CableLabs approves Motorola 'M-Card'
CableLabs has qualified a multi-stream CableCARD from Motorola Inc. that will support video-on-demand, picture-in-picture, and other interactive cable services and applications.
The M-Card, as the multi-stream version of the CableCARD is often called, is a removable conditional access device for OpenCable digital set-tops and set-top-free, "Plug & Play" digital televisions. The currently deployed version of the CableCARD supports only unidirectional digital cable services. The cable industry is also working on a downloadable conditional access system (DCAS) that could eventually replace the more expensive and less elegant CableCARD. Next July, U.S. cable operators will be banned from buying digital set-tops with integrated security.
Motorola marks the second company to obtain M-Card qualification from CableLabs. In April, Scientific Atlanta became the first. With qualifications for SA and Motorola, the U.S. cable industry now has qualified M-Cards for the industry's two major conditional access system suppliers.
CableLabs said it is expected that M-Cards will be available from major MSOs within the next few months.