LAS VEGAS — CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro held a one-on-one session on technology policy with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

During the hour-long question-and-answer session, Shapiro and Powell lit on a number of issues, such as HDTV, broadband, spectrum allocation and intellectual property.

The highlight of the discussion — or at least the part that seemed to excite the mainstream press — centered around Powell's Christmas present: a TiVo, or “God's machine,” as he called it.

More importantly, Powell discussed spectrum issues, such as handling the current demand and uses of spectrum.

He also brought up the need for a new technolgical model that allows better sharing of current spectrum in the future.

Powell added that the “benefits of spectrum democratization were eveident on the show floor with the proliferation of … products and services” based on unlicensed spectrum.

“Spectrum policy is broken,” Powell insisted. “Technology is moving too fast and our system is too cumbersome, but there isn't a lot of spectrum in the cupboard to auction off.”

Among other things, Powell announced that the commission had begun the formal process that will lead to regulations governing DTV cable compatibility.

Wrapping up the session, Powell ticked off his top three priorities for the FCC in 2003: spectrum, broadband and business competition policy.