CableCARD Deployments Top 45M

Only 606,000 Security Modules Are Deployed In Retail Devices

The top nine incumbent U.S. cable operators have deployed more than 45 Million MSO-supplied set-tops outfitted with CableCARDs, while just 606,000 security modules are used in TiVo boxes, TVs and other retail devices that contain CableCARD slots, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) told the FCC in a report filed Friday (January 31).

That’s up from the 44 million CableCARDs in MSO-leased boxes and 600,000 in retail devices reported last November by the NCTA, which has been issuing these updates regularly since the FCC-mandated integrated set-top security ban took effect July 1, 2007.

The NCTA has repeatedly called on the FCC to end the set-top ban. Last fall, Reps. Robert Latta (R-Ohio) and Gene Green (D-TX) introduced  legislation  that aims to “remove the unnecessary and costly” set-top security integration ban, putting forth an FCC estimate that the mandate has cost cable operators and consumers more than $1 billion.

The bill would clear cable operators to deploy devices with integrated security, though have pledged to continue supporting retail CableCARD devices.

TiVo, which remains highly reliant on the CableCARD for the delivery of cable digital TV services, fears that the elimination of the ban would put it and its products at a significant disadvantage.

Last fall, Samsung launched a retail CableCARD device called the Smart Media Player that supports digital cable TV services over QAM and over-the-top apps from Netflix, VUDU, and Amazon Instant Video, among others.

The AllVid Tech Company Alliance, meanwhile, continues to urge the FCC to introduce a rulemaking effort that would produce a successor to the CableCARD that could be applied to all forms of multichannel channel video distributors, not just cable operators. The Alliance last pressed its case during a meeting with the FCC on January 14.