded applications, over-the-top video sources, and a free,
proprietary electronic program guide.4
1 Samsung Petition at 1 (filed May 21, 2013).
2 See 47 C.F.R. 15.118(b). In its petition, Samsung, "out of an abundance of caution," also seeks waiver of (1)
Section 15.123(b)(1), which requires all unidirectional digital cable products to be capable of tuning NTSC channels
transmitted in the clear; (2) Section 15.123(c), which outlines tests and standards that unidirectional digital cable
products must satisfy before going to market; and (3) Section 15.123(d), which requires manufacturers and
importers of unidirectional digital cable products to inform consumers that the device is "capable of receiving
analog basic . . . cable television programming." Samsung Petition at 1, n.1. As Samsung points out, the Bureau has
previously acknowledged that the D.C. Circuit recently vacated Section 15.123; therefore, as we did in the context
of another recent waiver request of Section 15.123, we consider that portion of Samsung's request moot, and seek
comment only on Samsung's request for waiver of Section 15.118(b) of the Commission's rules. See Media Bureau
Seeks Comment on TiVo Inc.'s Petition for Waiver of Certain "Cable Ready" Requirements, Public Notice, 28 FCC
Rcd 2857, 2854, n.4 (MB 2013) (citing EchoStar Satellite, L.L.C. v. FCC, 704 F.3d 992 (D.C. Cir 2013)).
3 NTSC, the National Television System Committee broadcasting standard, is the analog television system used by
analog cable systems.
4 Samsung Petition at 4.
Section 15.118(b) of the Commission's rules ensures that devices marketed as "cable ready" for
sale at retail are able to tune the overwhelming majority of cable channels transmitted in analog.5
Samsung states that the Smart Media Player is designed for use only in connection with digital cable
service, and thus claims that requiring the Smart Media Player to include an analog tuner would only
serve to hinder competition and innovation, increase costs to customers and undercut energy conservation
efforts.6 Samsung states that it "has determined . . . that it cannot offer the device at a market-appropriate
price point if it were forced to include one or more analog tuners with no appreciable enhancement of the
product's attractiveness to consumers."7 If granted the requested waiver, Samsung commits to educate
consumers about the functions of its Smart Media Player to ensure that consumers are not confused about
the box's capabilities.8 We seek comment on Samsung's request for waiver of Section 15.118(b) with
respect to its Smart Media Player.9
This proceeding will be treated as "permit but disclose" for purposes of the Commission's ex
parte rules. See 47 C.F.R. 1.1200, 1.1206. As a result of the permit-but-disclose status of this
proceeding, ex parte presentations will be governed by the procedures set forth in Section 1.1206 of the
Commission's rules applicable to non-restricted proceedings.10
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first
page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing
System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
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5 "Cable ready" devices must be able to tune to all analog channels below channel 125. See Implementation of
Section 17 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 Compatibility between Cable
Systems and Consumer Electronics Equipment, 9 FCC Rcd 1981-1984, 1996-1997, 1-16, 85-90 (1994). See also
47 U.S.C. 544a.
6 Samsung Petition at 8-11.
7 Id. at 9.
8 Id. at 5-6.
9 A copy of Samsung's Petition may be obtained from MB Docket No. 13-165 in the Commission's Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS).
10 47 C.F.R. 1.1206.
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