CableCARDs Slow To Gain Acceptance, Have Problems

October 2nd, 2006


CableCARDs are computer cards that can be put into certain televisions and other related devices (think TiVo series 3). They essentially replace the set-top cable box and allow the television to directly manipulate the cable signal. The CableCARD is provided by the cable TV company and has a standardized interface so that any device with a CableCARD slot can accept any CableCARD.

The reality is a bit different. First, CableCARD acceptance is low: 200,000 users out of the millions of cable TV subscribers. This is due, in part, because only the newest television devices are compatible with them. Thus you have to purchase a new TV or TiVo to use the CableCARD. In addition, the current crop of CableCARDs doesn’t support two-way communication (think Pay-Per-View, interactive programming guides, and video on demand), so some viewers are sticking with the set-top box even though they could use the CableCard. Second, there are incompatibilities between various CableCARDs and the various television devices, meaning you may not be able to use a CableCARD in your brand-new large screen TV.…

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