Evolution Digital, Conax score CableCard qualification
In partnership with Evolution Digital, Conax’s multi-stream CableCard was recently awarded qualification by CableLabs.
The CableCard, or M-Card, was designed to meet CableLabs’ OpenCable CableCard 2.0 specifications. CableCards became a requirement for cable operators’ leased set-top boxes in July 2007 after the Federal Communications Commission instituted its integrated security ban.
The CableCard qualification is a key part of Evolution’s strategy of covering both the high and low ends of the set-top box market for small- and medium-size cable operators.
In May, Evolution announced a deal with TiVo  to use the latter’s Series 3 high-definition set-top boxes, which will come equipped with Conax’s CableCards. The TiVo deal will give Evolution’s cable operator customers access to Internet content from the likes of Amazon and Netflix, which gives smaller ops a VOD-like service without the expensive network equipment.
On the other end of the spectrum, Evolution has its lower-cost set-top boxes with digital terminal adapters that use smartcards, which Evolution was granted a three-year waiver  for from the integrated security ban in June by the Federal Communications Commission.
As part of its turnkey platform, Evolution also has a deal in place with Avail Media  for linear content.
“Our focus as a company has been to provide low-cost digital solutions to the North American independent cable operators,” explains Brent Smith, president of Evolution Digital. “By embracing key world technology partners, like Conax, who adhere to open standards, we are able to offer operators and consumers low-cost, standards-based, FCC-approved, CableLabs-qualified products.”
A few weeks ago, Evolution filed for a waiver on its HD set-top box  that comes equipped with a DTA. The American Cable Association has urged the FCC to take the next step  by granting waivers for low-cost digital set-tops that can process HD programming to reflect the fact that millions of U.S. TV households have replaced their old TV sets with modern HD screens.
“Our focus with our HD waiver is to push for DVB simulcrypt using Conax smartcard security,” Smith said via e-mail to CED. “The only way to get HD DTAs below the $100 threshold is to incorporate smartcard security.”
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