The NCTA State of the Union Call

Dave Zatz —  April 25, 2008

After probably feeling some heat online in the last week or so (here and here for example), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) rounded up a bunch of journalists (mainstream press and bloggers) for a conference call today. They presented a bit of CableCARD history in how we got here (SDV) and where we’re going with tru2way, followed by a Q&A session. Obviously, the perspective presented is their own and may not line up exactly with the how the CEA, FCC, or an educated consumer might present it.

No new details on the SDV Tuning Resolver were provided, though TiVo was mentioned quite a few times as being involved in the process. And they’re still shooting for Q2 delivery… though, we shall see. I suspect at least three manufacturers will provide the adapter later this year, and we already know Motorola’s solution will be on display with TiVo next month at The Cable Show:

Motorola will demonstrate its MTR700 Tuning Adapter which connects unidirectional UDCPs (including a TiVo device, in specific) to a cable network, accessing multimedia content in the cable network’s switched digital video (SDV) tier. Seamless tuning of the TiVo device across both broadcast and SDV tiers will be shown.

More of my recent SDV/CableCARD thoughts can be found here and Megazone’s take is also worth checking out.

Interesting call factoid: 380,000 CableCARD deployments. I wonder what (large) percent are TiVo owners… And if we assume most Series3 and THD customers use at least one CableCARDs, perhaps we can extrapolate the number of units out there.

8 responses to The NCTA State of the Union Call

  1. I did record the call. Unfortunately, I was also recording via my Mac’s built-in mic rather than the headset. So, much of the recording is obscured by sounds of me typing (for example, emailing Mari and IMing Ben D – who were also on the call). Supposedly, we’ll be able to access it later this afternoon – perhaps I’ll try for a better recording if anyone has interest in hearing it.

  2. Just curious. Why don’t you put an update at the bottom of the post instead of adding a comment?

  3. The blog posts are often syndicated or archived in other locations (Reuters, Seeking Alpha/Yahoo Finance, LexisNexis, etc), so I try to keep them a little more “newsy” and save the more personal or slightly off-topic commentary for down here.

  4. Please post link to conference call recording.

    I estimate 90-150K Series3 Platform TiVoes have been put into service as Gross Adds.

  5. HDTiVo, Megazone posted this earlier: It will be available after 15:00 EST today through May 25th (I guess they keep them for a month). Call 1-800-475-6701 and enter access code 920821.

  6. Well, Tivo has some 1.75Million subs. I can’t find any numbers on the number of Tivo HD units that have been sold. Tivo HD started shipping in July of 2007 which is precisely when the “7/07″ integration ban hit, meaning that the number of cable cards shipped suddenly ramps up, but most of those are “captive” cards shipped in cable STBs. It does look like these numbers from the NCTA (for the top 10 MSOs, which represent approximately 90% of the cable customers in the country) represent cable card installs in “UDCPs”, which I presume means it doesn’t include cable STBs.

    5K CC users mid-Nov 04
    44K CC users June 05
    141K CC users Feb 06 (top 10 MSOs)
    170K CC users 2Q06
    200K CC users 3Q06
    300K CC users 4Q07

    2,255K CCs in STBs whenever the NCTA press release went out (odd, no date).

    In addition to this significant deployment of CableCARDs, as of December 6, 2007, 26 consumer electronics (“CE???) manufacturers have had over 579 Unidirectional Digital Cable Ready Product (“UDCP???) models (such as Digital Cable Ready DTV sets) certified or verified for use with CableCARDs.

    I see nothing more recent. So what can we conclude? I see no particular spike in the numbers after the Tivo HD came out. Meaning it probably doesn’t overwhelm the numbers. At most you might attribute some 50,000 units to Tivo HD, but that would be all of the UDCPs in the second half of the year, and it seems unlikely Tivo HD swamps the TV installs to that extent.

    So? I have no idea.

  7. Glenn, I think we’d have to account for people who gave up on CableCARD or upgraded from their CC sets, while more HD TiVo units have permeated the market. I don’t think anyone’s been manufacturing those first gen CableCARD sets for awhile now – so that last 80k not covered in your chart could mostly be TiVo units.

  8. But Dave, you’re totally discounting those 26 CE manufacturers that have had over 579 UDCP models certified or verified for use with CableCARDs.

    Oh right…