MultiStream CableCards Get Going

CableLabs has announced a new testing initiative that will make multistream CableCARD (M-Card) a near term commercial reality. The M-Card will allow consumers to get digital cable services without the need for a special set top box, and will address some of the shortcomings of the first generation cable cards, which have failed to impress in the marketplace.

The M-Card interface will allow multiple digital video streams to be decrypted simultaneously, even on unidirectional devices. Thus, a cable subscriber using an M-Card-enabled “Plug and Play” device can view one cable channel, while recording another. It is expected that DVR type devices will be the first to make use of the new multi-stream interface.

Not everyone in the Cable industry is thrilled about this development, reports Cable Digital News.

Rather than doling out expensive security cards for video devices that consumers purchase at retail, MSOs prefer downloadable conditional access systems (DCAS). Not only would a software-based solution be cheaper for cable operators to install and manage, MSO engineers contend that DCAS is more secure because it allows a compromised access technology to be quickly patched or replaced.

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