SA Ships CableCARD Set-Tops

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Las Vegas -- Scientific Atlanta started shipping set-top boxes with removable CableCARDs to cable operators for testing, and it plans to deliver production units for deployment by the end of February, said Dave Clark, the company's director of product strategy and management.

The boxes are designed to meet the Federal Communications Commission's July 1, 2007, rule banning set-top boxes with integrated security functions. New boxes put into service as of July 1 must provide separable conditional-access features, such as those provided by CableCARDs.

"This is a little aspirin for operators as they get ready for the ban," Clark added.

SA’s first CableCARD-enabled models are the 8300C, 8300HDC, 8240C, 8240HDC, 4250C, 4250HDC, 4240C and 4240HDC. The initial group are existing set-top models SA converted to use CableCARDs. All of the vendor's future set-top boxes will support CableCARDs, Clark added, unless the FCC regulation changes.

Last month, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said in a report to the FCC that cable operators serving 90% of U.S. cable subscribers have deployed 216,000 CableCARDs to date.

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