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Government Television The Media Entertainment

FCC To Allow Cable Companies To Encrypt Over-the-Air Channels 376

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-free-ride dept.
alen writes "The FCC is now allowing cable companies to encrypt free OTA channels that they also rebroadcast over their networks. '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.' Soon the only way to receive free OTA channels via your cable company will involve renting yet another box or buying something like Boxee."
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FCC To Allow Cable Companies To Encrypt Over-the-Air Channels

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  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday October 15, 2012 @04:51PM (#41662993) Homepage Journal

    Wait, 99% of TVs sold today don't bother supporting it... Shit!

  • Re:Do Not Want (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday October 15, 2012 @04:53PM (#41663023) Homepage

    NO you are just using the wrong recorder....

    eztv.it, set up the RSS feed and your torrent catcher.

    Screw the cable companies and dish companies. Best $12.95 a month I spend is for a VPN outside the USA to get all the TV shows I want to record off of my DishTV.

  • Re:Do Not Want (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Monday October 15, 2012 @05:23PM (#41663425) Journal
    47 miles out from the transmitter and i get every major network on an attic mounted $60 antenna. CBS signal looks a bit weak on the meter, but ive never had a drop out yet, and im recording their entire weekday primetime lineup(stress test, dont judge me). Im recording using a Windows 7 VM on ESXi. About once a week I run the batch of Recorded TV through a Quick Sync conversion and throw it on my web accessible NAS.
  • Re:Do Not Want (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LordKronos (470910) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:10PM (#41663859) Homepage

    For the money you were going to spend on that HTPC, you could easily rent the cable company's latest greatest DVR's for literally years before you got back to even. If you want to roll your own to satisfy your inner geekiness that's one thing, but if the cable company can rent you a box that does the same thing for cheaper, you will receive no sympathy from me.

    Sorry, but the cable company's DVR isn't all that powerful. Aside from the stuff they just outright don't do, like:
    ability to skip commercials
    archive shows indefinitely
    export the files to disc to be played anywhere
    stream to a phone/tablet/laptop, including live transcoding to a reduced resolution to fit device capability and bandwidth limitations
    ability to combine multiple cable/satellite/OTA systems into one interface
    web interface for scheduling new recordings remotely.

    the things that they do handle they don't handle all that well:

    Typically only 1 or 2 tuners
    They're inferior at handling programs moving around in timeslots and conflict resolution
    Recording rules aren't very flexible.

    The recording rule flexibility is a biggie to me. Some shows change their name each season and thus need to be continually tweeked to keep recording. Some shows have no non-generic guide data at all, and thus they either don't get recorded. Some shows have guide data that is just....wrong. Curiosity is an example that comes to mind. Discovery channel refuses to actually title the show "Curiosity" in the guide, so each episode ends up looking to be it's own standalone show with it's own title. Most DVRs would have to have that handled manually, but with mythtv I can say create a rule that looks for a combination of day of week, time of day, and program genre that gets the episodes with minimal effort.

  • Re:Do Not Want (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:33PM (#41664053)

    You do realize that the cable head end has a device that takes the OTA signal and puts in onto the cable system and then drops their own comercials into the feed just like the feeds provided by either fiber or SAT downlink. 99% percent of this is now down as a IP multicast within the headend of the Video Head Office.

    Best case cable signal of OTA has been compressed twice...once by the broadcaster and once by the cable operator to put into into QUAM if they do not do drop and insert insert comercials on that channel. Typicaly it is reencoded another couple of times for things like emergecy broadcast system, encrypting the QUAM has zero effect on the quality of the picture, just the accessablity.

    How much the system operator compesses the locals is up to them... typicaly at a former VZ headed we took a 50mbit/sec HD signal off the OTA reciver and compressed it down as far as 10 mbit/sec at the reciever for the must carry geting closer to god shit... and left it at 50-40mbit/sec for the stations that had HD sports. It gets interesting when the local HD PBS station gets the agrement with Big Ten for rebroadcast rights. The operator then plays the game of steeling from one channel to get the other watchable.

    When I left the industry 2 years ago it was practical not to have a single SAT dish in the front yard if you could accept the bill for 2 10gig circuts you could get the entirty of US cable broadcast channels in a redundant way via a portchannel. Now the authorization to present this to the cable custormer is where the cost of cable really is.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:43PM (#41664149)

    These are kids he was talking about. Political talk shows are out.

    As for sports, that is the only real thing holding back a lot of guys I know from switching.

    That being said, Cable Companies keep raising the costs year after year above and beyond what people are receiving in cost-of-living raises . ESPN, especially. They can go fuck themselves.

    Young people are cutting the cords faster than ever, and in the case of kids, never accepting the cord in the first place. That's why the Cable Companies will die.

    1) No incentive to younger people to shell out $50-$60 per month (base rate). It's hard enough for younger people to find money in the first place, let alone spend it on stupid shit. It's basically a cell phone plan, or Internet plan in terms of cost. What does it deliver that is as attractive, or more attractive, to younger people than Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu or pirating ?

    2) Pricing themselves so high that older people are increasingly looking to save costs by switching to something else. Guys that need to have sports are really just buying it for sports then. That's not an audience that will keep revenue streams at the levels they are now, which means sports would need to increase their revenue streams even more.

  • by crow (16139) on Monday October 15, 2012 @07:21PM (#41664407) Homepage Journal

    I can certainly understand why the cable companies want this. They have too many Internet-only customers who are getting local TV access without paying for it, and they don't want to have to send out trucks to install and remove filters. This is a perfect solution for them.

    As a consumer, I don't terribly mind, as long as I can decrypt the signals. (Yes, it's a bit frustrating that my QAM tuners are now junk.) I don't want to pay a monthly fee for a cable card, along with expensive tuners that accept them. What would be much more reasonable is a software-only cable card, and there's no reason we can't have that. This would allow any QAM tuner to still be useful. The FCC should require cable companies to support this, and toss out any copy restrictions--if we are paying for it, we should get the raw digital stream to record as we see fit.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Monday October 15, 2012 @08:56PM (#41664913)
    If you're curtis who is to blame, Julius Genacowski is the same FCC chair who brought us billions of dollars in taxes they hand over to cell phone companies, obstesibly to help yhem build more 3G and 4G towers. The same guy who allowed cable companies to to slow down Hulu and other internet services that compete with cable TV. A friend of Obama since they went to college together, Genacowskalso worked on Obama's campaign.
  • by RLaager (200280) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @07:24AM (#41667335)

    Cable companies...generally don't PAY for [local channels]. So they don't get to CHARGE for them since the originator of the programming gets nothing from them.

    For what it's worth, this used to be the case, but is not any more. Many local channels have switched from "must-carry", where the cable company has to carry them, but doesn't have to pay, to "retransmission consent" where they can charge the cable company. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Must-carry#United_States [wikipedia.org]

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