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The CEA asks the FCC if CableCARD is helping to spur competition

Ben Drawbaugh

It's about time someone said something and it's no surprise that it was the Consumer Electronics Association who finally did. You see CableCARDs are the solution that the cable industry came up with to comply with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which stated that consumers should be able to bring their own equipment to the cable party. We of course know that outside of TiVo and a few other CableCARD DVRs like Media Center, no one uses it. Well actually the entire cable industry uses it because the FCC mandated that after July of 2007, that every single newly deployed digital set-top had use a CableCARD instead of the integrated security. This mandate was supposed to encourage the cable industry to support 3rd party CableCARD host devices better, which obviously didn't happen. And so the CEA is doing whatever it can and nudging the FCC with a, "this isn't working, what's next?" What is supposed to be next is tru2way, but we all know how that it is going nowhere, and fast. The CEA says enough is enough, lets bring on downloadable conditional access (DAC) which would replace the whole card thing with a simple download. Of course this alone isn't enough to solve the problem, and until the cable industry agrees to give up complete control of the infrastructure and adopts a two-way standardized protocol like DCR+, no matter what the cable industry does, this entire cycle is just going to start all over again. But hey, it's a start, maybe in another 16 years we'll actually be able to watch HDTV without a set-top-box.

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