Looking For an M-Card CableCARD? Read This!

If you’re looking for a multi-stream CableCARD, aka an M-Card, for your TiVo HD (and, really, what other major consumer product uses M-Card today?), then this is for you. Sound and Vision Magazine has written a great article which includes their ‘Official M-Card Guide‘.

It is worth a read. The author makes one (common) error though:

Cable Guy No. 2 came by. He removed the old CableCARD from my TiVo (which turned out to be a regular CableCARD — it didn’t say “M-Card” on it) and popped in a real M-Card. He thought the M-Card had the ability for two-way interactivity, so I could order pay-per-view, on-demand, that kind of thing. I explained to him that two-way CableCARDs weren’t on the market yet. He wouldn’t believe me.

I used to be confused about this myself, so I really have to cut him some slack. All CableCARDs are ‘two-way’. I used to be confused because two-way functionality was generally lumped in as a ‘CableCARD 2.0′ feature, along with multi-stream. But that was incorrect. All cards, from day one, are two-way. What wasn’t finalized was the spec for hosts to support two-way. So the cards are two-way, but there haven’t been any two-way consumer devices available. Those are just appearing, as ‘Tru2Way’ devices – the system formerly known as OCAP.

I spotted this via EngadgetHD.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Paul

    Megazone, if you have a dual tuner, and you have two M-Cards, can you watch and/or record on 4 different channels?

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone


    No, CableCARDs are just decryption tokens. A single M-Card can actually allow access to *six* channels. But you still need a tuner for each channel – the card just enables the tuners. So you’ll only ever have access to a number of channels equal to the number of tuners in the device. And the TiVo HD only has two tuners.

  • Barnabas

    This is a great article. I was reading it to the installer as he was trying to get my card “paired.” He had brought 2 M-Cards. I assured him that I only needed one.

    The interesting thing is that the card needed to be paired with my Comcast service in a way that wasn’t dependent on the TiVo HD unit itself. I had to switch TiVo HD boxes. I popped the card into the new box and it worked right away.

    I only have the most basic cable that comes pretty much for free with broadband internet access. Its easier and much more reliable than over the air. I thought it was interesting that Comcast seems to encrypt even the broadcast network HD channels. That’s why I needed the M-Card. It was $15 for installation and nothing extra per month.