As Cable360 so aptly put it, the “weekend’s iHype overshadowed the weekend’s new era of CableCARD-ready devices.” We always knew it was just the industry insiders who cared about the July 1st deadline, but never was it more obvious than during this weekend’s deluge of iPhone coverage.
As a quick wrap-up, cable operators large and small (excluding those with waivers) are now shipping only CableCARD-compliant set-tops. Verizon got the green light to keep shipping its existing Motorola set-tops with the firm commitment that it will go all-digital by February of 2009. While consumers aren’t terribly interested in CableCARD, the little device, along with the overall opening up of the cable market, could have a big effect on the television experience of the near future. In the meantime, while consumer heads are focused elsewhere, here are a few Motorola classroom notes on set-top supply and demand.
- Deadlines for ordering CableCARD (host) set-tops fell long before the July 1st shipping date. While still hoping for waivers, operators had to plan in advance on the assumption that no FCC reprieve would come. (Except for Verizon, apparently…)
- Supporting CableCARD has meant upgrading cable headends, not just set-tops. Motorola’s headend infrastructure has supported host set-tops since April, meaning any operators who were ready early could deploy the DCH boxes in the spring.
- Motorola shipments of host set-tops have gone out widely to both large and small cable operators. One of the first orders fulfilled (and many after) was actually from a small operator.
- Feeling nostalgic for the old Motorola set-tops? Don’t worry, they haven’t gone away. In addition to shipping DCT set-tops to operators with waivers, Motorola still has a market for the integrated boxes outside the U.S.