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If you built your own digital video recorder using SageTV (future unknown since purchase by Google) or MythTV on a PC to record cable TV, you have likely been frustrated by scrambled channels requiring either a set-top box controlled by an IR blaster, or one of the few receivers available with a CableCARD interface. CableCARDs have to be leased from the cable company and often require installation.

Under the new rules, effective Nov. 1, 2011, cable operators will have to provide the means to allow subscribers to self-install CableCARDs. A home networking output must be included on high-definition set-top boxes (except for unidirectional, nonrecording set-top boxes) effective Dec. 1, 2012.

The other CableCARD rules in the Third Report and Order on Reconsideration become effective July 25, 2011.

One of the tuners attracting a lot of interest from DVR builders is the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime, available later this year. It includes a CableCARD interface and sends digital programming over Ethernet to a PC or home network.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.