A new raft of FCC regulations, originally published October 14, 2010, go into effect August 1st, 2011. One of those new requirements is that MSOs provide their cable subscribers with tuning adapters that support a minimum of four content streams:
To address the problems with tuning adapters identified by commenters, the satisfactory access standard will require cable operators to ensure that retail devices are able to tune at least as many switched digital channels as that operator’s most sophisticated operator-supplied set-top box or four simultaneous channels, whichever is greater.
Multi-stream CableCARDs (M-Cards) support up to six content streams, but this doesn’t help users of the Ceton InfiniTV 4 Digital Cable Quad-tuner Card or the Moxi 3-Tuner DVR, and it wouldn’t be good news for the pending TiVo Premiere Elite 4-tuner DVR, for users with Switched Digital Video and tuning adapters that limit them to two streams.
You didn’t know? Even though M-Cards support six streams, tuning adapters first shipped with support for only two. A while back Motorola updated their tuning adapter firmware to support six streams, but Cisco has been dragging their feet. But it seems, with just two weeks left before the deadline, their finally rolling out new firmware for their STA1520.
There are more goodies from the FCC:
- If the MSO allows consumers to self-install anything, such as cable modem or cable box, then they must also allow CableCARD self-installs on 8/1/2011. No more truck rolls! (If they don’t allow any self-installs, they still must begin allowing CableCARD self-installs on 11/1/2011.)
- MSO’s must provide M-Cards starting 8/1/2011 – they cannot provide S-Cards unless specifically requested.
- If the cable company is doing the CableCARD install the installer must show up with at least the number of cards in the order, and they must be working cards.
- The same fee must be charged for a CableCARD whether it is used in a consumer provided host (such as a TiVo) or an MSO provided STB, starting 8/1/2011.
There is more in the FCC document.
Hopefully the new rules will lead to improvements for consumers, and lower costs – no more need to pay for an installer to stick a card in your TiVo and call in the numbers.
Cisco TA Firmware news spotted via EngadgetHD.