The first CCAP deployments are reported underway, with initial installations consisting largely of denser CMTS and QAM equipment, according to a report from Infonetics.

And that follows the expected path of CCAP deployment. No major U.S. cable operator has indicated it is likely to implement the full CCAP spec any time soon. Instead, CCAP is likely to be implemented in stages – starting with denser CMTS and QAM equipment.

"Once again, the cable broadband aggregation market is a tale of opposing trends: increasing channel capacity to support DOCSIS 3.0, multiscreen, and OTT video, and decreasing price-per-channel," notes Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research.

"With CCAP (converged cable access platforms) now seeing deployments, though as nothing more than dense CMTS and edge QAM platforms, pricing is expected to erode further while channel volumes continue to soar,” he continued.

As usual, the transition period from one era of technology to the next has a tendency to depress markets.

"2013 will be the nadir of recent and future years," Heynen adds: "But good times lay ahead as channel volumes across the board should more than offset the continued ASP erosion."

Other notes on the market for CMTS and QAM from Infonetics include:

·         The global CMTS and edge QAM market declined 4 percent in 2Q13, to $313 million, as lower-cost CMTS downstream and edge QAM channel shipments dominated the product mix

·         In the critical region of North America, CMTS and edge QAM revenue was down 27 percent in 2Q13 from 2Q12, owing to the turn-up of a large number of software licenses

·         Though the first significant deployments of CCAP-capable products began in 2Q13, major CCAP shipments won't begin until 2014, when vendors make available integrated broadcast and narrowcast video QAMs and DOCSIS downstreams on the same RF ports

·         Cisco and Arris have established themselves as the frontrunners in the CMTS market, but competition is intensifying as vendors vie for share ahead of potential CCAP deployments

Case in point: Casa Systems continues to grow steadily thanks to its head start on density and price-per-channel.