Friday, February 1, 2013

CableCard Distribution Rising

The news out of the cable industry is that CableCards are being deployed at a higher and higher rate.  Year over year, CableCards have grown by 8% to non-cable boxes like TiVo, and the top 9 cable operators saw CableCard deployment increase 22% to their own set top boxes.  "CableCards, developed by CableLabs, provide authentication and encryption to access cable TV programming."  

So that news means that more homes are using set top boxes. At the same time, most of these same top cable companies have also reported declines in the number of households taking a cable subscription.  So what does that mean?  More cards, less homes; obviously, the conversion of cable plants from analog and digital requires that every TV set needs a set top box to unscramble the programming signals.  This the increase in CableCard deployment is simply that, the requirement that more boxes be deployed in the field so all the TV sets in the home can watch cable TV.  If anything,the research may simply indicate that the average home has multiple TV sets.  Good to know.

Is HBO Go On Apple TV A Big Deal?

Would someone explain to me why having the HBO Go App on the Apple TV device is a big deal.  "Adding HBO to the lineup of Apple TV services including Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Hulu Plus may help the iPhone maker bolster sales of a set-top box that has faced stiff competition from similar video-delivery devices from Roku Inc. and Microsoft Corp.."  But wait, don't I already have an HBO Go app on my iPad and iPhone.  And since I need a cable subscription to watch HBO, I most likely have a cable set top box since one is required on every set to get channels as well as on demand.  So while it may sound great that Apple TV has the service, unless HBO enables a consumer to buy an HBO subscription WITHOUT going through a cable provider, I am less impressed.