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Not to Belabor the CableCARD Issue, but…

vz-set-tops_sml.jpg

As part of a conversation today someone emphasized to me that Verizon’s CableCARD waiver from the FCC is only a one-year grace period for advanced (HD and DVR) set-tops. Seven-Oh-Seven is past. But Seven-Oh-Eight isn’t that far away.

I bring this up not to hype another deadline, but to point out that a year isn’t a long time to develop and ramp up production on an entirely new set-top. As I’ve pointed out before, Verizon’s network is hybrid QAM/IP, which means the CableCARD set-tops being deployed by cable operators won’t work for the telecom company. Verizon also can’t count on another deadline extension from the FCC just because its facing a unique technical challenge, not after it’s already been given one, much-contested reprieve.

If Verizon doesn’t have a CableCARD set-top by Seven-Oh-Eight, it will literally have to stop shipping advanced set-tops. Verizon doesn’t want that and neither do eager FiOS customers.
Update: Verizon is now asking for a two-year extension on its waiver from the FCC.

 

2 Responses

  1. Aren’t some people using TiVo cable card units with FiOS?

  2. Yes, but as Evan Groat clarified for me, using CableCARD with a TiVo means you’re decrypting a single stream of programming for display. On the other hand, an operator-provided set-top needs to access an EPG, VOD and any two-way services. The Motorola/FiOS set-tops use an IP return path and IP for VOD sessions. This is where they’re different from cable operator set-tops. (Thanks, Evan)

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