Light Reading

House Votes to Kill CableCARD Mandate

Mari Silbey
7/23/2014
50%
50%

It's been seven years since the FCC's "seven oh seven" mandate banned cable companies from including integrated security in consumer set-top boxes. Now the US House of Representatives thinks it's time to bring the industry's hated CableCARD experiment to a close. (See Bye-Bye, CableCARDs?)

In a bipartisan vote, the House passed the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Reauthorization Act of 2014 late Tuesday. The primary goal of the STELA bill (also known as STELAR) is to extend the rights of satellite operators to import distant network signals when local affiliate stations aren't available. However, the bill also kills the requirement that cable operators separate security from set-tops in the form of a CableCARD.

In other good news for cable, other provisions in STELA prevent broadcasters from colluding during retransmission negotiations and allow pay-TV providers to black out a programmer's signal even during sweeps periods if a licensing deal hasn't been reached. The US Senate must now approve the STELA bill and all these provisions for them to become law.

On the CableCARD front, the STELA bill comes after years of complaints from cable operators that the separable security mandate imposes unnecessary costs and an undue burden on them that satellite and telecom TV providers don't face. CableCARD technology has also largely struck out with consumers, very few of whom have installed the security modules in set-top devices that they bought at retail.

Indeed, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) , in its latest filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , reported that more than 616,000 CableCARDs have been deployed by the nine largest cable operators for use in retail devices. While that number may sound impressive at first, it pales in comparison with the more than 47 million CableCARDs that have been shipped in operator-supplied set-tops over the past seven years.

Today's argument against the CableCARD also factors in the reality that the transition to IP video delivery is opening up competition in the TV hardware market without the help of any FCC mandate. Consumers can now watch an increasing amount of cable programming on computers, mobile devices, gaming consoles, and dedicated media streaming devices.


If you want to keep up with all the latest developments in cable set-top box technology and deployments, keep your eyes glued to our cable set-top box channel on the site.


Recently, news also leaked that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) (maker of the most popular retail CableCARD products) are working together on a non-CableCARD solution for delivering Comcast interactive services on TiVo's retail set-tops. If the two companies succeed, it could go a long way to appeasing TiVo fans who have traditionally been some of the most vocal CableCARD supporters. (See Comcast, TiVo May Ditch the CableCARD.)

Back to the US legislative process, the House vote on STELA precedes further consideration of the matter by the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed reauthorization of STELA earlier in the year, but the Senate now has to take the additional cable-related provisions into account. Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) have said they plan to move forward with a negotiated version of the bill for the Senate in September.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Easing the Tech Pains for the Homeless
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?