Nothing, it seems, comes easily when cable providers and electronics companies converge. ¶ Cable companies have a federal mandate, starting Thursday, to provide consumers with a new way to get digital and high-definition television programs without having to pay for a separate digital set-top box. ¶ As part of the government's long-term goal of creating an entirely digital broadcast universe, the plan requires that cable providers distribute cable cards - each about the size of several credit cards stacked - that can be plugged into slots on new television sets for access to encrypted digital programming. ... ¶ In addition to eliminating clunky set-top boxes, the cable card technology is meant to help bolster television sales and motivate consumers to sign up for digital services. But the reality may be quite different.
... The New York Times link