Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cable Relents on Channels for the Family

NYT reports Yielding to pressure from regulators, lawmakers and interest groups, the country's biggest cable companies say they expect to introduce packages of family-friendly channels as early as the first quarter of 2006.

Why did it take them this long?
Kyle McSlarrow, the head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, which represents cable companies and programmers, told lawmakers yesterday that at least six cable companies, including the two largest, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, were developing packages of channels that would appeal to parents who want to shield their children from potentially offensive shows. Mr. McSlarrow said each cable company would come up with its own family-oriented packages and that they would be purchased like other bundles. He did not say how much the bundles would cost and added that cable operators still must solve some technical problems and revisit their contracts with programmers. The move is the latest effort by cable companies to head off pending legislation that might obligate them to block certain programming or sell channels to consumers on an à la carte basis. The cable industry has long opposed efforts to regulate its offerings and has argued that technology already in place lets parents filter out unwanted shows.
True, but with most systems they are protected by an four digit pin number, and it should not take that long for a kid to try all 10,000 numbers to watch something he is not supposed to watch.

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