CableCARD Deployments Creep Past 53M

The top nine incumbent U.S. cable operators have deployed about 53 million CableCARDs in MSO-supplied set-tops and a mere 617,000 of the removable security modules in TiVo boxes, TVs and other retail products with CableCARD slots, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s latest report to the FCC.

That’s about 400,000 more than the 52.61 million CableCARDs deployed in MSO-supplied boxes when compared to the NCTA’s report to the FCC in May, which represented an increase of about 1.1 million versus the NCTA’s report in February. The latest report also showed that 3,000 fewer security modules are present in retail devices versus the NCTA’s most recent report in May.

The NCTA has been issuing these reports since the FCC’s ban on integrated security set-tops took effect in July 2007. The passing of the STELAR Act, which became law late last year, activated a provision that will sunset the FCC’s current ban on integrated security set-tops after a year.

The FCC is now tasked with pursuing a successor to the CableCARD that will focus on downloadable security systems that could be applied to cable operators as well as other MVPDs, including telcos and satellite TV providers.

To help with that pursuit, the FCC in January appointed the Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC), which must file a report with the Commission detailing its findings by Sept. 4, 2015. The next DSTAC meeting is scheduled to take place tomorrow (Tuesday, Aug. 4), at 10 a.m. ET.

The scope and direction of the DSTAC has been a source of tension. Last month, a bipartisan pair of House members asked the Committee to keep to its statutory mandate and not stray into reviving an AllVid proposal that has historically gotten lots of push-back from the cable industry.