It's not really clear why the old CableCARD
hasn't taken off as expected -- consumers blame their cable providers, who blame the card manufacturers, who blame device makers -- but nonetheless, the technology is far from dead, and now it looks like those long-awaited multi-stream CARDS could be available before the end of the year. CableLabs recently announced that Motorola's "M-Card" has joined Scientific Atlanta's offering in finally earning the organization's coveted "qualified" status, paving the way for such great functionality as picture-in-picture on compatible TVs and multi-channel recording for properly-equipped DVRs. Although the M-Card does improve upon current-gen CableCARDs by delivering access to more than one channel at a time, it is still classified as a version 1.0 device, and therefore won't allow the bi-directional communication necessary for on-demand or pay-per-view goodness. Still, this development is good news for consumers, as it should lead to increased demand for the cards, which will hopefully serve as a kick in the pants for the weak link in the CableCARD chain, whoever it is.