CableCARD Deployments Creep Past 55M

For those still keeping score, the nine largest U.S. incumbent cable operators have deployed 55 million operator-supplied set-tops with CableCARD modules, compared to just 589,000 CableCARDs for deployment in retail products such as TiVo boxes, according to a National Cable & Telecommunications Association report filed with the FCC late last week.

For operator-supplied set-tops with CableCARDs, it’s a small increase from the 54 million reported by the NCTA in November 2015, and, for retail devices with CableCARD slots, a decrease from 618,000.

The NCTA has been issuing these reports since the FCC’s ban on integrated security set-tops took effect in July 2007. That ban ended on Dec. 4, 2015, per a Congressional mandate tied to the passing of the STELAR Act, which became law on Dec. 4, 2014.

The cable industry has long held that the integration ban was costly and unnecessary, but is now faced with the possibility of new set-top rules that would apply not just to cable operators, but to telco TV and satellite TV providers as well.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed those new rules last week, claiming they will drive “choice and competition” in the set-top market. The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal at its February 18 public meeting. The proposal will need to garner three votes to pass.

Please go here for a roundup of stories about the proposal and the reactions to it.