Pace Shows Off CableCARD Boxes

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Pace Micro Technology introduced a family of CableCARD products, including models that support HD and digital-video recorder features.

The products are intended to let operators comply with the Federal Communications Commission's July 1 ban on digital set-tops that have integrated security features. CableCARDs are removable hardware devices that handle conditional-access and decryption capabilities required to view pay TV.

Pace's boxes "will begin shipping this spring as operators require them," according to spokeswoman Tammy Snook. She said the company does not publicly disclose pricing.

Operators large and small have complained that the FCC ban places an undue burden on them. Comcast is still actively petitioning the FCC to reverse the agency's decision denying it a waiver for three low-end set-tops, including Pace's Chicago box.

The two major cable set-top makers, Motorola and Cisco's Scientific Atlanta subsidiary, have said they are on track to ship CableCARD-based boxes in volume before the end of the first quarter.