Daily Archives: 8 June 2004

Cable Box Independence Day

Well, not exactly. But you may
be hearing more about CableCard (see one article
that explains things better than the CableLabs site) in the
near future.

Starting July 1st, if you have a CableCard ready TV (which
you probably don’t, but will be able to purchase in the near
future), you can pop in one of these cards and get rid of your
set-top decoder box. This means you can use your TV’s tuner,
rather than a separate box, to watch analog, digital, or HDTV (assuming your TV can display them).
Of course, you must be a subscriber of these services but you
would no longer need the extra box to watch them via cable.

Note that the CableCard is unidirectional, meaning that such
services as Video-on-Demand or various bi-directional TV guides
would no longer work. Further, while CableCard ready
DVRs will
have a slot, it appears you would need to have two CableCards
to use them to watch one scrambled channel on your CableCard
enabled TV (or using features such as picture-in-picture) while
recording another on the CableCard ready DVR.

In addition, I’m not sure where you would get the cards
other than from your cable provider. Said provider would
probably have a monthly rental charge for the cards. What that
cost will be I don’t know but when its available, you will need
to determine whether it’s worth your while to switch or just
stay with what you have (which would continue to operate as