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camper
Premium
join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Mike Wolf

Re: Say goodbye to ClearQAM

Your optimism that more restrictions will force the cable companies to provide better picture quality has been proven wrong by the cable companies themselves.

The clearQAM signals take up only a minor portion of their bandwidth. If the cable companies really wanted to provide a better signal, they had the entire non-clearQAM bandwidth in which to do so.

But they have not done so.

andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL
This is not about eliminating channels. This is about them enabling encryption on the ones that are currently unencrypted. There would be no change in bandwidth used.


markofmayhem
Why not now?
Premium
join:2004-04-08
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:5

2 recommendations

reply to camper
said by camper:

said by bohratom:

Correct me if I am wrong but Fox and other local broadcast stations are charging providers now for the content. ...

 
You are wrong.

If anyone pays, it is usually the local broadcasters who have to pay the cable companies to carry their signals.

What you are thinking of is the satellite-based content providers for the basic and semi-basic cable packages.

Almost every affiliate carrying NBC, CBS, Fox, and ABC are charging sat and cable for carriage of their signal, not the other way around. I know of not one single affiliate whom is paying a sat/cable company to carry them, while the opposite (sat/cable paying to carry an affiliate) is "the norm".

A simple web search pulled these two within seconds of effort:

»online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142···154.html

»www.austin360.com/television/wha···226.html

said by camper:

Your optimism that more restrictions will force the cable companies to provide better picture quality has been proven wrong by the cable companies themselves.

The clearQAM signals take up only a minor portion of their bandwidth. If the cable companies really wanted to provide a better signal, they had the entire non-clearQAM bandwidth in which to do so.

But they have not done so.

There is one avenue of optimism that has not yet "been proven wrong". Time to adopt will be very large, though, as all current equipment that is not capable of different compression will need to die through attrition before implementation. The accessibility barrier is just one step to many, so "realization" is decades away.

The FCC is about to allow encryption on the "life line", regulated, utility aspect of the product. The "local affiliates" in the B1 tier, also called "Limited Basic" or "Basic" or "non-digital" or "Life-line" is the only portion of cable TV that can be regulated by government. This regulation, from how much can be charged to compensation/fines incurred for increased "down time", is in the jurisdiction of "Franchise Agreements". Many of these are lawful due to non-competitive market penetration. As Sat/Telco has reached a national 40% penetration level, many of the local franchise agreements are losing their regulatory jurisdiction. There was a string of posts 2 years ago of different court battles Comcast was winning removing them from the jurisdiction of these franchise agreements due to satellite penetration in certain areas.

If the FCC nationally allows encryption on this regulated portion, even in areas where the agreements are still lawful and binding due to lack of competitive penetration, the best a local government can do is force equipment at low/free cost to be given to consumers. This opens a restriction that has been placed on cable companies: compatibility. Today, QAM16, 64, 256 modulated MPEG2 compressed signals are required for digital carriage on the utility/regulated portion (in those areas where jurisdiction is still lawful). If the FCC allows encryption, devices to decrypt will be necessary, devices that are capable of more than MPEG2. This then curbs local jurisdictions from forcing MPEG2 and other compression methods can be used without fines/compensation owed to both protected classes and the utility portion of the service as "availability to view" will not be affected if switched away from MPEG2 as the decompression device will be known by the carrier: it will be their equipment doing the decompression instead of a Philips QAM/ATSC integrated TV tuner chip which only included MPEG2 decompression to curb cost.

Of course, this is not the sole reason why MPEG2 is still utilized by most NCTA members. Cost is. The return on investment to swap expensive head-end equipment, both in physical cost and licensing fees, is poor. This move is to remove one of many cost barriers to future adoption. Mpeg4 may never come to cable, by the time the "switch" has positive ROI, the ITU will have adopted Mpeg4's successor. HEVC is on schedule to be adopted in January 2013, a time-frame that is less than what would be needed to swap cable to H.264. HEVC is capable of using AVC High Profile compression with half the bit-rate of H.264 and is a codec capable of handling Ultra HD (4320i60 and 4320p30). The time and cost to switch to MPEG4 now is silly, when H.262 is still competitive with H.264 due to 1080i being acceptable. By 2020, the cost of maintaining an older H.262 system will be far greater than using HEVC, and it is foreseen that by then 1080p will no longer be "true" HD, as we will have moved to the next level. If 16x9 aspect ratio is adhered to, 2K (2048x1152) or 4K (4096x2304) will have been adopted to match cinematic quality that is in use today. This "push" for consumers is still alive and well: home theater, especially mainstream affordable home theater, is not predicted to die off any time soon.

The "encryption" barrier also removes the "accessibility" barrier far in the future. It now equalizes the entire line-up and begins the removal of "utility" level and "luxury" level splits within the product offered, lowering cost to make changes from channel 2 to 999 without legal wrangling and equipment compatibility concerns. The move is more than just the short-term reward of less cost to shut-down/turn-on service through physical consumer premise traps. It also has long-term implications of allowing the entire product MSO's offer to be "luxury", removing many government jurisdictions that are almost always "barriers" due to "cost to comply". If the FCC had any inkling of being pro-consumer, just once, this could be seen as negative. However the FCC is not pro-consumer, they are pro-market allowing B2B to use the signals on CEA bought devices. No impact here. Reality still exists: future equipment will be needed to access future entertainment at ever increasing costs to consumers who may or may not perceive "new" as "better".
--
Show off that hardware: join Team Discovery and Team Helix


DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:16

2 recommendations

reply to camper
said by camper:

said by bohratom:

Correct me if I am wrong but Fox and other local broadcast stations are charging providers now for the content. ...

 
You are wrong.

If anyone pays, it is usually the local broadcasters who have to pay the cable companies to carry their signals.

What you are thinking of is the satellite-based content providers for the basic and semi-basic cable packages.

Actually he's right. Many of the very public broadcast contract disputes with cable providers over the last few years have been over what WERE previously free "Must Carry" broadcasters turning to "Retransmission Consent" and charging cable providers for them.

CBS and Time Warner Cable :
»www.seacoastonline.com/articles/···12170404

Fox and Cablevision :
»www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/busin···ble.html

ABC and Comcast :
»abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id···i2VLnt-Q

NBC, CW, and Mediacom :
»news.heartland.org/newspaper-art···blackout
--
If it's important, back it up... twice. Even 99.999% availability isn't enough sometimes.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

reply to camper
said by camper:

said by bohratom:

Correct me if I am wrong but Fox and other local broadcast stations are charging providers now for the content. ...

 
You are wrong.

If anyone pays, it is usually the local broadcasters who have to pay the cable companies to carry their signals.

What you are thinking of is the satellite-based content providers for the basic and semi-basic cable packages.

Actually, it's YOU who are wrong. Cable companies (and not satellite companies) are definitely covered under the Cable Television Protection and Competition Act, which required must-carry or retransmission consent.

In that Act, it's Every three years, a station must declare if they are going to be must-carry or retransmission consent. The former guarantees the station be carried, but doesn't make the station money. The latter doesn't guarantee the station is carried, but can bring in revenue.

Satellite companies have a similar requirement also referred to as must carry. They don't have to carry locals in ever market, but if they carry one local in a market, they must allow all locals in that market access. They can't pick and choose which stations they want. A station is not required though to be carried if they so choose.


halfband
Premium
join:2002-06-01
Huntsville, AL
reply to Joe12345678
said by Joe12345678:

well maybe they should add if they do encrypt then YOU MUST let people buy cable boxes (the same ones that you rent) with no outlet fees.

Unfortunately being able to buy a cable box or cable card is not going to do anything to reduce the rising rate of cable bills. The media content providers want to be paid per device stream. It is a business model that they see will make them fabulously wealthy (apparently they are not getting enough now.) Encryption allows control of the digital steam “per outlet”, so even if you buy a box you will be charged “per outlet.” This is the model the media providers want. Since the service providers like Comcast get to take a cut of the fees and blame the increases on the media moguls, Comcast has little reason to resist as long as there are not mass defections among the customer base. Thinking about cutting the cord, well the media guys have just strapped Netflix to the barrel and are about to start the process of “extracting more revenue” from them and amazon as well. You want to watch, you’re going to pay.
--
Registered Bandwidth Offender #40812


Mannus
Premium
join:2005-10-25
Fort Wayne, IN
reply to andyross
OTA FTW! I'll say it again. I can't see throwing money away for PayTV service. Between my ATSC tuner card, torrents, and streaming video, I have my fill of just about anything I care to watch.

Rob_
Premium
join:2008-07-16
Mary Esther, FL
kudos:1
TV IMHO is a dying medium, nothing to watch but advertizements and crap. The whole thing is a waste. I'm ready to cut it and save $140.00 a month

The Q

join:2008-06-26
Collegeville, PA
said by Rob_:

TV IMHO is a dying medium, nothing to watch but advertizements and crap. The whole thing is a waste. I'm ready to cut it and save $140.00 a month

Very timely article today (link below) from today's Kansas City Star that supports your statement..

TV Set ownership declines for the first time!

»www.kansascity.com/2011/11/30/32···hip.html

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

2 edits
reply to andyross
I dont know where you people are getting your info. But the fact is cable companies pay to rebroadcast the channels they are affiliated with. Where they get them is on the sub stations but the fact is the Cable companies have to pay to get the sub stations or they dont get carried at all. Its all or none. there isnt any stations declaring must carry anymore. Thats gone bye bye with the dildo birds. Fox is by far the most greedy as there numbers are insane. Its like 40 cents for the dam fox news channel. The cable companies either pay it or lose the main fox station. That doesnt include the fox movie station which is also insane and the other fox affiliates. I believe fox alone accounts for nearly 1.75 a sub in some areas. But again how can a cable company not pay it when they have the world series along with most football games for regional games. We all remember when cablevision tryed saying no. It didnt work out to well for them did it? Within 5 years its safe to assume your so called OTA stations will account for a good chunk of your subscription rate.


Mannus
Premium
join:2005-10-25
Fort Wayne, IN
reply to Rob_
I cut the cord 2.5 years ago. First 2 weeks, i went through withdrawal, but now I don't even miss it.


bohratom
Jersey Shore is back again.

join:2011-07-07
Red Bank NJ
said by Mannus:

I cut the cord 2.5 years ago. First 2 weeks, i went through withdrawal, but now I don't even miss it.

Only issue I would have would be live sports. The local broadcasts only cover the NFL well, everything else requires cable/telco. I'm a huge sport fanatic so that would be a non-starter for me.

andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL
reply to Mannus
said by Mannus:

I cut the cord 2.5 years ago. First 2 weeks, i went through withdrawal, but now I don't even miss it.

I wonder at what point one or more of the networks will cease network broadcasting on their OTA stations. I don't mean go off the air, but air different programming that what you would see on cable/satellite/whatever-you-must-pay-for.

It will probably start with the O&O's, but could become national.

elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY
reply to andyross
The problem is that comcast is not just a pipe, it's comcast universal (NBC) and has a vested interest in removing clearqam to add the CCI copy flags. In major markets NBC actually owns the "local" stations, so this is like a big circle jerk. You see they want it to be encrypted and not allow you to copy it, thats it--ultimate control Cablecos don't have encrypted locals and clear, they are just clear for locals, so it's not a spectrum issue. If they have them all encrypted then they can come up with new schemes to make it difficult for users to use their own devices and be mobile...They werent happy about the cablecard self install or that mandate. I turned in all my STB to save $40/mo in junk fees and about 100 WATTS ALL THE time in the ultra inefficient crap Verizon STB. My W7MC runs at 40 watts (and since it is a VM other stuff too), and my xboxes are only turned on when I need them, saving boucoup power costs.

If they all go to proprietary encryption schemes w/ CCI NC flags that would kill 3PP for end user devices--meaning they would have to scrap the cablecard mosquito next, and then they start charging you for your ipad/iphone app. Don't tell me they aren't thinking about that. I mean a DVR used to be $5, now they want $35+. Last time I checked a mpeg2 decoder, cablecard inf, 1TB drive is under $100. The cost of the equip is always going down, but the fees go up? What gives? Profit.

Long story short if this passes, it will get much worse of course that is if you care about TV.

US made a big mistake in letting the pipe own broadcasters. One happy family in a business is called a monopoly, but they just call it "deregulated".

Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL
reply to rody_44
said by rody_44:

Its going to go away. Just like it being free for the cable companies to transmit has already gone away. What use to be free is now costing the cable companies over 2.50 per month per subscriber. The fox stations alone get well over half of that. When abc, cbs , and nbc see how well fox made out they will be right behind fox on them demands. The only hope is maybe nbc will hold out since they are affiliated with comcast. Other than that we are all SOL. The cable companies have no choice but to just pay what the networks want. Its pay up or dont transmit it. Yea, like any cable company could give up abc, cbs, nbc, or fox. Just the way its going to be. Time to go back to the old satellite model where the locals were pulled in OTA. Its especially hard on the small cable companies left out there. They have no negotiating power at all. The only thing they can do is pay up or fold up. Its only the beginning.

I've wondered why the industry doesn't use their lobbying influence to fight this. Why should what is essentially being broadcast for free using the public airwaves cost them money to retransmit? They are doing the stations a service by increasing their viewers and thus ad dollars.. If they don't like it, give back your free spectrum and lease it from the federal government like other industries have to.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast
I think you will eventually see the government get involved. So far the closest they got was the cablevision ordeal. Notice a deal was reached when government threatoned to step in. Who it really hurts is the smaller cable companies. They have no leverage and no lobbying power. They have to take it like a man and pass the cost on.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
reply to rody_44
said by rody_44:

I dont know where you people are getting your info. But the fact is cable companies pay to rebroadcast the channels they are affiliated with. Where they get them is on the sub stations but the fact is the Cable companies have to pay to get the sub stations or they dont get carried at all. Its all or none. there isnt any stations declaring must carry anymore. Thats gone bye bye with the dildo birds. Fox is by far the most greedy as there numbers are insane. Its like 40 cents for the dam fox news channel. The cable companies either pay it or lose the main fox station. That doesnt include the fox movie station which is also insane and the other fox affiliates. I believe fox alone accounts for nearly 1.75 a sub in some areas. But again how can a cable company not pay it when they have the world series along with most football games for regional games. We all remember when cablevision tryed saying no. It didnt work out to well for them did it? Within 5 years its safe to assume your so called OTA stations will account for a good chunk of your subscription rate.

While true, this has nothing to do with the gist of the thread, which is that getting rid of clear QAM HD locals means that you could have new outlet fees for every TV in your house that you may not have had before. The rate you pay for locals is already built into the package price, and the new outlet (or box rental) fees are just extra profit, especially when you consider how cheap these new HD boxes are.


Mannus
Premium
join:2005-10-25
Fort Wayne, IN
Reviews:
·Frontier FiOS
·Vonage
reply to bohratom
said by bohratom:

said by Mannus:

I cut the cord 2.5 years ago. First 2 weeks, i went through withdrawal, but now I don't even miss it.

Only issue I would have would be live sports. The local broadcasts only cover the NFL well, everything else requires cable/telco. I'm a huge sport fanatic so that would be a non-starter for me.

Not an issue for me as I don't watch sports. That's just another hook corporate america has in the masses.

mariod

join:2009-06-16

1 recommendation

reply to Mannus
said by Mannus:

I cut the cord 2.5 years ago. First 2 weeks, i went through withdrawal, but now I don't even miss it.

So then why are you trolling a Comcast cable message board?

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to GTFan
It actually has a lot to do with it. where it use to be like 20 to 30 cents per subscriber it now cost 250 plus and continues to go up. You dont worry much at 20 cents but when the investment goes up you are more apt to protect such investment. But comcast doesnt charge for boxes that receive these channels. They just want to protect such investment. Up to three boxes are free here for the limited basic customers. If you have more then three tvs you can certainly afford the dollar or so it cost per box. If you cant afford it find a alternative provider but they all charge extra per box. Im 100 percent sure comcast isnt making any money at all on them dtas. They probably have around ten million or more out and get to charge for less than a million of them. of course them numbers are just a guess but you get the idea. certainlly not a money maker.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to andyross
This will be a good thing, my neighbor cancelled his cable and internet (could not afford it anymore) but Comcast did not disconnect him because the cable for the duplex comes in underground and his line went bad so instead of running a new underground, they ran an aerial line to a pole in an adjacent yard. Tech came out to disconnect, but went to the pedestal instead of the pole. So he is still getting cable but I dont think he is getting anything above broadcast basic since anything more requires a converter in this area.

Makes me mad because I am paying $150 plus for cable and he is not but I don't want to make enemies because we have to live in the same building in close proximity.

The value of the cable he is getting is about $6 per month.
--
All of my CPE (including my EMTA) is customer owned. The only Comcast owned equipment in my house is the CableCards in the two TiVO boxes I own.


DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1
reply to andyross
This is the exact reason why Allvid must be pushed, it obvious at every turn the cableco prevent competition for boxes. If i cant go to a store, and buy a tv that doesnt need a box. Maybe i dont need cable.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
dude you need something to everything now a days. Sure it would be nice to get all 1500 channels in Comcast's lineup through the tv itself but I know those days are gone.


motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:3
I think that these conditions should be put in to place for the encryption be allowed:

Two HD boxes free for life to any subscriber.
No additional outlet fees allowed
Ban SD only packages if a subscriber gets the SD version they should also get the HD version (ie TWC's TV essentials package which is SD only) I could see there being a problem where they encrypt the OTA channels and charge certain customers more for access to HD locals.

Oh and the the paying for additional outlet fee per outlet is banned right now on direct hookups as you have a choice of a box or no box this should be retro active to digital cable boxes when encryption goes into effect.

mlcarson

join:2001-09-20
Los Alamos, NM
reply to andyross
I fail to see the public interest in allowing them to encrypt. There's also plenty of harm caused by encrypting everything. Any consumer device built with QAM capability would be rendered useless if there's no way to decrypt the signal. There are plenty of devices with no cable card capability built in. A lot of these are computer peripherals but every modern TV has a QAM tuner that now becomes useless. The reason a lot of people have cable is because they can't pick up ATSC signals.

I currently have the capability to record network HD programming in a DRM/encryption free format. That capability will no longer be offered via Cable. I'd require the availability of an OTA ATSC signal now for the same feature.

Any energy cost saved by the cable company in not having to send trucks out will be dwarfed by the amount of extra energy required by cable boxes even when in standby mode. The cost just gets shifted to the consumer while the cable company saves money. They'll also get a huge additional revenue stream for the cable box rental of all the TV's currently utilizing their QAM tuner. I can see how this is in the best interest of the cable company but definitely not that of the public. I really hope this gets stopped but doubt that it will.

I pretty much use Comcast just for Internet but have been paying them additional money for their basic TV service rather than paying their penalty for Internal-only but that'll change as soon as encryption starts.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
said by mlcarson:

Any consumer device built with QAM capability would be rendered useless if there's no way to decrypt the signal. There are plenty of devices with no cable card capability built in. A lot of these are computer peripherals but every modern TV has a QAM tuner that now becomes useless. The reason a lot of people have cable is because they can't pick up ATSC signals.

Yeah Comcast wants that so you get their service and rent equipment so they can get a profit.

obckilroy

join:2011-11-16
reply to rody_44
said by rody_44:

Thats gone bye bye with the dildo birds.

Were those like toucans, kiwis or spoon bills?


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
Some say 'Comcast technician" while others like me say »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodo


PGHammer

join:2003-06-09
Accokeek, MD
reply to markofmayhem
NAB is not asleep on this - it's NAB (not NCTA) that is, in fact, *pushing* this.

It's the smaller multi-station owners (Sinclair, LIN, etc.) that are doing the majority of the push (the networks that also own/operate TV stations only jumped in when they saw how much these stations - mostly their own affiliates - were getting).

A major example are two major retransmission disputes with Sinclair Broadcasting (one of which involved D*) - in both cases, it was over retransmission fees (and how much the carrier was to compensate - Sinclair's words! - Sinclair for the retransmission).

It was precisely this that drove Comcast to do the NBCUNI deal with GE. It's not just Comcast accessing an additional stream of revenue (from other providers), but reducing their own costs.

mkanet

join:2008-06-11
Vallejo, CA
reply to MN Comcast
I'm dumping Comcast as well if that happens. Thats the only reason I still use Comcast. I use both my TV and my Computer to tune into all my favorite local TV shows. If I'm forced to using a cable box, I'm going to switch to DirecTV.