What Does CableCARD Mean?

CableCARD is a device that allows CableCARD-ready devices
such as computers, TVs and other devices to access cable TV without a set-top
box. Users can avoid the expense of renting set-top boxes from cable providers
and easily move their devices to new regions. In 2011 the U.S. Federal Communications
Commission adopted rules that allow subscribers to use CableCARDs more easily.


Techopedia Explains CableCARD

In the U.S., cable TV subscribers typically rent their digital cable set-top boxes from their service providers. This can add substantially to the cost of cable service. A CableCARD allows subscribers to watch cable TV without having a set-top box, if their devices are so equipped. These devices could be PCs, TVs or other set-top boxes. The card decrypts the cable signal and ensures that only authorized subscribers can view it.

The FCC has required cable operators to support CableCARDs for several years. The rationale is to foster competition in the cable industry. CableCARDs are leased from cable providers for much lower rates than set-top boxes.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…