The FCC’s ban on integrated security set-tops ended last December, and the impact of it continues to be seen in the latest batch of CableCARD deployment figures to emerge from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
In an April 27 filing with the Federal Communications Commission, NCTA said the nine largest U.S. incumbent cable operators have deployed 55 million operator-supplied set-tops with CableCARD modules – about the same number it reported in its last disclosure in February 2016.
Meanwhile, the number of CableCARD modules deployed in retail products such as TiVo boxes reached 621,400, up from 589,000 in the February report.
The NCTA has been issuing these reports since the original ban took effect in July 2007.
The FCC, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with new set-top box rules that it intends to apply to all MVPDs, not just cable operators. The cable industry has argued that new mandates are not needed, given momentum of the market toward an apps-based economy.
However, last week FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was undaunted in the pursuit of new rules, holding that his proposal "has gotta be done. And that's the road we are headed down."
Wheeler also was not moved by Comcast's launch of the Xfinity TV Partner Program, which, early on, will see an app for the MSO's full suite of pay TV services reach Samsung smart TVs and the Roku streaming platform. "What Comcast giveth, Comcast can taketh away," he said.
Last week, Comcast Cable president and CEO Neil Smit said more than 40 companies have inquired about the program since it was launched, and labeled the FCC's initial, critical response to the program "uncalled for."