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CableCARD Deployments Surpass 48M

As it’s been since the summer of 2007, the number of CableCARDs deployed in MSO-leased boxes continues to extend its lead on security modules deployed in TiVo boxes, TVs and other video devices with CableCARD slots sold at retail.

The NCTA’s latest report, issued Thursday, said that the nine largest incumbent U.S. cable operators have deployed 48 million CableCARDs in MSO-supplied set-tops since the set-top security integration ban took effect in July 2007, In comparison, those same MSOs reported having deployed more than 620,000 CableCARDs in retail devices.

That compares to 47 million modules in leased boxes and 616,000 in retail boxes when the NCTA reported these figures in May.

The latest numbers are coming out as the debate on whether the integration ban should continue, with the NCTA and cable operators pushing for it to end now that common reliance has been established, while TiVo argues that it should stay in place in part to ensure that retail boxes can get access to the same services and features that leased boxes provide.

Against this backdrop, the Senate is preparing to consider reauthorizing the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, which has already passed through the House and includes a provision lifting the security ban. Today, NCTA president and CEO Michael Powell urged the Senate to keep that portion of the bill in place and to reject TiVo’s argument.

Among other recent action, TiVo and Comcast struck an agreement to develop a non-CableCARD retail set-top solution, with Comcast also agreeing to provide and support CableCARDs in retail device notwithstanding the D.C. Circuit’s EchoStar decision last year that vacated certain CableCARD rules, which raised questions about cable’s ongoing obligations to support consumer access to the removable security modules. While TiVo wants the ban to stay in place, the company has also acknowledged that commercial agreements are likely the path forward as cable seeks new non-CableCARD solutions, but also believes that more MVPDs need to step up.