Samsung To (Re)Enter CableCARD Fray


Just when you thought the FCC and Charter had put the final nail in CableCARD’s coffin, Samsung reveals plans to produce a hybrid cable+OTT set-top box for a fall 2013 launch. Assuming the FCC gets around to granting TiVo’s analog tuner waiver request in a timely fashion.

Smart Media Player, an innovative product with a compelling consumer value proposition based upon seamless integration of desirable services and reduction of monthly cable equipment rental fees. Smart Media Player will access unidirectional (not interactive) linear cable content through a CableCARD, connect to interactive, over-the-top services and Internet content through the consumer’s broadband Internet subscription, provide a free electronic program guide, and offer a seamless, integrated Samsung user interface.


Of course, given CableCARD’s history, most CE companies threw in the towel long ago — with manufacturers like Sony, LG, and Panasonic abandoning the technology (to the presumed delight of cable operators). So it’s refreshing to see Samsung take a flier on this previously poorly supported tech in producing a convergence device that liberates consumers from inferior cable set-tops (video below). And it’s exactly the kind of cable box I’d like in my clutter-free kitchen, with access to Netflix, YouTube, and DLNA apps. But with the FCC giving Charter a pass on CableCARD support, we wonder if Samsung should even bother at this point. Perhaps they’re counting on logic to prevail, as both the CEA and TiVo have lodged protests against the bungled decision:

The Bureau’s Order, like the Charter Request, deals in assumptions and hopes rather than in facts. The Commission cannot let stand this nullification of law and regulation, without process or public comment.

16 thoughts on “Samsung To (Re)Enter CableCARD Fray”

  1. It’s for me and my kitchen. Assuming it comes in less than the TiVo Mini and with a working Netflix client. ;)

  2. That’s a pretty big niche market. There are alot of homes who don’t have dvr service and watch all their tv the old fashioned way…live. Probably mostly older people but there are alot of them. Combine their live tv with Netflix and OTT and Samsung could tap into that market and introduce them to the OTT world, which is more than Netflix.

  3. Ditto. I can’t live without a DVR, and my plans going forward all revolve around a single CableCARD device in my house given the horror show that is installing/upgrading a CableCARD through Comcast. Minis everywhere connected to a hopefully 6-tuner faster TiVo.

    I’ve long since given up on having a compelling OTT offering in the same box. Perhaps Samsung can do that part right but without a DVR offering it can’t replace the TiVo. Which means I’m never going to put a CableCARD in it and it would end up competing with a Roku, which seems hard to do given the price target and general acceptability of the Roku.

    But hey, everybody has different interests. Maybe there’s a huge market for this. :-)

  4. It may not seem like teh sexy, but whether it seems like teh sexy or not, we still live in the Golden Age of CableCARD™…

  5. We’ve seen the success (kidding) that TiVo and Microsoft have had with retail CableCARD, Tuning Adapters, etc. This product would be much more interesting if it was a DVR and supported multi-room thin clients and/or Samsung TVs… maybe that’s in the works and this is step one. The idea of having more than one CableCARD and Tuning Adapter in my house now that the Mini is reality no longer has any appeal.

  6. No DVR capability, not interested. But also not surprising to the folks that come here. At least someone is still willing to do Cablecard so there is that.

    I’m with Glenn, now that Comcast is imposing their bogus outlet fees for extra cards (pretty much thumbing their nose to the FCC’s reasonable card rental rules, IMO) I want a single 4-tuner DVR with extenders. Tivo is almost there with the Mini but I’m holding out for a lower price or sale.

  7. I want the same setup too:
    1 Six-Tuner Tivo
    Several Tivo Minis around the house.
    All without giving up a tuner or live tv. If I can get some OTT action from the minis, all the better!

  8. Any new information on this unit, release date, cost, model number, etc??

    I’m more than ready to bring one home!!

  9. I’, with Dave Zatz. I want one for my kitchen (and other rooms) simply to replace my Verizon digital adapter and get one way access to the channels I subscribe to without the cost of numerous set top boxes. A cable card reader is simple, practical and a long-awaited solution.

  10. hey guys, I heard 10k of these sets already sent out from factory last week,to US market.

    Let me know your review about this product

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