Digital TV biz, cablers pact

Sides hammer out technical standards accord

WASHINGTON — The cable and consumer electronics industries have worked out their differences over technical standards that will allow set-top boxes to communicate with digital televisions.

The agreement means that by as early as 1999, digital televisions that will work with digital cable systems will roll off the assembly line. The agreement does not resolve concerns held by the Motion Picture Assn. of America that the first generation of digital televisions could be exploited by copyright pirates. At least two major studios are refusing to release high definition versions of movies until the copyright protection issue is resolved.

A joint press release issued by the Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Assn. and the National Cable Television Assn. states that they are “committed to working together to complete the work that will ensure that copyrighted material sent over this digital link is protected, in recognition of the concerns of the (MPAA.)”

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