FCC will allow encryption of basic cable, offers measures to protect open access | The Verge (click for full article) By Chris Welch on October 15, 2012 12:47 pm "The days of plugging a TV into the wall and getting cable are coming to an end. After a lengthy review process, the FCC has granted cable operators permission to encrypt their most basic cable programming. But the commission is inserting a number of measures it's hoping will prevent the public from suddenly finding themselves without access and open the door for third-party set-top boxes like the upcoming Boxee TV. That's a major breakthrough for a cable industry that has notoriously been locked down over the years. In order for the six largest US cable providers - Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Verizon, Charter, and AT&T - to get the go-ahead for encryption, they'll need to meet one of two requirements. The first involves issuing a network-connected converter box to consumers that would allow other devices in the home to receive the encrypted signal. This equipment would be provided free of charge for two years, though cable operators would be permitted to implement rental fees thereafter. In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) didn't seem thrilled with this idea and argued that supporting the all-but-defunct CableCARD standard gives third-party manufacturers a sufficient option for interoperability. It ultimately conceded to go along with the plan however. In fact, Comcast and Boxee have already reached an agreement to partner up."