FCC lets cable cos encrypt signals to foil theft

Oct 16, 2012 by Peter Svensson

Federal regulators are letting cable companies scramble all their TV signals, closing a loophole that lets many households watch basic cable channels for free.

The voted Friday to lift a ban on encryption of basic cable signals, saying it will reduce the number of visits by cable technicians to disconnect service and reduce cable theft.

Neither the FCC nor the National Cable & Telecommunications Association knows how many households are taking advantage of the unencrypted signals. NCTA spokesman Brian Dietz says most of the theft is by cable modem customers who also connect their line to a TV set.

Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., the two largest , could not say when they will start encrypting their basic signals.

Explore further: Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

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User comments : 3

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PhotonX
1.5 / 5 (2) Oct 16, 2012
most of the theft is by cable modem customers who also connect their line to a TV set.
I would argue that this is not theft, then, but simply a paying customer making use of the product.
.
I would also argue that access to a very basic set of local channels should be considered part of the public commons, available to all at low or no price. Yeah, I know, just call me a dreamer.
NYC
3 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2012
Actually I was under the impression that local channels were part of the deal cut with NYC to allow access right-of-way, similar to CSPAN being part of the deal.
winthrom
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2012
As I see it, the FCC will allow cable companies to charge monthly rent for decoding devices for every television connected instead of charging only for basic service provided to a residence. (Just like modems for special service such as HBO.) In effect, the FCC is creating a new cable company revenue stream by limiting the number of TVs in a persons home to cable decoders only. Sounds like Ma Bell when they were allowed to prevent a homeowner from buying a telephone from anyone but ATT.

The FCC seems not to see the consequences of their actions or they are corrupt.

Essentially, the "cable ready" TV is now a criminal device. Disgusting!

Also, I own my own data modem. I suppose this data modem will become encrypted also, forcing me to rent their modem.

Furthermore, I have $29.00 telephone service plus another $9.00 ($108.00/yr) for the telephone modem. If I could buy this modem, I could immediately find my phone connection encrypted with no crypto key for me.

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