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CableCard Failures Spark Spat

Opening up a new front in the regulatory wars between the cable and consumer electronics industries, each side is heatedly blaming the other for numerous faulty installations of removable security modules in digital cable-ready TV sets and set-top boxes.

In their latest joint volley filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the nation's six biggest cable operators charge that consumer electronics devices now account for the lion's share of installation problems with the security modules, known as CableCARDS. Several of the large MSOs, while conceding past problems with faulty CableCARDS, pin the blame on uncooperative digital TV sets in 90% or more of the cases today.

For example, Charter Communications claims that "problems with the manufacture of digital televisions are responsible for virtually all reported CableCARD issues" that the company encountered in March, April, and May. The nation's third biggest MSO chalks up at least 94 percent of its installation problems to "faulty host digital televisions."

Consumer electronics makers counter that cable operators and their vendors are the ones largely to blame for the malfunctioning one-way CableCARDS, which are designed to support some but not all digital services. Citing "an increasing level of customer frustration with CableCARDS," electronics manufacturers argue that many cable systems don't offer enough technical support and employee training to make the system work.

Read the whole story at Cable Digital News.

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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