Is Cablecard really Dead? (and ideas for FCC on how to fix)

Hot off the heels of the FCC’s obvious announcement last week that Cable Card was a failure, Sean Alexander takes a closer look at the technology–past, present and future in the hopes of progressing towards a more useful and prominent technology for all of us.

Sean Alexander

And the future doesn’t appear to be much brighter. The interactive support needed for Video On Demand or Interactive services has been slow to materialize – July 1st 2009’s agreed-upon deadline came and went and Panasonic continues to be the only TV manufacturer to have support for the platform. Ok, so what if you don’t care about getting "Premium" channels such as HBO or Showtime and just want to record Discovery Channel or ESPN? More economical solutions such as the SiliconDust HDHomeRun (which I also really like) in many regions can now only pick up local TV signals. Here in the Seattle area, as of December 8th, all non-local stations are encrypted by Comcast. Reports are Verizon’s FioS will still let you tune but for how long? It’s clear concern among content providers over piracy of their unencrypted HD content is a top driver of this behavior.