The CableCARD isn't cable's only option for content security these days, and ABI Research sees cardless conditional access systems (CAS) gaining traction beside their hardware brethren.
According to a new ABI forecast, the number of cardless CAS deployed will jump 300 percent from five million units in 2012 to 21.5 million in 2017. The ABI report notes that Cisco Systems Inc. leads the vendor pack in shipments today thanks to deployments by Cablevision Systems Corp. of the company's K-LAD downloadable security system.
"However, Nagra and Irdeto are leading this wave of shipments in low ARPU regions, while Verimatrix's cardless technology is robust and gaining market attention," says Sam Rosen, practice director at ABI.
The road to commercial adoption of downloadable security has been a long and difficult one. Cablevision began installing K-LAD in 2009, but there's been limited uptake of downloadable security technology elsewhere. Now, in 2013, Charter is aiming to follow Cablevision's path and is seeking a waiver from the FCC on the integrated security ban so it can pursue its own rollout plan. Some Tier 2 operators have also installed downloadable encryption systems using a platform from Beyond Broadband Technology. (See Charter Bemoans CableCARD Costs, and CableCARD Alternative Gains Ground.)
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable