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Charter Tests Prototype STB With Downloadable Security

Charter Communications revealed a few more details about its ongoing work involving a new downloadable security system, telling the FCC that it’s nearing a new set of more advanced lab tests.

In documents filed with the FCC in late July, Charter said it has successfully lab-tested silicon in a prototype set-top “to refine the operation of downloadable security across two existing industry standard conditional access systems.” An upcoming lab test will be connected to live Charter plant, the MSO said.

Charter is keeping the FCC apprised as it continues development on a downloadable security system. Last April, the FCC it granted Charter a temporary waiver to deploy dual-security set-tops that integrate the MSO’s legacy conditional access system alongside the new, downloadable version. The new security system is expected to grace a new “World Box” that is also under development.

Charter needs the FCC waiver to sidestep the FCC’s ban on set-tops with integrated security that took effect in July 2007. Cablevision Systems received a similar waiver in 2009 to aid its now-deployed downloadable security platform.

Charter, per the conditions of the waiver, said it has continued “good faith” efforts with a CE manufacturer about development of a retail box that can use the downloadable system. Charter has not revealed that the CE company in question, but noted that “[f]urther progress awaits the finalization of the downloadable conditional access ecosystem and its specifications.”

Charter also noted that it had deployed 1.37 million set-tops with integrated security under the FCC waiver, as of June 30, 2014. As of that date, Charter also said it has deployed 4.97 million set-tops with CableCARDs against 52,341 CableCARDs for use in retail devices.