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andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL

1 edit

[Content] Say goodbye to ClearQAM

quote:
NCTA to FCC: Let All-Digital MSOs Encrypt Basic Tier
»www.multichannel.com/article/477···Tier.php


MN Comcast

@tough.us

Re: Say goodbye to ClearQAM

If they do indeed pass this, and my local Comcast decides to start encrypting locals, I'm dumping them for sure. This is the only reason i still have Comcast - i like being able to watch locals without signal dropouts. I pay for HSI + Basic. If they do this, Hello Century Link + Antenna.

FYI i don't want a box connected to my Flat Panel, it looks nice and clean on the wall by itself


moes

join:2009-11-15
Cedar City, UT

Mount box to tv with mounting kit and using IR blaster, problem solved.


ddrant

join:2010-03-02
Womelsdorf, PA
reply to andyross

Not everyone wants a box on every TV (which I'm sure Comcast will charge for). Personally, I've got 1 full box, and one DTA on a non HD tv, but 3 other HDTV's are just hooked up to unencrypted basic locals.



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

The commission officially voted Oct. 13 to propose that change and put it out for comment. "We tentatively conclude that allowing cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier in all-digital systems will not substantially affect compatibility between cable service and consumer electronics equipment for most subscribers," the commission said. The FCC has already granted several waivers -- most prominently to Cablevision -- and more are in the hopper from cable operators.

The FCC conceded there was an issue with consumers with basic-only digital who accessed it without set-tops, or second or third sets without digital boxes that would now need new equipment to unscramble a signal. It proposed adopting the conditions it put on the waiver it gave Cablevision to encrypt its basic service in New York.

Those conditions include requiring cable operators to offer "current basic-only subscribers up to two set-top boxes or CableCARDs without charge for up to two years, (b) digital subscribers who have an additional television set currently receiving basic-only service one set-top box or CableCARD without charge for one year, and (c) current qualified low-income basic-only subscribers up to two set-top boxes or CableCARDs without charge for five years." But it also asked whether this was adequate of whether the Cablevision time frames are appropriate.

NAB is asleep on this, their website has nothing. The only "active voice needed now" campaign is in regards to property valued airwave spectrums.

No counter arguments listed:
»www.nab.org/

Current "contact Congress now for action" campaign:
»www.thefutureoftv.org/

Help Wanted: Pro-Consumer FCC Lobyists
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Show off that hardware: join Team Discovery and Team Helix


PaulGo

join:2005-01-29
Gaithersburg, MD

The cable companies really want this. This way they can control the service with sending someone to physically disconnect or connect the service. Just like in the Outer Limits TV show - they want full control!



bohratom
Jersey Shore is back again.

join:2011-07-07
Red Bank NJ

1 recommendation

reply to andyross

Correct me if I am wrong but Fox and other local broadcast stations are charging providers now for the content. In this case, local broadcasts use to be free to the cable companies, now they are charged for those rights. I see nothing wrong with a company protecting its financial interest by encrypting those broadcasts to assure only paying customers receive them. I own a small business in Jersey and if I was forced to pay for something that I was receiving for free, I would change the way I sell that product in order to assure a profit.

The anger should really be vented at the local broadcasters who are forcing the cable companies hand.



Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to andyross

I can't wait for this. I hope cable providers hurry up and implement this as quickly as possible. Maybe this will force the cable providers to invest in better ways of carrying the signal and either compress the signal less, or use a better compression method like MPEG4/H.264 for better picture quality.



MN Comcast

@comcast.net
reply to bohratom

said by bohratom:

Correct me if I am wrong but Fox and other local broadcast stations are charging providers now for the content. In this case, local broadcasts use to be free to the cable companies, now they are charged for those rights. I see nothing wrong with a company protecting its financial interest by encrypting those broadcasts to assure only paying customers receive them. I own a small business in Jersey and if I was forced to pay for something that I was receiving for free, I would change the way I sell that product in order to assure a profit.

The anger should really be vented at the local broadcasters who are forcing the cable companies hand.

I believe the rules for location stations are that, if the station demands it be carried, the cable company must comply and carry the channel, but it (the station) can't charge the cable co for it. IF the channel wants to be paid per subscriber, then it can negotiate with the cable company and they (Comcast in this case) isn't forced to carry it.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Must-carry

Besides that, i DO pay for basic service and like not having a box. I have a digital tuner is my computer for recording locals - that will soon be useless.

I honestly can't believe there is a huge market for pirating local TV with illegal cable hookups.

Not trying to start a flame war, this is my opinion. I pay for Local TV, i like the way it is now.


MN Comcast

@comcast.net
reply to Mike Wolf

said by Mike Wolf:

I can't wait for this. I hope cable providers hurry up and implement this as quickly as possible. Maybe this will force the cable providers to invest in better ways of carrying the signal and either compress the signal less, or use a better compression method like MPEG4/H.264 for better picture quality.

I doubt it, cable providers can already goto MPEG4/H264... almost none of STB they have support it, that's why MPEG2 is still alive and kicking. Has nothing to do with local channels being unencrypted.

scanpa
Premium
join:2006-09-06
Lebanon, PA
reply to andyross

This is good news.



Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to MN Comcast

true but companies are wierd like that and usually uses something unrelated to justify something else.


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

2 edits
reply to andyross

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.


GTFan

join:2004-12-03

2 recommendations

All I know is that if they take away clear HD QAMs from my secondary sets, I better get a couple of HD DTAs for free to replace the crappy SD DTAs I have now.

But there's been no news on the HD DTA front...



Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to rody_44

I don't know the last time the affiliate stations were ever free. I mean the very fact that there have been contract disputes between Fox and ABC with various service providers such as Time Warner, Brighthouse, Cablevision, DISH network, DirecTV (all of which can be brought up with a quick Bing search) over carriage fees proves that everyone wants to get paid.

Pretty sure NBC is going to be the first to do the encryption on Comcast for that fact that they are owned by Comcast, and I think the same can be said by other channels who are owned by cable providers like how Time Warner Cable which is owned by Time Warner owns 50% of The CW.


Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to markofmayhem

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.



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

said by bohratom:

Correct me if I am wrong but Fox and other local broadcast stations are charging providers now for the content. In this case, local broadcasts use to be free to the cable companies, now they are charged for those rights.

Local full power stations have must-carry privilege that can force a local cable company to carry their signal. In exchange for being must-carry, the local station can not charge a fee for carrying their signal.

However, they can opt to charge a fee, but then they lose their must-carry privilege and the cable company can tell them to go fly a kite. Most cable companies will want to carry the local stations as they would be in demand, but if the station wants too much they don't have to carry them. That's why there have been more and more disputes in recent years where the cable companies drop a local station for a short period because they can't work out a contract, or the television station runs a crawler that says "You might lose this station next week because cableco refused to pay a fair amount for you to be able to watch this station..."

amungus
Premium
join:2004-11-26
America
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·KCH Cable
reply to andyross

I can understand the benefits of fully controlling their lines remotely, and leaving things hooked up - it's bound to save them a boatload of money.

Here's the thing though - they (ALL cable companies that do this) need to offer the following in return to paying customers:

1) Ability to BUY a cablecard - If I still had cable, I'd be getting a new tuner for my HTPC. Those with Tivo also have to get a card... Renting a card is absurd for OWNED equipment, and it's already a rather "standardized" thing.

2) Ability to BUY a dirt cheap HD"DTA" box of some type, or rent one dirt cheap (under $5/mo, or less than their standard boxes).

I'm not at all opposed to Comcast, or any cable company wanting to do this. I am, however, opposed to the forced rental of one of their boxes to get ANY channels, and the forced rental of a simple card that allows access.

A person can buy a pretty much "idiot proof" Tivo these days (granted, you'd have to either buy 'lifetime' or monthly 'service' to go with it, which I still find slightly absurd, but that's beside the point), why can a person not buy the darn card for $10 or something?



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

said by ddrant:

Not everyone wants a box on every TV (which I'm sure Comcast will charge for). Personally, I've got 1 full box, and one DTA on a non HD tv, but 3 other HDTV's are just hooked up to unencrypted basic locals.

 
I would change your first sentence to: Not everyone wants a power-wasting box on every TV (which I'm sure Comcast will charge for).


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

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.


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

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:15

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
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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.
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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.