Friday, October 1, 2010

Have You Seen Your CableCard?

Cable companies would have you believe that the CableCard program, designed to enable other devices to interact on the cable pipeline, was a success. But have you ever seen a CableCard? Do you even know that one is in your cable set top box? Heck, I haven't even bothered to look. In fact... "the 10 biggest U.S. cable operators have deployed more than 22.75 million leased set-top boxes with CableCards since the Federal Communications Commission's integrated set-top ban went into effect in July 2007 -- a rule the cable industry claims has cost more than $1 billion to no discernable effect. Meanwhile, those same cable operators have deployed approximately 531,000 CableCards for use in retail devices such as TiVo DVRs, according to figures supplied by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association to the FCC Thursday." That represents a little over 2.3%. Hardly a dent. And demonstrates that the cable companies don't want 3rd party devices touching their cable wires.

It is also why consumer electronic companies, fed up with the cable industry, have bypassed CableCard technology and put their efforts into internet enabled devices. Just go to Best Buy and ask for a CableCard enabled TV set. Good Luck. Now ask for a TV with internet connectivity and Netflix. Pick your model. Cable has made their bed and ultimately will face increasing competition from broadband connectivity.

Can cable catch up? Can they find a more meaningful solution that keeps the consumer tethered to their wire. Or will cord cuttig become that much more of a reality. At the moment, let's be clear, the CableCard model is broken. Consumers and competitors have found the workaround with internet connectivity; no set top box, no problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment