Cable Tech

CableCARD Update

5:45 PM -- The 10 largest "incumbent" cable MSOs have deployed more than 16.71 million "operator-supplied" set-tops with CableCARDs since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's security integration ban went into effect on July 1, 2007. (See Countdown to 'Seven-Oh-Seven'.)

And, once again, CableCARDs in retail devices didn't move the needle much.

According to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) , the top 10 MSOs, representing about 90 percent of all U.S. cable subs, have deployed just 443,000 CableCARDs for use in retail devices as of Aug. 31, 2009, meaning just 13,000 more have been added since the NCTA issued this report back in March. (See CableCARD Update VII .)

The vast majority of those devices are comprised of unidirectional "Plug & Play" digital TVs and some TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) DVRs with CableCARD slots, with an undisclosed number of tru2way TVs sprinkled in. The NCTA said 605 Unidirectional Digital Cable Ready Products (UDCPs) from 29 consumer electronics manufacturers have been "certified, verified, or self-verified" so far.

By comparison, just eight devices have been certified for tru2way. Among them are Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC) (two HD sets), Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) (a "set-back" box), and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) (four LCD TVs), and we still think the eighth is a recertification of ADB's tru2way box. (See CableLabs Stamps Panasonic TVs and ADB Develops Tru2way 'Set-Back'.)

Panasonic, however, is the only company (so far) that's even tried to sell tru2way-certified TVs at retail. (See Denver, Chicago First to Get Tru2way TVs and Tru2way's Retail Forecast: Cloudy .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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