The cable industry has tackled the concern of switched digital video (SDV) not working with third-party consumer electronics devices, such as DVRs, by developing a new adapter.

CableLabs said the adapter will extend the functionality of some unidirectional digital-ready cable products (UDCPs) that use CableCards to access SDV channels that were previously unavailable to such devices. The external adapter will be available early next year.

SDV sends only the linear video channels that are requested in a service group or node, thereby freeing up bandwidth for more HD channels or other services. SDV requires two-way communication, but some consumer electronics devices are only unidirectional.

After some legislators expressed their concerns, the NCTA started working on a way to solve the problem of sending SDV signals to one-way DVRs and other devices earlier this year. With the adapter, TiVo’s DVRs will be able to access all of the SDV channels without a set-top box (STB).

"Today's announcement is a major breakthrough resulting from marketplace discussions that provides benefits for consumers and cable operators," NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said. "We very much appreciate TiVo's willingness to work on a marketplace solution that will enable TiVo users to enjoy innovative switched digital services without the need for a set-top box."

The new external adapter will attach to TiVo Series 3 HD DVRs and TiVo HD DVRs to ensure that the devices can directly access all digital channels, including switched digital cable channels. CableLabs and the NCTA said the adapter will work on any UDCP that has a USB connector and the necessary firmware.

"We are gratified that the cable industry has agreed to work quickly to develop a solution that will enable existing TiVo CableCard DVRs to directly access switched digital cable channels and ensure the adapter is part of an easy installation process for cable subscribers," said TiVo CEO Tom Rogers.

The adapter and accompanying specifications were developed by cable operators, CableLabs, TiVo, MotorolaScientific AtlantaBigBand Networks, and C-Cor.