Operators Top 14 Million Set-Tops With CableCards

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Two years after the Federal Communications Commission's so-called integrated set-top ban went into effect, the 10 largest U.S. cable operators have deployed almost 14.1 million set-top boxes that include removable CableCards.

By comparison, as of June 2009, those same 10 MSOs have supplied 437,800 CableCards to customers for use in TiVo DVRs and other compatible third-party electronics devices, according to a report from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association filed Friday with the FCC.

"Therefore, in less than 24 months, cable operators have deployed more than 32 times as many CableCard-enabled devices than the total number of CableCards requested by customers for use in retail devices in the last five years," the NCTA said.

The FCC's ban on set-tops with integrated security went into effect for most cable operators on July 1, 2007. The rule was supposed to encourage the retail market for cable-ready DVRs and TVs, by forcing the same CableCards used in third-party devices to be used in operator-supplied set-tops.

The FCC requires cable operators to file regular status reports on the deployment and support of CableCards, which the NCTA has compiled on behalf of the largest MSOs.

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