Remember CableCARDs? You probably don’t because most of us have never seen one. They were supposed to be a way to inject the magic of premium cable into OEM devices like PCs and DVRs. Instead they were hard to acquire, hard to use, and generally a bad idea. I would estimate that CableCARDs single-handedly led to current slow demise of TiVo.
The FCC agrees and is calling them a total failure. Here’s what they said in a recent report:
“The Commission’s CableCARD rules have resulted in limited success in developing a retail market for navigation devices. Certification for plug-and-play devices is costly and complex.”
So that said, where do we go from here? Tru2way. The new system will offload “navigation” (basically channel changing) to the device in question and only dedicate the cable signal acquisition to the card itself. What really needs to happen? Smartcard integration with Cable boxes, the same kind you see in satellite systems and Euro cable systems. This lets you take you card, put it into a box, and watch TV.
The problem is this: the cable companies like a nice monopoly. They don’t want their content reaching the Internet (*ahem*). Their short-sighted antics hurt innovation. There’s no way around it.