& cplSiteName &

Obama Signs CableCARD Death Warrant

Mari Silbey
12/5/2014
50%
50%

President Obama set an end date for the CableCARD mandate Thursday when he signed into law the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR).

Although STELAR is largely focused on allowing satellite operators to stream out-of-market broadcast TV signals to rural areas, it also includes a provision ending the requirement for cable providers to offer set-tops with separable security. The so-called CableCARD rule, which went into effect in 2007, will now expire on December 31, 2015.

By banning integrated security seven years ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hoped to create a competitive retail market for cable TV boxes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of CableCARD modules shipped to date have been embedded directly into operator-supplied set-tops. Few consumer electronics makers have created new CableCARD-compatible devices, and consumer demand for the security cards has been exceedingly minimal.

Instead of CableCARD products, consumer electronics makers have focused on developing IP-based media streamers for online video services. The decision by Congress and the President to end the integrated security ban acknowledges the fact that IP, not legacy TV technology supported by CableCARDs, represents the future of video. (See House Votes to Kill CableCARD Mandate.)


Get the latest updates on new video services and technologies by visiting Light Reading's video services content channel.


The one major exception to the failed CableCARD effort has been TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO). The DVR pioneer continues to sell a popular line of set-tops that use CableCARDs to connect users to pay-TV services. However, even though TiVo fought hard to keep the CableCARD mandate in place, the company has simultaneously created new business opportunities for itself by working directly with cable operators.

As a result, a significant portion of TiVo's revenue now comes from the service provider channel. Plus, TiVo is even collaborating with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) on a security technology that could act as a CableCARD alternative. (See TiVo Makes More Cable Gains and Comcast, TiVo May Ditch the CableCARD.)

On the alternative-technology front, the pay-TV industry has been experimenting with downloadable security as a replacement for hardware-based security for years. Although progress has been slow, the FCC is ready to speed up the process by creating a new technical advisory committee to develop recommendations for software-based security solutions.

On the heels of STELAR, the FCC issued a notice yesterday asking for nominations to this new committee. The agency noted that the committee must be prepared to provide recommendations on downloadable security within nine months of STELAR being enacted -- i.e. three months before the CableCARD mandate is scheduled to end for good.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Sr.Appli28884
50%
50%
Sr.Appli28884,
User Rank: Light Beer
10/15/2015 | 4:04:27 PM
Re: CableCARD rules were NOT eliminated by STELAR
You are correct about the legislation ending the integration ban.  However, the integration ban was intended to force the cable companies to provide better support for CableCARD.  Cable companies intentionally did not provide training to their employees on how to install and support CableCARD.  Forcing them to put a CableCARD in every leased box forced them to train their staff on how to support CableCARD.

There was a hope that this would encourage the consumer electronics industry to make more CableCARD devices.  Unfortunately, it did not.  Most consumers don't even know what a CableCARD is.

I use Windows Media Center with CableCARD tuners and XBox360's as extenders at each TV.  It provides me with a whole-home DVR, and saves me more than $80 per month compared to my cable provider's whole-home DVR.  My guide is completely customizable (e.g. I can remove all of the channels that I don't care about).  I can add as much storage space as I want... so I can keep recordings forever if I choose to do so.  My main TV is connected directly to the PC that runs the whole thing... so my main TV can be used to surf the web, watch ANYTHING online, etc.  The bedroom TV's are connected to XBox360's, so they can be used to watch streaming content via any app that is supported by the XBox360... and they can also play games.

The PC in my living room has a BluRay player in it, so it doubles as my BluRay/DVD player... one less box under the TV.  I can also play PC games in my living room.

I can share home-made pictures and videos with every TV in the house.  As long as the video is in a format which is supported by the XBox360, I can download/create and save any video... and watch it on any screen.

THAT's the power of CableCARD and Windows Media Center.  Too bad that not enough people realized this.
seffros
100%
0%
seffros,
User Rank: Lightning
12/5/2014 | 3:35:54 PM
CableCARD rules were NOT eliminated by STELAR
This is a misunderstanding of the legislation.  It does not eliminate the support or use of CableCARDS.  The CableCARD rules were in effect long before the "integration ban" was adopted. STELAR ends the "integration ban" not CableCARD support.  As you note, the theory was that by forcing the cable operators to include CableCARDs even in leased devices that didn't need or use them, that would somehow spur the retail market.  It was a total flop. The only thing that happened is that consumers wound up paying more for those leased boxes without getting any benefit. That's the rule that was eliminated. The notion that CableCARDS were somehow a viable retail alternative ended long ago, not by law, but when DBS boxes were exempted and television set manufacturers saw no market for including CableCARDS in their sets. The CableCARD rules themselves, however, live on.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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 Custom TV
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
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
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
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.