That's up from the 17.75 million CableCARDs reported by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) in December 2009, the last time the organization provided its periodic update to the Commission. (See CableCARD Update .)
Although the ban was designed to help spur a retail market for third-party set-tops and set-top-free digital TVs, only 489,000 CableCARDs have been deployed for use in such devices so far, up slightly from 456,000 as of December 2009, according to the NCTA.
The NCTA's latest report arrives amid possible changes as the FCC pursues recommendations that all multichannel TV service providers -- not just cable operators -- support bridging gateways or a "functional equivalent" to help spur innovation for third-party, retail video devices. It also wants to "fix" some of the existing CableCARD rules. (See FCC Floats 'Simple' Gateway, CableCARD Rules .)
Both of those items are on the FCC's tentative agenda for its April 21 open meeting, where it's expected to present a formal Notice of Inquiry on the network gateway concept and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the CableCARD.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable