CableCard - In the States, CableCARD can offer an alternative for cable TV users. CableCard is an interface for digital TV, set-top boxes and other devices such as specially equipped PCs. CableCard lets you plug your cable line directly into your TV set without the need for the cable provider's set-top box. A CableCard can be in the form of a software and/or it can take a physical form such as hardware incorporated into a device. In its physical form, it's about the size of a thick credit card and fits into a special slot built into digital TVs and other peripheral devices, such as a version of TiVo and HP's media "hub" (at the time of this writing).

A CableCARD also might allow users to access all their digital cable channels without having to use the cable box the cable company supplies. CableCARD is often most associated with Security and other conditional access
functions.

As of late 2005, the cable industry supported more than 370 models of digital televisions manufactured by 22 companies that display one-way cable content via CableCARDs. Because the 2005 CableCARD only supports one-way communications, video on demand or pay per view services can't be activated directly using it. A two-way cableCARD takes care of this. (See
CableCARD 2.0 below.)

Cable providers in the United States are required by the FCC to support the CableCARD standard. As of July 1, 2007, by FCC mandate, cable providers were required to deploy only CableCARD enabled devices. That means if you have a cable connection, cable providers won't have a monopoly on what goes to your TV, as you can rent/buy content from other sources. The CableCARD mainly makes sure that only people that have paid for the content, are viewing it. Televisions that support CableCARD (1.0) should be labeled by the manufacturer as "Digital Cable Ready", or DCR.

CableCARD facilities are disappearing from current sets as consumers realize how resistant cable companies are to the concept. (They have to offer it, but they don't have to make it easy).

See the Interactive Television Institute.

A new video interface could replace CableCARD. The "AllVid" adapter would, in the FCC's words, "act as an intermediary" between home theater gear and pay-TV services.



Interactive CableCARD 2.0 features rely on additional circuitry in the CableCARD host device, not on the physical card. CableCARD 1.0 does not offer the same interactive features as CableCARD 2.0. CableCARD 2.0 cards are sometimes referred to as Mcards. M-Cards allow multiple streams to one card.

CableCARD 1.0 themselves aren't bidirectional (interactive), so you can't get pay-per-view or on-demand type of programming. However if you have CableCARD 2.0 and a compatible system, you can get pay-per-view or on-demand type of programming.

Devices that support CableCARD 2.0 are labeled "iDCR" for "Interactive Digital Cable Ready". Among other requirements, CableCARD 2.0 enabled devices (hosts) will be required to incorporate tru2way™ (formerly named "The OpenCable Platform" and before that “OCAP”).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CableCARD
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/cablecard-2%270/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cablecard#_note-5
Article
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6344818.html
Vista Media Center CableCARD FAQ

DCR Plus (Digital Cable Ready Plus) - At the time of this writing, the Consumer Electronics Association is supporting this competing interactive TV standard to Tru2way. The CEA looks at “DCR Plus” as an extension to CableCards. It could standardize access to cable services that require two-way communication, such as video on demand, switched digital video, on-screen program guides and pay per view. The CEA has stated that DCR Plus is a lightweight complement to OpenCable (Tru2way).

BOCR (Bidirectional OpenCable Receiver), is being billed as the follow-on to "OCUR," the OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver. OCUR-enabled PCs can support only one-way broadcast cable digital services.

OCUR

See the Interactive Television Institute.