CableCARD Deployments Reach 54M

The nine largest incumbent U.S. cable operators have deployed 54 million CableCARDs in MSO-supplied set-tops versus just 618,000 of the removable security modules in TiVo boxes, TVs and other retail products that sport a CableCARD slot, per the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s latest report to the FCC.

That’s an increase of 1 million versus the 53 million CableCARDs that those same operators had deployed when the NCTA filed its previous report in August, and a mere 1,000 more CableCARDs in retail devices.

The NCTA has been issuing these reports since the FCC’s ban on integrated security set-tops took effect in July 2007. Thepassing of the STELAR Act, which became law on Dec. 4, 2014, activated a provision that will sunset the FCC’s current ban on integrated security set-tops after a year.

The FCC has since been focusing on a potential successor to the CableCARD based on downloadable security systems that could be applied to cable operators as well as other MVPDs, including telcos and satellite TV providers.

As part of that pursuit, the FCC-appointed the Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC), which in August presented multiple non-CableCARD options, I ncluding an apps-based approach favored by cable operators and an AllVid-style approach favored by others, including Google, that discuss the implementation of a “virtual headend” and a government-specified gateway devices that can unite video from various MVPDs.

Interested parties filed comments on the final DSTAC report in early October. A summary of those comments are available here. Reply comments are due Nov. 9, 2015.