Was CableCARD Ever a Good Idea?


A long time ago some geniuses in government managed to pass a law with the idea of creating a competitive consumer electronics industry in the niche of the cable STB.

Lower prices, innovation, features, technology, consumer benefits …

The only benefits to come out of all this mucking around in all these years is the ability to save around $5/mo on a CC vs an STB, and the idea of recording TV shows. While the first is a benefit, I would not call it a significant benefit because it comes at the cost of several “services” cable STBs offer. As for the second, well, lets not sneeze at it, but come on, no other ideas than that in all these years?

It is probably the case that there never was much to be had out of opening cable networks. The only real technological problem cableCARD has ever solved is the ability to record HD – HD component and HDMI recording only just now becoming practical. The only real application to opening a video network seems to be the abilty to capture the video.

Heck, DVRs could have captured compressed digital streams off firewire outputs from cable STBs years ago, without all the hassle.

We are left only with the dual (multi) tuner issue. For many years I have controlled multiple TiVoes in a single room; all that´s ever needed to be done is require cable cos to provide STBs with IR codes, or better yet a multi-tuner STB with multiple (or muxed) digital outputs. All that could have been done years ago with far less hassle and headache.

I am wondering if anyone can chime in with some sort of idea that offers a more optomistic outlook on the open cable landscape. Surely we will get something more for all this than a video recorder with a different UI and less access to cable services than with a cable provided box?


3 Responses to “Was CableCARD Ever a Good Idea?”

  1. HDTiVo Says:

    Never one to be terribly good with tags, I have added a new one called “Open Cable”

    What with SDV and cableCARD stuff being fairly hot now, I thought I´d go back and tag some old articles too… I´ve hit mid-june ´07 so far.

  2. Daniel Says:

    The problem isn’t with CableCard, it’s with the Cable companies crippling it and dragging their feet on it. The problem with HDMI and firewire recording is that both of those features are easily crippled with DRM.

  3. HDTiVo Says:

    You are thinking about it in static terms of how the whole regime has developed today. Things could have evolved differently to include the reasonable personal use recording/timeshifting/MRVing of appropriate content in a secured environment, and not this wacko copy flag stuff run amuck by the cable cos, and not even the content providers. 😮

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