CableLabs OKs Evolution's CableCard

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CableLabs has qualified a multistream CableCard developed by Evolution Digital, a supplier of digital cable set-top boxes and systems, and conditional-access vendor Conax.

The newly qualified card, which meets OpenCable CableCard Interface 2.0 specifications, is interoperable with any CableCard-enabled device certified by CableLabs.

A Federal Communications Commission rule that went into effect in July 2007 -- known as the integrated set-top

ban -- requires cable operators to use CableCards in leased equipment that provides advanced video services. The "common reliance" rule is intended to ensure CableCards work as well in cable-ready retail consumer electronics as they do in operator-supplier set-tops.

"Our focus as a company has been to provide low-cost digital solutions to the North American independent cable operators," Evolution Digital president Brent Smith said in a statement. "By embracing key world technology partners, like Conax, who adhere to open standards, we are able to offer operators and consumers low-cost, standards-based, FCC-approved, CableLabs-qualified products."

Conax, a subsidiary of Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor, said it has deployed its content security technology in nearly 30 million smart cards worldwide. Evolution sells advanced MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 set-tops and DVRs, as well as TiVo HD DVRs, and will now offer those with the CableLabs-qualified CableCards.

The FCC in May granted Evolution a waiver of the integrated set-top ban for the vendor's low-cost, limited-function set-tops referred to as digital transport adapters, which also use the Conax CA system.

This week, the agency granted similar waivers for DTAs from Motorola, Cisco Systems, Pace and Thomson. Separately, Evolution has requested a waiver for an HD-capable DTA that costs less than $100.

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