CableCARD: What You Need to KnowCableCARDs aim to replace cable boxes, but compatibility and communication issues need to be considered before making the jump.
The name CableCARD was coined by its designers, CableLabs, a non-profit research and development consortium founded by members of the cable television industry. The CableCARD device is similar to the PC cards (PCMCIA cards, to be technical) you slip into a laptop. Connectors at one end of the CableCARD mate with connectors in a receiving device, which is usually a TV display but can also be a digital video recorder (e.g. TiVo Series 3), a media center or a set-top box.
The upside to CableCARD is that it eliminates the need for a cable box, and with a card installed and activated you can receive analog, digital, high-definition and premium programming (HBO, Showtime, etc.). Plus, as David Naranjo, director of product development for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, points out, the CableCARD functionality integrated into a television eliminates any potential degradation of signal when compared to external solutions.
I was an early adopter of cable card (2004) and it took two technicians and a manager from Adelphia Cable more than three days to get it working. Today, such annoyances are less common; you can insert the card yourself if the cable company allows it (most don't, it seems), and getting it up and running isn't the process it once was.
How prevalent is CableCARD? To learn more, check out http://www.electronichouse.com/artic..._need_to_know/