I spent a good part of yesterday working on a CableCARD briefing paper, and since my brain is running in that direction, I thought I’d take some time to jot down a few related thoughts here. (If you want a detailed look at CableCARD, check out Ars Technica’s article. It’s a year old, but covers many of the salient points.)
First, despite the ongoing legal battles, it looks more and more likely that the “Seven-Oh-Seven” deadline will come to pass. The FCC has been strict on waiver requests and is apparently not inclined to extend its integration-ban deadline for a third time.
Second, it’s important to note that separable security, i.e. the CableCARD, is something the cable industry originally wanted. This point gets lost in most discussions because of the cable industry’s opposition to the integration ban today. Why did MSOs want non-embedded security features? Because they wanted a more competitive market among set-top manufacturers.
Which bring me to point the third, Motorola is happy to see the set-top market open up. This is counterintuitive if you think about the fact that Motorola is the leading global set-top provider. However, it makes a lot of sense when you consider that Motorola is not just a set-top company, but a mobile device company. Opening up the market means more innovation as CE companies begin to compete with what service providers offer in their leased-CPE business model. New business models and new reliance on open standards mean we can also see a future in which set-tops will talk to other devices. Mobile devices, for example.