& cplSiteName &

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
From The Founder
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Creating Dynamic Networks to Meet Business Needs

5|26|17   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


As enterprises need more dynamic networks, service providers need to deliver on-demand, virtual services to meet those needs. AT&T is creating a networking fabric to mix-and-match SDN technologies for enterprise customers, says Roman Pacewicz, AT&T senior vice president for offer management and service integration, in an interview at Light Reading's
LRTV Interviews
EdgeConneX on Industry Headwinds & Tailwinds

5|26|17   |   2:41   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017, EdgeConneX CTO Don MacNeil discussed the value of partnerships in the digital world.
LRTV Documentaries
4 Steps Toward a Higher Network IQ

5|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, EXFO CEO Philippe Morin explains how sensors and analytics can boost a network's intelligence and enable on-demand customer experiences. Find more BCE 2017 coverage here.
LRTV Interviews
BT's McRae Sheds Light on 4K Strategy

5|25|17   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017 in Austin, Texas, BT Group's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae talks about what it took for BT to broadcast live sports in 4K. Catch up with all our BCE coverage at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
From the Founder
How the NIA Aims to Advance NFV

5|25|17   |   08:07   |   (1) comment


Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
Better Solutions That Address Growing Scale

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


For Comcast, the X1 rollout and 17-fold increases in broadband speeds in the past 16 years are among factors driving the need for Energy 2020 solutions that reduce cost and consumption, says Mark Hess.
LRTV Custom TV
Ethernity Network Delivers Instant Offloading of Network Functions With All-Programmable Intelligent NIC

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, explains that programmability of the hardware makes the company's All-Programmable Intelligent NIC uniquely beneficial for communications service providers that need advanced data appliances with agile support of virtualization. Utilizing the company's patented network processing technology, Ethernity offers data path ...
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Vodafone Gets Obsessed With Cloud-Native

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Vodafone's Matt Beal updates us on Project Ocean and explains why simple virtualization isn't enough of a goal for network transformation. Catch up with other BCE 2017 keynotes and news at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.