Print 16 comment(s) - last by DavidLB.. on Jul 24 at 7:49 PM

Called the "M-Card"

CableLabs announced this month that it awarded Motorola a qualification to produce CableCARD products. Motorola announced the M-Card, which is a multi-stream CableCARD that is compatible with both multi-stream CableCARD tuners and single-stream tuners. The M-Card is intended to give major digital cable operators a secure system to deploy high-definition services. From the press release:

It is expected that M-Cards will be available from major MSOs within the next few months. In addition to developing the specification for the M-Card interface, CableLabs has worked jointly with Digital Keystone, Inc. of Mountain View, California, to create a test tool for testing the M-Card interface on host devices. This host test tool, known as the HPNx PRO™, facilitates the work needed by a CE manufacturer to develop and test the multi-stream interface.

In recent CableCARD news, TiVo's Series3 dual CableCARD tuner is reported to be in final testing stages. While TiVo announced the Series3 earlier in the year, it also mentioned that availability would commence during Q2 of 2006, but unfortunately, that did not occur. Despite customer concerns, TiVo said that it's already sampling out Series3 boxes to major cable service providers.

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By brystmar on 7/24/2006 12:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
We consumers have been waiting FAR too long for a CableCard standard that supports 2-way communication; a "CableCard 2.0" spec has been talked about for a loooong time but the promise of its release has become exponentially more empty every passing day.

Hopefully this M-Card is the answer we've been waiting for. The press release didn't explicitly say that it supports 2-way communication (which is needed for stuff like Video on Demand, interactive program guides, and PPV), which has me a little worried, but its multi-stream support has me optimistic. It's just ridiculous that the hardware side of this segment of the CE industry is so far behind the times, and here's hoping that those days are numbered.

RE: Finally?
By bldckstark on 7/24/2006 12:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was told that CE stood for Crappy Electronics!

By namechamps on 7/24/2006 12:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
This card is NOT two way.
This card is NOT cable card 2.0.
This card will NOT be able to handle VOD, PPV, Interactive Guide, etc.

What this cable does is allow multi channel tunning. Right now if you have an HDTV w/ PIP and cable card you can't do 2 HD channel PIP. If you want to SD/HD PIP you need to hookup the SD cable & cable card.

This has also slowed STB and HTPC based on Cablecard because to record 2 channels, and watch another you would need to have 3 cablecards installed. Basicly this was huge and simple oversight from the original spec.

The only thing new this card does is allow the receiver to tune multiple chanels w/ one Cable Card.

CC2.0 likely wont be available till 2009+. By then most MSO will have started switching to IPTV making CC2.0 incompatible and requiring a new IPTV CC.

By brystmar on 7/24/2006 1:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
*Sigh*, this is just ridiculous. There is (and has been for a LONG time) a LOT of unmet demand out there for a 2-way, multi-tuner CableCard -- the industry is missing out on some bigtime revenues by being so slow. Whoever is holding things up, be it Cable Labs (most likely) or the manufacturers, is causing everyone in the industry massive losses in opportunity costs.

Seriously...from a business perspective, it is simply unfathomable to me how a device like this hasn't been developed and pushed to market already. It just doesn't make any sense at all.

By OrSin on 7/24/2006 1:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
It does from Cable operator piont of view. They cab rent you a cable card like they do your current boxs. Alos if the cerds work then a pci cards be be used and hacked.
The cable compnaies didn't want to use the cards so they never supported them.

By UNCjigga on 7/24/2006 2:16:40 PM , Rating: 2
Well it should be obvious as to who's holding up progress--its the cable companies! They don't want to support any initiative that gives the consumer control over cable delivery. CableCARD 2.0 basically gives control over interactive programming and guides to the hardware manufacturer (Sony, Samsung, ATI etc.) The cable companies see this as a lost opportunity for additional branding or whatever. Its also lost revenue because (AFAIK) CableCARD fees are lower than set-top box fees.

The problem is that if cable companies don't support it, then CableLABS and its consortium partners won't push for it either. There's just not enough competition in the television market, as satellite growth has slowed and IPTV over phoneline is a long way off for most of us.

By DavidLB on 7/24/2006 3:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
You're wrong on at least 2 counts: the card IS two-way and the card supports VOD, PPV, IPG, etc. It supports multiple-channels, I believe up to 5, but don't quote me.

Finally, it works.

RE: NO (Your still wrong)
By namechamps on 7/24/2006 4:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
You base this on what. Did you even read the news? Maybe try to the link to the whoe article. I will quote it for you.
CableLabs® recently awarded qualified status to Motorola for its multi-stream CableCARD™ (M-Card™). The M-Card enables consumers of retail set-top boxes and integrated digital television sets to watch and/or record their programming from multiple simultaneous tuners using a single CableCARD (e.g., handling picture-in-picture or simultaneous watch-and-record of multiple digital video channels).

Notice there is nothing in ther about 2way or bidirectional. to allow VOD, PPV, and other STB services the connection needs to be bidirectional.

Try to find an article, press release, spec sheet, or anything with words VOD, PPV, bidirectional, or 2way in reference to this system. Guess what? You won't.

In case you still don't believe the words in front of your eyes. Here is another quote (from HD Beat):

Although the M-Card does improve upon current-gen CableCARDs by delivering access to more than one channel at a time, it is still classified as a version 1.0 device, and therefore won't allow the bi-directional communication necessary for on-demand or pay-per-view goodness.


RE: NO (Your still wrong)
By DavidLB on 7/24/2006 7:49:20 PM , Rating: 1
I know because I've seen the cards and know how they are intended to be used. You don't have to believe me, but that doesn't make it not true.

PCI Card?
By Alphafox78 on 7/24/2006 11:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
Hopefully this will mean a PCI card for HTPC owners. it stinks having a high def tv and HTPC but not being able to view HD content with current PCI tuners. I know you can do a firewire hack, but not easily and not through media center. it will be nice to have a tuner than can get high def content through media center, hopefully this will allow that.

RE: PCI Card?
By Micah on 7/24/2006 12:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
I've been waiting for one of those for my MythTV box. The HTPC market is really getting left behind on the whole hi-def thing.

On the plus side, that means I haven't bought a HDTV yet, so I've saved a few $$ there :)

RE: PCI Card?
By Jackyl on 7/24/2006 1:36:53 PM , Rating: 1
What on Earth are you talking about? There is already HD Tuner/decoders to view AND record content.

[b]MyHD MDP-130 HDTV PCI Decoder and tuner[/b]

RE: PCI Card?
By UNCjigga on 7/24/2006 2:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
Those solutions are limited to OTA (over-the-air.) What everyone wants is a PCI-to-CableCARD/"M-Card" interface such as the one ATI demoed awhile back, so that a wealth of digital cable HD channels (InHD, Discovery HD, HDNet, ESPNHD, etc.) can be viewed and recorded.

RE: PCI Card?
By Quasmo on 7/24/2006 5:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
WRONG! The MyHD card and Fusion card support QAM which allows you to record unencrypted signals over your regular cable.

RE: PCI Card?
By UNCjigga on 7/24/2006 5:39:48 PM , Rating: 2
Again, limiting you to OTA channels (NBC, CBS, ABC etc.) AFAIK most MSOs have encrypted their "premium-tier" HD channels, which in some areas (such as mine) means that the only channels I can tune with a MyHD are the networks and maybe Discovery HD Theater.

RE: PCI Card?
By The Boston Dangler on 7/24/2006 6:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
Do your cards support 64QAM, 256QAM, and VSB8 at up to 860MHz? I doubt it.

Are they able to access premium content, VOD, and MSO program guide data? Certainly not.

Will MSO's ever give a damn about non-CableCard compliant devices? See answer #2.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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