Motorola Broadband has become the second CableCARD vendor to win OpenCable qualification from CableLabs. Scientific-Atlanta 's CableCARD for the PowerKEY conditional access platform gained approval in June.
Motorola's CableCARD (formerly known as the Point-of-Deployment, or POD, module) is based on the company's proprietary MediaCipher CA and encryption platform.
CableCARDs are designed to separate out the CA in digital set-tops, TVs and other OpenCable "hosts," ideally lending portability to the devices and opening up a retail market. The CableCARD is also a prime component of the proposed "Plug-and-Play" agreement from the cable and consumer electronics industries. The Federal Communications Commission has yet to bless the proposal.
Still, qualification of S-A and Motorola CableCARDs takes care of the nation's two primary platforms for digital CA systems. Other CA vendors have openly criticized the OpenCable architecture to a degree, arguing that, while it may add portability to the set-top, it does not truly "open up" the market for CA (please see the August cover story to read more about this issue).
Testing for OpenCable certification/qualification wave 17 is scheduled to begin Sept. 22, and end on Oct. 31.