said by Hall:
I already posted this same question over at AVS but here goes:
As part of the FCC's analog shutoff, it's my understanding that cable companies can't "degrade" the digital OTA signals, i.e. compress them to use less bandwidth, change the resolution (in turn reducing bandwidth).
That interpretation is not completely accurate. The key to the ruling is the phrase "material degradation". That doesn't mean that no compression can take place. It only means that the visual result can't be materially degraded. The question then becomes who determines if it has been materially degraded? The cable company or the broadcaster and then who decides if they disagree. My guess is that compression will happen and the cable company will force the broadcaster to file a FCC complaint if they don't like it.
Here is what FCC Commissioner McDowell had to say on this subject:
We do not adopt the all content bits proposal upon which we sought comment. In my opinion, our decision strikes the appropriate balance between ensuring that broadcast signals are not materially degraded and permitting cable operators to use their technology efficiently to produce both high quality video and highspeed broadband offerings for consumers. The standard we reaffirm today will permit cable operators to take advantage of technological innovations, such as switched digital and advanced compression technologies, to continue providing service to consumers with greater efficiency. --
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