Top 10 Operators Have Deployed 16.7M CableCard Boxes:

443,000 Standalone CableCards Have Been Used In Retail Devices

The 10 biggest cable operators in the U.S. have deployed more than 16.7 million set-top boxes with CableCards to date, compared with 443,000 standalone CableCards for use in retail devices, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The Federal Communications Commission requires cable operators to use CableCards, which provide conditional access and decryption functions, in digital set-top boxes they lease to consumers. The so-called integrated set-top ban -- which went into effect July 2007 -- is intended to improve the way the technology works in third-party devices.

"[I]n just over 24 months, cable operators have deployed almost 38 times as many CableCard-enabled devices [as] the total number of CableCards requested by customers for use in retail devices in over the last five years," NCTA general counsel Neal Goldberg wrote in the industry's quarterly report to the FCC, which was filed Tuesday.

As of Aug. 31, 29 consumer electronics manufacturers have had 605 cable-ready products like TVs and DVRs, according to the NCTA. In addition, eight tru2way-based devices have been certified for use.

The FCC's Media Bureau in recent months has granted waivers to the integrated set-top ban to five vendors - Evolution Broadband, Cisco Systems, Motorola, Pace and Thomson - for low-cost, limited-function devices that convert digital TV signals to analog. The three-year waivers allow cable operators to use digital transport adapters, or DTAs, that have embedded security.