By law in the US, cable operators must offer standalone CableCards, used in everything from TVs to HTPCs to Tivos, to encourage competition with and choice beyond standard, clunky settop boxes. But not all that many people take advantage of the policy.
In fact, while the 10 biggest cable operators have deployed 16.7 settop boxes with integrated CableCards to date, they've only issued 443,000 standalone CableCards. And during the last two years, full CableCard devices have been installed 38x more often than CableCards alone.
(I'm also betting that the percentage of population that orders more than one CableCard for dual/quad tuning is greater than the percentage of population who orders more than one cable box, which means the CableCard-exclusive population may be even smaller than it seems...but I could be wrong.)
It's tough to tell why CableCards haven't been more popular. Then again, limited VoD options and a lack of consumer education might both have something to do with it. [Multichannel News via EngadgetHD]