CableCARD M-Mode

[CableCARD Description] [Interface ICs]
[PC Card Standard Organizations]
[Pin-Out] [PCMCIA Connectors]
[PCMCIA Cards]

CableCard Description

A CableCARD is a PCMCIA, Type II PC Card. The CableCARD is used in place of a set top cable decoder box, and plugs into the HD TV to provide the cable decoder function. Other terms include S-Card [Single-Stream CableCard] or Digital Cable Ready [DCR].
The M-Card or CableCard operating in the M-Mode allows for Multi-Stream data. A Multi-stream CableCARD is a single CableCARD that is capable of decrypting multiple channels, thereby allowing consumers to record one channel while simultaneously watching another channel.

The PC Card PCMCIA specification defines both the Electrical and Physical specifications for a 68 pin interface residing in one of 3 form factors, which differ only in thickness;
Type I: dimensions 3.3mm x 85.6mm x 54.0mm (TxLxW), Version 2.1 allows the length to increase 50mm to 135mm
Type II: dimensions 5.0mm x 85.6mm x 54.0mm (TxLxW), Version 2.1 allows the length to increase 50mm to 135mm
Type III: dimensions 10.5mm x 85.6mm x 54.0mm (Tall x Length x Width)

The implementation of this spec based on the ISA bus is termed the PC Card with a 8/16 bit data bus, 26 address lines, and no bus mastering. PC Card-16 cards use an 8-bit or 16-bit interface that operates at ISA bus speeds (10 MHz) using an ISA-like asynchronous protocol. All of the PCMCIA implementations use Plug and Play and have Hot Swapping capabilities. The 16-bit PCMCIA 'PC Card' will operate up to a maximum of 20MBps, or 160Mbps. The actual throughput will depend on the minimum cycle time and the transfer mode and will never reach the maximum throughput rates. Back to the main PCMCIA Bus page.

Comparison of Removable Memory Card sizes

Flash memory cards vs. PC Card format.

CableCard is a PCMCIA slot and PCMCIA card, a tuner card that can be inserted into a slot in the TV to replace a cable set-top box.

Some TV descriptions indicate the term CableCard, while others indicate Digital Cable Ready [see below]. I was only able to find a few HDTV units from Hitachi which came with a CableCard slot. I see a few from Sony too. The CableCard allows the user to plug cable directly into a TV set without the need for a set-top box [STB]. CableCard slots may also be found on Divigal Video Recorders [DVR]

Version 1 of CableCard was 'one-way' only so with out the cable decoder box things like 'pay-per-view' was unavailable. Version 2 released in June 2007 should be fixing this problem [I have not yet reviewed it]. As of July 07 according to an FCC ruling; cable companies now have to supply set-top boxes that come with a removable CableCard. The ruling may bring CableCard back from the dead.

Digital Cable Ready [DCR], this attribute describes a TV that incorporates a CableCARD slot to facilitate the reception of one-way digital cable content (which may include analog, digital, high-definition and/or premium programming) without the need for a set-top box. A CableCARD is typically provided for a nominal monthly fee by the cable provider. Sets may also use the term Digital Cable Turner.
Although a Digital Cable Turner will not decode any cable functions, just receive the data.

{PC Card CableCARD Index}

CableCARD Standard Organizations

The PC Card specification was released in 2001; version 8.0

CableCARD Interface 1.0 Specification, OC-SP-CC-IF-C01-050331; March 2005
CableCARD Interface 2.0 Specification, OC-SP-CCIF2.0-I11-070615; June 2007
CableCARD Interface 2.0 Specification, OC-SP-CCIF2.0-I20-091211; December 2009


{PC Card Index}

PCMCIA Bus Interface ICs

STMicroelectronics {Multi-Stream CableCARD interface, DOCSIS 2.0+ cable modem chip with channel bonding}

IC Manufacturers {All other types}

{PCMCIA CableCARD Index}

PCMCIA Connector Manufacturers

The PC Card uses a 68 pin connector, with two rows of 34 pins, with 0.05 inch spacing [1.27mm]. Female pins are used on the card side, male pins on the system end.
The power and ground pins are longer than the signal lines, allowing them to make connect first.

PC Card Connector Size

Refer to the main CableCARD page for connector manufacturers;
PC Card Mode

{PC Card Index}

M-Mode, Pin Out

The table provides the pinout for the 16-bit M-Mode Card Signal Assignments.

PCMCIA 68-pin Connector Pin Out And Signal names
Pin # Signal name Pin # Signal name Pin # Signal name Pin # Signal name Pin # Signal name
1 Ground 15 -- 29 SDI 43 VS1# 57 VS2#
2 -- 16 -- 30 -- 44 -- 58 Reset
3 -- 17 Vcc 31 -- 45 -- 59 --
4 -- 18 Vpp1 32 -- 46 MISTRT 60 SDO
5 -- 19 -- 33 MDET 47 MD10 61 --
6 -- 20 -- 34 GND 48 MDI1 62 --
7 -- 21 MICLK 35 GND 49 MDI2 63 MOSTRT
8 -- 22 QTX 36 CD1# 50 MDI3 64 MDO0
9 -- 23 ETX 37 MDO3 51 Vcc 65 MDO1
10 -- 24 ITX 38 MDO4 52 VPP2 66 MDO2
11 DRX 25 CTX 39 MDO5 53 MDI4 67 CD2#
12 CRX 26 -- 40 MDO6 54 MDI5 68 GND
13 MOCLK 27 SCTL 41 MDO7 55 MDI6 -- ---
14 -- 28 SCLK 42 -- 56 MDI7 -- ---

There are two other card interface pin assignments that are used that differ from the M-Mode shown above;
PC Card Mode

Navigation > Engineering Home > Interface Buses > Electrical Equipment Buses > CableCard > M-Mode CableCard.

{PCMCIA PC Card Index}

PC motherboard

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Modified 6/13/15
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