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CableCARD Update VI

Jeff Baumgartner

4:20 PM -- As of December 22, the top 10 “incumbent” U.S. MSOs deployed more than 9.7 million “operator-supplied” CableCARDs since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ’s integration ban went into effect last July, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) . (See Countdown to 'Seven-Oh-Seven'.)

The vast majority of those deployments, coming by way of MSOs that serve about 90 percent of all U.S. cable subs, involve security modules that are pre-mated with leased boxes from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

That’s up from 7.8 million operator-supplied CableCARDs deployed the last time NCTA divulged this data in September. (See CableCARD Update V.)

The sad part of the story continues to be the lack of CableCARDs Unidirectional Digital Cable Products (UDCPs), which include one-way “Plug & Play” digital TVs and some standalone DVRs from TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO).

According to the NCTA, just north of 392,000 CableCARDs have been deployed for use in UDCPs as of Dec. 22. Ninety days ago, that number was 374,000, so the needle has moved by just 18,000 CableCARD units.

So this is still not something that should be considered a mass market phenomenon, even though there are 596 UDCP models from 29 consumer electronics manufacturers out on the market.

That compares to two tru2way TVs -- both from Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC) -- that consumers can buy today… if they happen to live in Chicago or Denver, that is. (See Denver, Chicago First to Get Tru2way TVs.)

Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) also has Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) certification for a tru2way-powered "set-back" box that Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) intends to sell alongside some of its Bravia TV models. (See Sony Drives ADB's Set-Back and ADB Develops Tru2way 'Set-Back'.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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