So, the FCC just added a few new cablecard rules. Of particular interest is, if you allow self installs of equipment of any kind, you HAVE to allow self installs of cable cards and you must allow them to be ordered like any other piece of equipment.http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/14/t...-dramatically/
They also can't use packages to hid the cost of leased equipment. So, if there is a package that includes STB rental in its flat rate, they must break out both the equipment lease and cable card fee as line items on the bill. If the customer chooses to use their own equipment, the cost of the package will be reduced by the STB lease fee.
For example. If Verizon offered an HD package for $79.95 that included an HD-DVR, it would have to be broken down something like this:
$65 - TV Service
$11 - HD-DVR
$3.95 - Cable Card.
If a customer choses to bring a TiVo into the equation, Verizon would only be allowed to charge $68.95 for the package (Original price minus the STB rental fee.) Right now, most MSOs would say "Hey, you are getting the DVR for free. If you want to add a TiVo, that would be an additional $3.95 for the cable card."
In the end, I don't think these rules will do much for adoption of 3rd party devices, but they do make life a little easier for those who have already chosen to go that path.