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Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE

1 recommendation

[TV] Clear QAM signals

In 1992, the Fcc prohibited cable operators from scrambling or encrypting signals carried on the basic tier of service. The Commission determined that this rule would significantly advance compatibility by ensuring that all subscribers would be able to receive basic tier signals "in the clear"; and that basic-only subscribers with cable-ready televisions would not need set-top boxes.

The basic service tier MUST include most local broadcast stations, as well as the public, educational and governmental channels required by the franchise agreement between the local franchising authority and your cable company.

In short your cable company was permitted to encrypt ESPN, USA, and other cable service tier channels, but not encrypt ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Univision, Telemundo, MyNetwork TV, PBS, and other over the air stations.

At this time plugging a coaxial cable into secondary TV to only get a cable signal for local broadcast stations was not theft of services. If you were purchasing internet only, the Fcc still required that those channels be unencrypted. Plugging a cable into your TV was not theft of services.

But Fcc changed the law on 12 October 2012 (see link) to permit cable companies to encrypt every single channel including PBS. Technically, the cable company is free not to encrypt, but I am not aware that any of the big ones have elected not to do so. It took different times for each cable company to encrypt their signal.

The Fcc still requires cable companies to offer CableCard's at a nominal rate (usually $2 a month). You can purchase a third party system if you wish to avoid paying for the cable company's set top boxes or DVR equipment

»apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attach···26A1.pdf


hobgoblin
Sortof Agoblin
Premium
join:2001-11-25
Orchard Park, NY
kudos:11

1 recommendation

I am not sure what your point is. When the Broadcast channels opted to not be a "must carry channel" and expect payment from the cable companies then clearly encryption and payment was going to follow.

Hob

--
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
reply to Pacomartin
Still unencrypted for HD for broadcast channels here in Hawaii. I have analog for all other channels in this condo building (bulk contract).

FCC report is not that accurate. Plus, we cannot buy our own set top boxes like we can our modems. I don't want a set top box as I only want to watch broadcast channels and see them in HD which I can do currently. (The only cable TV channel I like is CNN and it has deteriorated recently).
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson


hobgoblin
Sortof Agoblin
Premium
join:2001-11-25
Orchard Park, NY
kudos:11
said by Mele20:

I don't want a set top box as I only want to watch broadcast channels and see them in HD which I can do currently.

At some point you will need some sort of device to watch them.
Blame the Broadcast channels.

Hob
--
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:17
reply to Mele20
You can buy your own settops, but there are only 2 sold at retail right now. A samsung box and TiVo.

There are other cable card compatible devices but they take more than just a box to get working.

There used to be more, but the demand wasn't really there at the time. Hopefully more companies start producing them.

--
---You cannot fix a problem that you refuse to acknowledge.


maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to Mele20
said by Mele20:

Still unencrypted for HD for broadcast channels here in Hawaii. I have analog for all other channels in this condo building (bulk contract).

FCC report is not that accurate. Plus, we cannot buy our own set top boxes like we can our modems. I don't want a set top box as I only want to watch broadcast channels and see them in HD which I can do currently. (The only cable TV channel I like is CNN and it has deteriorated recently).

You can buy your own TiVO (and have been able for many many years) as well as other cablecard ready devices. You WILL indeed pay TWC a fee per cablecard, but the box is yours.

You can also receive the broadcast channels by using an antenna. I put one up on my roof, and receive well over 100 channels (132 actually, but some of em are SD doubles of HD stations). Indoor antenna's are not as good, I only received 25-ish channels with an indoor antenna. You can't get much more free then that, and if your only cable channel is CNN, why bother paying for cable at all? I can't imagine CNN is worth the $50 or so you must pay at least for cable.

Of course I don't know how the reception is over at your area, but you can buy antenna's with a range of 100 miles if you are willing to put em on the roof.

Also: hob is right: As soon as the broadcast stations started to demand money for carriage and give up their must-carry status, they gave the cable companies ample right to ensure that they aren't being stolen for free.

I do NOT pay for cable tv, but I do have cable internet. Before I setup my roof antenna I ran a cable to my TV (my DirecTV cabling was re-used for the roof antenna, but was not near my TWC outlet for internet) and checked if I COULD receive channels, and sure enough.... I could. About 40 of em when I tried..... so in essence, I was STEALING cable TV. (for all about 10 minutes). So I do know that you can steal TV without paying for it while having an Internet connection.

And the way I see it, they are fully in their right to encrypt and charge for those channels, and am surprised they aren't doing it quicker.

In any case, soon you will have two choices: 1) pay up for a box or cable card. 2) grab the channels for free from the air.

--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"


Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE

1 recommendation

said by maartena:

I do NOT pay for cable tv, but I do have cable internet. Before I setup my roof antenna I ran a cable to my TV (my DirecTV cabling was re-used for the roof antenna, but was not near my TWC outlet for internet) and checked if I COULD receive channels, and sure enough.... I could. About 40 of em when I tried..... so in essence, I was STEALING cable TV. (for all about 10 minutes).

It is somewhat academic now (except in Hilo), but you were paying for cable, and they were "required by law" to transmit those signals. I fail to see how plugging a cable into a TV is stealing. It's not as if you had a "cheater box".

The only recourse cable companies has was simply not to promote that the signal was there.

At any rate, the law has now been changed, and this discussion is now merely philosophical.

Back in the old analog days, sometimes the cable company would forget to disconnect service. If you moved into the apartment and plugged in your TV you were in a sense STEALING service, but you weren't paying for anything.


Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
reply to hobgoblin
said by hobgoblin:

When the Broadcast channels opted to not be a "must carry channel" and expect payment from the cable companies then clearly encryption and payment was going to follow.

Broadcast channels were given the right to opt against "must carry" and choose "consent required" starting in fall of 1993. At the time cable companies refused to pay cash, and most times consent was given for consideration. For instance consent to retransmit ABC was given only if ESPN2 was also carried (October 1, 1993 premier).

What is different now is that the networks are simply asking for money in order to give consent.

Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
reply to Pacomartin
said by Pacomartin:

Back in the old analog days, sometimes the cable company would forget to disconnect service. If you moved into the apartment and plugged in your TV you were in a sense STEALING service, but you weren't paying for anything.

Here condos and many apt buildings have bulk cable and the cost of standard cable TV package (not basic) is part of the rent or if you own then part of the maintenance fee. Thus, you aren't stealing anything when you move in and plug in your TV. If you don't have a TV, as I did not from Oct 2001 to Oct 2011, you still pay for TWC standard cable TV package - (the bulk price negotiated between the apt/condo building and Oceanic). How this will change when TWC goes all digital, I have no idea. I'm hoping Oceanic will go independent again and then it will be better than having to deal with Comcast in Hawaii. UGH. Worse than dealing with TWC which caused us lots of problems also because they don't "get" Hawaii.
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson


Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
said by Mele20:

Worse than dealing with TWC which caused us lots of problems also because they don't "get" Hawaii.

A local cable company in 2008 had 102K households and 80K set top boxes. They did not sell so called "lifeline" cable which consists of only Broadcast stations. They went all digital to meet rising customer demand and two years later they had only 81K households and 228K set top boxes. Since they didn't sell "lifeline" cable, every household was given at least one set top box. Their customer service was forbidden to discuss the clear stations, so only a few people found out about it on the internet. In many cases you could plug a basement TV in and get broadcast. Some of the people who had "internet only" realized they could get broadcast by plugging in a cable, but technically they weren't video customers.

I should mention that mountains prevent 90% of the households from getting major broadcast stations via antenna.

Now here is where it gets interesting. This company joined three others in petitioning the Fcc to end the regulation forbidding them to scramble broadcast channels. They testified that 100% of their video customers had settop boxes in their home. By the way they set up their business you had to have at least 1 set top box if you were a video customer.

The Fcc concluded that if 100% of the customers had at least 1 set top box, there was no purpose served by not allowing the broadcast stations to have their signal encoded.

But an important point is now they have to make up the revenue when they lost 20% of their customers. They are doing this primarily through equipment rentals (set top boxes, DVR's and modems) so the cost is skyrocketing.

Hawaii may simply be technically difficult for some reason.


maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3
reply to Mele20
said by Mele20:

said by Pacomartin:

Back in the old analog days, sometimes the cable company would forget to disconnect service. If you moved into the apartment and plugged in your TV you were in a sense STEALING service, but you weren't paying for anything.

Here condos and many apt buildings have bulk cable and the cost of standard cable TV package (not basic) is part of the rent or if you own then part of the maintenance fee. Thus, you aren't stealing anything when you move in and plug in your TV. If you don't have a TV, as I did not from Oct 2001 to Oct 2011, you still pay for TWC standard cable TV package - (the bulk price negotiated between the apt/condo building and Oceanic). How this will change when TWC goes all digital, I have no idea. I'm hoping Oceanic will go independent again and then it will be better than having to deal with Comcast in Hawaii. UGH. Worse than dealing with TWC which caused us lots of problems also because they don't "get" Hawaii.

TWC Hawaii splitting off isn't going to help you. There are plenty of apartment buildings here in California that have a similar setup, where basic cable TV is part of the lease, and you just plug in your television. Hell, there is whole apartment blocks here with a master DirecTV dish, and all you have to do is sign up with DirecTV and get a box.

Hawaii isn't special, and does not need special rules. I don't know how apartment buildings here are dealing with going all digital, but your apartment building isn't anyway more special then the thousands of apartment buildings in the L.A. area with similar setups.

Perhaps TWC will simply place some equipment that will un-encrypt things at the headend, or perhaps TWC will simply tell the apartment building owner: Here are 200 digital tuner adapters, go spread them among your tenants. And I am willing to bet the legalese in their contract will support such a move.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"


ARGONAUT
Have a nice day.
Premium
join:2006-01-24
New Albany, IN
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Pacomartin
Monopolies shouldn't be rewarded. The FCC is a store front for cables.
--

I deny your denial.


dbmaven
There's no shortage
Premium,Mod
join:1999-10-26
Sty in Sky
kudos:3
reply to Pacomartin
Help me understand what this has to do with TWC?

Is it because they are your cable provider?
--
Ad astra per alas porci!!


notclearqam

@207.237.77.x

1 edit
said by Mele20:

Here condos and many apt buildings have bulk cable and the cost of standard cable TV package (not basic) is part of the rent or if you own then part of the maintenance fee. Thus, you aren't stealing anything when you move in and plug in your TV. If you don't have a TV, as I did not from Oct 2001 to Oct 2011, you still pay for TWC standard cable TV package - (the bulk price negotiated between the apt/condo building and Oceanic). How this will change when TWC goes all digital, I have no idea. I'm hoping Oceanic will go independent again and then it will be better than having to deal with Comcast in Hawaii.

like maartena said there may be nothing special about apt buildings in hawaii. no different than apt buildings in LA, NYC, or many college campuses that have bulk agreements. sure TWC on the mainland may not "get" hawaii as good as the locals that have been running Oceanic system but analog is just outdated and not bandwith efficient.


maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3
said by notclearqam :

like maartena said there may be nothing special about apt buildings in hawaii. no different than apt buildings in LA, NYC, or many college campuses that have bulk agreements. sure TWC on the mainland may not "get" hawaii as good as the locals that have been running Oceanic system but analog is just outdated and not bandwith efficient.

Exactly.... Not sure what Mele20 thinks that makes Hawaii so special, but those kinds of bulk agreements are everywhere. And a apartment building can be supplied with an all-digital signal, and the digital tuner adapters (for which TWC charges $1.50 a piece for non-bulk customers) can be worked into the lease. If you have 4 TV's and it adds $6 to your rent (or to the apartment owner's cost) I doubt you are going to see a whopping rent increase, if at all.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

ShowMeISP

join:2001-03-15
Kansas City, MO
reply to Pacomartin
said by Pacomartin:

If you were purchasing internet only, the Fcc still required that those channels be unencrypted.

This is out of context and incorrect. If you purchase "internet only" there is absolutely no requirement to deliver any clear channels. Most cable companies will "trap" (block) those signals from ever entering your home (not the same as encryption).

Having a line from the cable company doesn't automatically guarantee any particular service, only the services for which you are paying.

I'll leave whats considered "must carry" as a separate argument.


maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3
said by ShowMeISP:

I'll leave whats considered "must carry" as a separate argument.

In a nutshell, as soon as a station starts charging carriers for carriage of their network, they lose "must carry" status. All major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc, etc) are all charging TWC for carriage, and that means that TWC under no obligation is required to carry them, and if they do carry them they are under no obligation to keep them unencrypted.

There are actually very few stations left that still operate under the must carry law.... usually only local stations.

And indeed, as far as I understand if you have an internet only account, there is NO requirement to deliver television signals, they just often do because it is a lot easier to turn on/off service at the pole. They can indeed place a trap for TV signals, but that means that no one can do any type of self install anymore when they decide they want TV, so many just don't bother.

And yes, as far as I know.... if I use the cable television signals coming into my house, without paying for the service for them..... I am stealing directly from Time Warner Cable, and it isn't allowed. Sure, they can't find out whether you do besides inspecting the house, so most people get away with it.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"


Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
reply to ShowMeISP
said by ShowMeISP:

This is out of context and incorrect. If you purchase "internet only" there is absolutely no requirement to deliver any clear channels. Most cable companies will "trap" (block) those signals from ever entering your home (not the same as encryption).

said by maartena:

if I use the cable television signals coming into my house, without paying for the service for them..... I am stealing directly from Time Warner Cable, and it isn't allowed.

It's somewhat academic question now, as nearly everyone is encrypting. In that 43 page document from the Fcc the cable companies requesting the rule change did not even discuss the case of people who pay for internet. They were more concerned with someone who goes to the pole ( or probably more likely into the utility room of an apartment building) and splices the cable and runs a line into their home.

---
The broadcast station is required to send formal notice to a station that it is selecting "must carry" or "consent required". The negotiation for "consent" is not subject to federal regulation. Since both the cable company and the broadcast station are hurt if "consent" is not given, they in theory should be able to reach an agreement. Back in 1993 I think that only one tiny cable company in the entire country who paid money. Most of the time "consent" was granted for other considerations (like agreeing to air ESPN2 in exchange for consent to retransmit ABC).

Since CBS does not own any cable companies besides Showtime and Smithsonian Channel, they have a harder time coming up with creative agreements. They are more likely to simply want hard cash.

If AEREO wins the SCOTUS case, then cable companies might simply refuse to pay. They could tell their customers that if they want broadcast they should either put up an antenna or purchase AEREO. They will lose customers, of course, but they may find it easier to survive.


maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3
said by Pacomartin:

If AEREO wins the SCOTUS case, then cable companies might simply refuse to pay. They could tell their customers that if they want broadcast they should either put up an antenna or purchase AEREO. They will lose customers, of course, but they may find it easier to survive.

Under the current net neutrality rules, similar to what Comcast did with Netflix, they could also simply reduce the traffic to Aereo's servers to a trickle, till they pay for a peering agreement of some sorts.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"


Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
reply to Pacomartin
The FCC needs to revert to the "must carry" model for local channels and stop all of this BS about the networks, charging fees to be carried on cable networks! The business model of local channels is for advertising to provide their income. Advertising fees they can charge are based on the number of viewers. If they are carried by local cable services they have more viewers so they can charge more for advertising. There is no way they should be able to charge the cable companies to carry their signal!
--
Written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking

guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by Msradell:

The FCC needs to revert to the "must carry" model for local channels and stop all of this BS about the networks,

It wasn't the FCC but Congress that made the change ...


Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
said by guppy_fish:

It wasn't the FCC but Congress that made the change ...

Very good point.

When the first "must carry" rules were passed in 1965 and 1966 only the Fcc was involved. The rules were meant to protect the broadcast industry by forcing the cable companies to carry the local broadcast stations. At that time it was feared that broadcast would lose it's viewership and affect advertising revenue.

Congress passed the law in 1992 that allowed the station to choose between "must carry" or "consent required". If they chose "must carry" they gave up the right to request any consideration. The major stations all chose "consent required", but the two groups needed each other so badly that no cash exchanged hands. Only secondary concerns like carrying ESPN2 were negotiated.

The sixth through eight round of negotiations (each round lasts three years) in 2008, 2011, and 2014 are different because the stations have greatly increased their requests for money. Advertising revenue is so low, that they are more concerned with cash payments than additional viewers to sell to advertisers.


Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
said by Pacomartin:

Advertising revenue is so low, that they are more concerned with cash payments than additional viewers to sell to advertisers.

If they had more decent programming their advertising revenue would increase!
--
Written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
The broadcast stations have a LOT BETTER programming than the cable stations which are junk with the exception of CNN that was bad for awhile but it is better now and used to be great. Besides, all the cable stations run on Mainland time so it means I have to watch something at 3PM that should be shown here at 9PM. The broadcast stations go by HST. This alone makes the cable stations utterly worthless in Hawaii.
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson


Hayward
K A R - 1 2 0 C
Premium
join:2000-07-13
Key West, FL
kudos:1
reply to Pacomartin
Last time I checked before a contractor cut my never physically disconnected cable line, from 10 years ago previous owner ( and have had sat the whole time. Even after digital conversion, all local religious and shopping channels were still not encrypted...a year ago.
--



Hayward
K A R - 1 2 0 C
Premium
join:2000-07-13
Key West, FL
kudos:1
reply to maartena
Which again would PO and loose customers.
--



Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
reply to Msradell
said by Msradell:

If they had more decent programming their advertising revenue would increase!

Yea, but that is limited. People simply have too many options for distractions. In 1981-82 all kinds of shows that were not brilliant used to get far bigger audiences than almost any show today.
Three's Company , Alice , The Dukes of Hazzard , Too Close for Comfort , One Day at a Time , Archie Bunker's Place , Falcon Crest , The Love Boat , and Dynasty are examples.

There were just a limited number of cable networks, and VCR rentals were time consuming. Video games were limited, and only professors had access to the internet.

ABC broadcast gets $4.30 per TV household per month in revenue. If they can get a $1.00 for cable retransmission rights, that is far more than they can ever hope by increasing viewership and advertising revenue.

Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
I disagree. I remember the 81-82 programs. Archie Bunker and The Jeffersons and Three's Company were among the very last good comedies. These days, comedies suck badly and have for many years, but drama is FANTASTIC. Some addlebrains would rather watch trashy movies (which is almost all movies) instead of fine dramas on network TV. That says something not so good about the current generation (18-49 that the advertisers covet) but does not mean that the networks should stoop to the questionable taste of the current generation.

Plus, there are several excellent health shows on daytime broadcast TV that we never had years ago. I don't see how any thinking, discerning person can say network TV today is worse than years ago. That is with the exception of the amount of time devoted to ads. That should never have increased to the current point...but then many ads today are far superior to ads from the 80's and 90's in sophistication (but there are also the really bad ones).
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter
To watch network TV IRT is a total waste of time. Having a Tivo, I'll wait till a program records then watch it skipping through commercials (3 - 4.5 minutes of commercials per break). There's almost more commercials than program time ..... Which is true whether it's cable or broadcast.


Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
reply to Mele20
said by Mele20:

I disagree. I remember the 81-82 programs. Archie Bunker and The Jeffersons and Three's Company were among the very last good comedies.

I was trying to make the point that in 81-82 the top 20 shows would attract more than 16.2 million viewers on average.

Now there are 3 shows that beat 16.2 million (Sunday Night Football, The Big Bang Theory, and NCIS) .

Also keep in mind there were 226.5 million people in the 1980 census in USA. Now there are 317 million people.

The writing and production value of all 20 of those shows was not uniformly excellent. It's just that there was a lot less to watch.