Yesterday, Sony and many cable companies including: Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Bright House Networks agreed to develop a cable card with the same capability and functionality as a set-top box. See this AP news article.
–End News Flash–
I have a cable card in my Sony HDTV. The best thing about it……it is free (perfect for a starving blogger and substitute teacher). I can receive all the channels including the HD channels. It works great…95% of the time. But, once a month or so, especially lately, I have to call Comcast to “reset” my card since many channels are no longer viewable (“Daaaad…CMT Pure is gone again”). Luckily they can reset the card remotely and in a few seconds, and for the next month, my card works perfectly.
I cannot participate in pay-for-view or other interactive services. I do not care. I have VUDU…who needs anything more?
The new CableCARD will be based on CableLABs “tru2way” java-based technology.
What does this mean to you?
No extra box. If you TV have a cable card slot (be sure you check when you buy a new TV), you just put the card in the slot (fork over $40 or so to the tech who does it) and you are good to go. No extra remote. A good thing in this day of proliferating remotes. Less items to dust.
Some questions remain.
Will my free cable card be replaced by a rental? If that happens…I will not like it. Will my cable card be rendered obsolete? When will this new card become available? Will my old Sony HDTV accept the new cable card? (Note: CableLABS on their cable card web page, see below, says it will be backward compatible…we will see.)
Over time, all the questions will be answered…in the meantime, I will sit tight and enjoy my HDTV with my current cable card and be prepared to call Comcast once a month.
- Time Warner has a nice summary of their cable card offering here.
- WikiPedia has a nice article here (and the pic I grabbed for this blog).
- CableLABS home page, and more info than you could ever want on CableCARDS
I’ll track this over time and add updates as necessary…