CableCard is still stuck half-in, half-out of the gate as the cable companies, CE manufacturers and government fight over when and how the technology will be deployed. Currently the deadline for the cable industry to install digital boxes that separate encryption and basic decoding functions in set top boxes is July 2007. After that point, every cable box installed will actually need a CableCard in it to work (existing customers won't need to make any changes) and customers will be able to buy their own digital boxes at retail. Now the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has changed their strategy, requesting a waiver to delay the integration ban until downloadable security technology, which they claim is less expensive and more efficient, is ready or the end of 2009, whichever comes first. They're also calling foul on satellite providers being able to deploy proprietary set-top boxes without having to make them available at retail, but it seems like they have their own problems. If you're looking forward to having the choice of your own box at the store, or plugging a cable straight into your HDTV to get service, it may be a bit further off if the NCTA gets their way.

Read - Countdown to Seven oh Seven
Read - Cable companies lose round in CableCard battle
Read - NCTA Requests Limited-Time Waiver of Set-Top Box Rule That Will Otherwise Impose Unnecessary Costs on Cable Customers

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