x
Cable/Video

CableCARD

The CableCARD is a removable security module that many U.S. cable operators use today to conform to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) integrated set-top security ban, which took effect July 1, 2007, and was designed to spark a retail model for interactive digital set-tops and cable-ready digital televisions. (See Countdown to 'Seven-Oh-Seven'.)

The ban prevents MSOs from purchasing and deploying digital set-tops with integrated security. However, several operators have been successful in obtaining waivers from the FCC that allow the continued deployment of integrated security set-tops. Those waivers have historically been awarded to MSOs that can demonstrate financial hardship or pledge to use the integrated security boxes to fuel all-digital migrations.

The CableCARD module and interface, used to authorize digital cable services, is also a key component of tru2way, cable's uniform headend and set-top middleware platform. CableLabs has qualified CableCARDs from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), sometimes referred to as the U.S. cable "duopoly," as well as a module from NDS Ltd. All of those CableCARDs are "multi-stream," meaning they can process and decrypt more than one channel at a time.

CableCARD

Evolution Broadband LLC is also developing a CableCARD for a digital video system it has tailored for small- and mid-sized MSOs. The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) has created a CableCARD-like module for IPTV services called the VueKey. (See ATIS OKs CableCARD for IPTV.)

Cable has also shown interest in developing a downloadable conditional access system that would also adhere to the FCC ban and eventually succeed the CableCARD. However, CableCARDs are expected to dominate the U.S. cable set-top security landscape for the foreseeable future.

According to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) data filed in late June 2009, the top 10 "incumbent" U.S. cable MSOs had deployed more than 14.08 million operator-supplied set-tops with CableCARDs since the FCC ban took effect two years ago. By comparison, those same MSOs have deployed just over 437,800 CableCARD modules for use in retail devices.

Be the first to post a comment regarding this story.
HOME
Sign In
SEARCH
CLOSE
MORE
CLOSE