Friday, June 29, 2007

CableCARD 2.0

We speak of web 2.0 and TV 2.0, so let's talk about the CableCARD 2.0. This Sunday, after a number of delays, the FCC law first discussed in 1998, sand designed to separate control of the content from the cable box, is scheduled to go into effect. Between now and July 1, cable companies will be trying for another extension. It will enable us to win back our TV sets and not rely on the set-top box as the only means to access scrambled digital programming.

I currently have a TIVO device connected directly to cable, but with access to only unscrambled channels from basic cable. I also have a DVR on another TV set. I see how each functions. Its like the difference between a Porsche and a VW. That's how much I prefer TIVO.

Still, the current CableCARD, barely being utilized today, is a one-way device, allowing access to all digital channels, but not to cable's VOD and PPV options, as well as the interactive guide, and other technology. So the next version, CableCARD 2.0 should be that interactive iteration. But is it too late to the game; perhaps, because of the OCAP standard being embraced by companies like Intel, we can move away from a physical card and let the software in the chips intelligently determine access and openness to this array of programming and technological innovation.

I say figure it out. The integration of Web 2.0 and TV 2.0 is the future; today's set-top box is not. Access, convergence, and interaction are what we want with the devices of our choosing; July 1 has arrived, let's get started.