On Oct. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an Order revising its CableCARD rules to address perceived “short-term” CableCARD issues. All cable operators need to review the new rules carefully, as every operator will need to implement changes to their provisioning systems.

As we have previously advised, the FCC initiated this proceeding to “fix” perceived “short-term” issues with CableCARDs used in retail set-top boxes such as TiVos, while the FCC continues to consider longer-term reform aimed at creating retail devices that would work with all multichannel video providers.

The Order provides all cable operators with the opportunity to deploy integrated one-way high-definition digital terminal adapters (which can assist in converting cable systems to digital). It also provides operators with alternatives to the existing requirement to include an IEEE 1394 connector in every HD set-top device.

In addition, the Order imposes obligations to support retail CableCARD devices in new ways, including allowing self-installation of CableCARDs, and providing discounts from bundled package prices when customers use their own retail device rather than a leased set-top included in the package.

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