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FCC Will Allow Encryption Of Basic Cable, Offers Measures To Protect Open Access

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by CatfishRivers, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    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."
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  2. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I don't like this at all. -:( Currently I can get the basic tier (from Comcast) without a cable box or DTA box (digital-to analog converter box) - I just plug the Comcast cable from the wall directly into my TV and use the QAM tuner on my HDTV. I also get all the major OTA channels in HD this way (with my basic cable subscription). I hate having to plug-in another box just to get basic cable. (OTA doesn't work good in my location with antenna).


    When the basic tier becomes encrypted - I will no longer be able to use my QAM tuner to pull in the channels - but instead I'll have to use a DTA box provided by Comcast. There are numerous threads on the Comcast forums with customers complaining about these DTA boxes. Apparently the video quality is not very good and the currently available models don't pull in HD signals. Thus If I want the HD then I'll have to pay a monthly fee to rent a cable box.


    Comcast claims that encrypting the basic tier will save them all the trouble (and expense) of sending out reps in trucks (when customers stop or change service) - because if basic cable is encrypted (through the DTA box) it can all be done remotely from the central office.


    Here are a couple threads from the Comcast forums about this issue:


    http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Xfinit...hannels-to-Baisc-Cable-Customers/td-p/1170481



    http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Channe...t-encrypting-Limited-Basic/m-p/1305863#M21498
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  3. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I've been doing some thinking about this whole upcoming encryption deal - IMO this is an opportunity for Google to come out with IP basic TV channels through a GTV box - something similar (only much better) then what Boxee is doing with their new Boxee TV.

    I would be very interested in something of this nature - much more so than using a converter box from the cable company. The Boxee TV doesn't really interest me because it doesn't have a web browser or local storage. $15/month for their cloud DVR service seems kind of steep.

    IMO this could really be something that brings new life into the GTV platform if it's done right.
     
  4. bidger

    bidger Member

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    My provider, Time-Warner, is talking about transitioning from QAM to IPTV. I'll be honest, I'm not sure of the implications, if anyone has info to link to I'd be grateful, but I'm intrigued anyway.
     
  5. Carlszone

    Carlszone Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    But w/basic cable boxes users of HDMI pass through devices & TVs would no longer need TIVOs to enable PIP & full GTV integration. Not to mention Tablets & laptops using Apps for controlling TVs. Heck even cloud-based DVRs would not be out of the question. It seems like it is a less expensive option than having to pass through a Tivo just for basic channels. And might the basic cable & box rental fees be even cheaper for OTA integration than using a subscribed TIVO?

    Carl
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  6. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    If you want a DVR that is any good, TiVo, DirecTV, Google, and Microsoft hold the patents and I am not sure the Google patents amount to much and probably TiVo is the best option if something with any chance for consumer acceptance is desired. The ePVision box looks like a joke to me and I expect a quick exit by Boxee while the upcoming Ceton and Whiteman boxes are dead before release most likely since Microsoft isn't going to include Windows Media Center with Windows Embedded. Bottom line pay to get TiVo or a PC with Windows 8 with WMC add on, nothing else has a chance of being worth having, not much will even be available briefly. If cable companies go forward with basic channel encryption, things get much worse if you don't want to pay for a good product.
     
  7. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Looks like I'm going to have to build a 200 ft. tower on my roof if I want to ditch Comcast and get free OTA channels -:)
     
  8. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Here is a link directly to the FCC web site - and the section that summarizes the new policy. It's FCC rule 12-126. (On the FCC page click on the bottom right where it says "expand" to read the entire summary):

    Commission Relaxes The Cable Encryption Prohibition | FCC.gov
     
  9. mrspock

    mrspock Active Member

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    Giving these monopolies even more control is a bad sign. Someone at the FCC is in bed with the cable companies.
     

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