In my Charter cable bill this month was this small print note:
“Important Information About Your Cable Service
As of July 1, 2004, Charter Communications CableCARDS will be available for lease. A CableCARD is a new piece of equipment about the size of a credit card that allows you to see some,but not all cable channels, without using a set top box.
CableCARDS do not allow you to receive advanced interactive digital cable services such as video-on-demand, on screen ordering of pay-per-view or the enhanced program guide. Additionally, CableCARDS must be used with a newer TV that supports CableCARD.
CableCARDS may be leased from Charter for $1.50 per month. Customers who do not return their CableCARD after discontinuing service will be assessed a fee of $85. You may obtain more information about CableCARDS at www.charter.com/cablecard or order a CableCARD by calling your local Customer Service number.“
I’m not sure where this is going to fit in, but I’ve got to hope it’s the first step to getting digital cable support into internal PCI cards for the PC… between this and FCC reg’s for firewire access there’s bound to be some clever PVR solutions/integration to come out of the wood work soon.