Over at Ars they have a great CableCARD primer that includes everything from the origin to the
nitty-gritty technical details, but here's the gist. It all started with Congress back in 1996; the FCC has let the
cable companies push it back 10 years already and there is still no end in sight. CableCARD 1.0 is a let down because
it is crippled out of the gate (no two-way or multi-stream functionality).
CableCARD 2.0 will be here this year but no one will care, because compatible devices won't be here till 2007, and by then Downloadable Conditional Access System (DCAS) will replace it. No worries, because CableCARD is backwards compatible, but you won't get the new features. Add in some technical details on how the DRM is bullet proof to will prevent you from doing anything like enjoying shows on your iPod and that pretty much sums it up. Joy! Oh and one more thing: if you want to use Vista Media Center with CableCARD it will require an HDCP display.
Thanks, Frankie and Warren.