Return-Path-Data Lexicon: What Is Your Address?

CIMM is taking a proactive role in advancing new media nomenclature and processes with both its Lexicon(terms and definitions associated with return path data measurement) and Asset Identification Primer (glossary of asset terms). These documents form the basis of this column, which offers a common language for RPD nomenclature that can expedite the rollout of the data for its many industry applications.

Origination addresses embedded in the set-top box and in the data stream, which enable household or even viewer identification, must be anonymized to protect consumer privacyThere are two main addresses – the IP Address and the MAC address.

While both addresses apply to the set-top box, they are not the same. According to Invidi, “The MAC Address is a unique identifier that is assigned by the manufacturer.  This address is permanent.  Each manufacturer is given a block of addresses that they can use. An IP address is assigned by the network provider either on a static basis or dynamically.  This address is typically given to the point of access at the home –the router. The router then assigns IP addresses to the devices behind it.” 



IP Address abbr Internet Protocol Address

See also: MAC Address

CIMM DEFINITION: The identifying numbered code address of a Set-Top Box configured with a Modem for internet access.

2: A protocol telling the network how data packets are addressed and routed. (Source:


MAC Address abbr Media Access Control Address

See also: Node

CIMM DEFINITION: The set-top box ID, a unique identifying code by the manufacturer for each specific set-top box. MAC Address indicates, among other things, address of the household (and the accompanying profile information that the provider will have for billing and home configuration). Definition currently under review by CableLabs.

2: Media Access Control ID. Number unique to a specific set-top box. May include a readable bar code label. (Source: Nielsen)

3: The ID that uniquely identified a network device, e.g. set-top box or removable CableCard, (Source: FourthWall Media)

NOTE - A set-top box may have several different MAC addresses, depending on the number of network interfaces it has. For example, a set-top box may have different MAC addresses, one for in-band and one for out-of-band tuner. (Source: FourthWall Media)

Please refer to the CIMM Lexicon online at for additional information on these and other terms.

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