There continues to be much confusion around CableCARDs and the ability to support two-way communication between a set-top and a cable headend. Maybe I’ve missed it, but it seems no one has put together the fact that the latest CableCARDs have to be two-way given the fast-approaching 7/07 deadline.
Put simply, there is no way operators will give up on VOD service when they switch to shipping only CableCARD-enabled set-tops in July. It’s their bread and butter. (Good news for consumers who appear to like VOD at least as much as the MSOs.) So the question is, what are the technical specifications of the latest CableCARDs, and how will VOD work after July 1st?
I did some checking and found that Motorola’s M-Card and new DCH line of CableCARD-enabled set-tops support both multistream video and two-way communication. That’s the key. Both the CableCARD and the host hardware (set-top) have to support two-way service in order for it to work. Luckily for us consumers, service providers have every incentive to make sure that the gear they lease to subscribers covers both requirements.