Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Did the Eurythmics sing about 1996? Of course not. They had broken up by then.

So, what is a CableCARD, and why do we care?

With 11 weeks to go before the Federal Communications Commission’s July 1 ban on set-tops with integrated security, Motorola and Scientific Atlanta said they will ramp up production of CableCARD boxes next month.

SA delivered test units to operators and expects to ramp up production in early May, with units arriving at customers in mid-May....

At Motorola, commercial shipments of the first CableCARD boxes started this month....Full production runs will ramp up in the latter part of May and into June....

The FCC ban will require most cable operators after July 1 to deploy only digital-cable boxes with separate security mechanisms, which, for now, means the removable CableCARD devices....

Pace Micro Technology, meanwhile, is currently testing three CableCARD-enabled boxes at various customer sites. The secondary set-top supplier will support CableCARD devices from both Motorola and SA, vice president of sales and marketing Tim O’Loughlin said.

“Most of my customers aren’t looking to place early CableCARD orders,” he added. “They seem to want to purchase a handful, and then to wait and ramp up after the July 1 deadline. No one is moving early to CableCARD.”

Wikipedia explains why this is happening:

“CableCARD” refers more broadly to a set of technologies created by the United States cable television industry in response to requirements by federal government’s Telecommunications Act of 1996 that cable companies allow non cable company provided devices to access their networks.

Of course, this is taking place at the same time as the HDTV switchover. Should be fun.


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