Just discovered "free" cable. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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So for the last few years I've had cable and internet through company X. I've recently gotten tired of paying for cable, when I only watch a few channels, and have resorted to using my HTPC for many things. So, I dropped the cable, but kept the 10mb internet package.

As I handed in my cable box and remote to the cable company, they "officially" reduced my service to internet only.

When I got home, knowing that the cable box was simply an analog/digital tuner box, I decided to direct connect my cable to my TV.

Now, I'm paying 1/3 of what I was paying before, have 150+ channels as compared to the 110+ before, and even have all local HD stations and HBO.
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post #2 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 07:28 AM
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It's common knowledge that all cableco's pass local HD, public service channels, and usually a few others like QVC and HSN, in clear QAM format, which most all current HDTV will receive.

There is only one major cableco that passes other SD channels in clear QAM, which is WOW. I'm sure there are other smaller cablecos that can't afford the encryption equipment. Otherwise, you live in an area where the cableco has slipped up, and I would suppose out of the many systems nationwide there may be a few that fall into that category.

Having said that, this is an HD forum and you probably won't find too much enthusiasm for free cable unless the channels are HD, which I'd guess they are not. Who is your cableco?

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post #3 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 07:36 AM
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Are you certain they got rid of all cable TV service? A lot of the time they will leave you on "lifeline" service or something like that since it tends to end up being cheaper than cable internet only. Lifeline service usually gets you the local channels and some other public interest channels like C-Span, BookTV, HSN, QVC, etc. A lot of the time you can get them in HD also if your TV has a clear QAM tuner.

Otherwise, if you truly cancelled all TV service, this is considered theft of service and you might not want to be talking about it in the open.
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post #4 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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No enthusiasm for free cable? Regardless of whether it's HD or SD, I would think some people would be excited for this.

Certain. I'm simply being billed for my internet package. However, clearly they have no way of seperating their internet/cable data lines, so all they can do is take back their cable hardware, and adjust your billing.

I don't consider this theft, because I'm paying monthly to have data sent to my home via coax. If I choose to route my coax to my modem, so be it. If I choose to route my coax feed to my refrigerator, then I have every right to do so. The fact that I'm only paying for what they label as "10mb internet" doesn't change the fact that they are sending me a full cable/internet package. Obviously if they don't feel the need to filter and seperate the cable and internet lines, and it isn't costing them anything extra by sending both data lines to homes with only "internet" packages, it shouldn't be considered theft on my part.

If anything, it's theft on their part. For charging customers a premium price for a cable/internet package, when clearly the same package can be given for 1/3 the price. Ultimately, the cable company is simply renting out their cable boxes/remotes for $70 a month.

I'm not concerned about talking openly about this. Suddenlink is my cable company BTW.
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post #5 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 10:04 AM
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Subscribers to internet service only receiving clear QAM channels is one the reasons cable companies are now asking the FCC to allow them to encrypt digital basic channels.
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post #6 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 10:18 AM
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In my area which is Comcast. Only the limited basic channels are in clear QAM and if you cancel the TV service the internet service goes up by almost the same amount as the TV service. Comcast also has the option of doing a truck roll and putting on a filter outside your home to eliminate most of the limited basic channels.
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post #7 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 10:59 AM
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From my experience with Comcast, it may take a few weeks (months?) to filter/trap unsubscribed channels. Enjoy what you have as long as it lasts.

I cancelled Comcast (completely) about a year 1/2 ago. It took them 4 months to disconnect service completely (at the pole).
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post #8 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

From my experience with Comcast, it may take a few weeks (months?) to filter/trap unsubscribed channels. Enjoy what you have as long as it lasts.

I cancelled Comcast (completely) about a year 1/2 ago. It took them 4 months to disconnect service completely (at the pole).

I'm not worried about this either. The reason I know about this with Suddenlink is because an old roommate of mine has been doing this for over two years now. They either aren't very fast to catch on in my area, or simply don't care.
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post #9 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterofBlasting View Post

I'm not worried about this either. The reason I know about this with Suddenlink is because an old roommate of mine has been doing this for over two years now. They either aren't very fast to catch on in my area, or simply don't care.

I don't consider this theft???? If you cancelled all TV service, this is considered theft of service. Try explaining your position in court.
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post #10 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

From my experience with Comcast, it may take a few weeks (months?) to filter/trap unsubscribed channels. Enjoy what you have as long as it lasts.

I cancelled Comcast (completely) about a year 1/2 ago. It took them 4 months to disconnect service completely (at the pole).

Lucky You when i had comcast in MASS and cancelled tv service i was trapped within 3 days.

JIMMY
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post #11 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMI Guy View Post

I don't consider this theft???? If you cancelled all TV service, this is considered theft of service. Try explaining your position in court.

Such drama!
Once you cancel the service, return the hardware and have all of the receipts/documentation... the rest is on the cableco to physically stop service. It's "their" problem, not the ex-subscribers"s.

Ethic's aside... I don't think anyone would (or should) call every day to complain that they are still receiving channels. Especially when it's bad enough trying to get assistance/resolution when you have a complaint with poor subscribed service.

As I said earlier. Sometimes it takes a few weeks/months for them to trap/filter.

But if it's a problem, one could always contact Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown.
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post #12 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterofBlasting View Post

No enthusiasm for free cable? Regardless of whether it's HD or SD, I would think some people would be excited for this.

Certain. I'm simply being billed for my internet package. However, clearly they have no way of seperating their internet/cable data lines, so all they can do is take back their cable hardware, and adjust your billing.

I don't consider this theft, because I'm paying monthly to have data sent to my home via coax. If I choose to route my coax to my modem, so be it. If I choose to route my coax feed to my refrigerator, then I have every right to do so.

Actually you rights are whatever you agreed to in their TOS which you agreed to when you signed up for service.
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post #13 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Comcast also has the option of doing a truck roll and putting on a filter outside your home to eliminate most of the limited basic channels.

Not anymore. They are instructing techs to remove all traps they come across, and haven't been installing any new ones for quite some time.

Which goes back to the upcoming FCC ruling on all digital cable systems being allowed to encrypt all channels with zero exceptions. From what I can tell, including the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) supporting it, it looks like it will be put into effect. In other words at some point in the near future, issues like this will be a moot point.

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post #14 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Such drama!
Once you cancel the service, return the hardware and have all of the receipts/documentation... the rest is on the cableco to physically stop service. It's "their" problem, not the ex-subscribers"s.

Which is akin to arguing that if someone doesn't lock up their car, it's OK for you to open the door and take their iPod and GPS. It might be a poor decision on their part to not better protect things, but you're still a criminal. And with a criminal record for theft, even Walmart and Mickey D's won't give you a job.
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post #15 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Not anymore. They are instructing techs to remove all traps they come across, and haven't been installing any new ones for quite some time.

Where did you hear this? I recently subscribed to Comcast internet-only and when I tried to scan channels the TV displayed an error message from Comcast. I can't remember what it said. This was a complete new installation so there wouldn't have been an old filter on there or anything.
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post #16 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Where did you hear this?

From sources at Comcast.

Quote:


I recently subscribed to Comcast internet-only and when I tried to scan channels the TV displayed an error message from Comcast. I can't remember what it said.

That's a message from the head end, not a trap. Traps don't generate graphics, they just prevent select frequencies from passing. You should always get at least local HD channels, gov/edu, shopping, public service.

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post #17 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterofBlasting View Post

No enthusiasm for free cable? Regardless of whether it's HD or SD, I would think some people would be excited for this.

Certain. I'm simply being billed for my internet package. However, clearly they have no way of seperating their internet/cable data lines, so all they can do is take back their cable hardware, and adjust your billing.

I don't consider this theft, because I'm paying monthly to have data sent to my home via coax. If I choose to route my coax to my modem, so be it. If I choose to route my coax feed to my refrigerator, then I have every right to do so. The fact that I'm only paying for what they label as "10mb internet" doesn't change the fact that they are sending me a full cable/internet package. Obviously if they don't feel the need to filter and seperate the cable and internet lines, and it isn't costing them anything extra by sending both data lines to homes with only "internet" packages, it shouldn't be considered theft on my part.

If anything, it's theft on their part. For charging customers a premium price for a cable/internet package, when clearly the same package can be given for 1/3 the price. Ultimately, the cable company is simply renting out their cable boxes/remotes for $70 a month.

I'm not concerned about talking openly about this. Suddenlink is my cable company BTW.

meh. thieves bore me. your 'free' cable is being subsidized by those of us who pay for it.
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post #18 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

Which is akin to arguing that if someone doesn't lock up their car, it's OK for you to open the door and take their iPod and GPS. It might be a poor decision on their part to not better protect things, but you're still a criminal. And with a criminal record for theft, even Walmart and Mickey D's won't give you a job.

It is refreshing to see others that believe that getting something free by taking advantage of someone(either an individual or a company) is dishonest. Those of us that pay for cable service help to pay for those that are less than honest.
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post #19 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 06:57 PM
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I despise thieves of any kind including theft from cable thieves. I don't see the original poster stealing anything here. The original poster clearly stated that he handed in his cable box and dropped cable. The cable co didn't do the proper procedure in disconnecting the cable but that doesn't make the original poster a thieve and calling him such is quite insulting IMO.

What I find strange is that even HBO is coming in the clear. I remember even back in the analog only days - most cable companies would scramble channels like HBO. I'm actually wondering if HBO knows that a certain cable area is outputting HBO's signal in the clear? If HBO does not know about this then maybe it's the cable company that could be held liable by HBO for theft of service?
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post #20 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 08:18 PM
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It doesn't matter that the line was not completely disconnected, continuing to use it when fully aware that service was terminated constitutes theft. If one feels that being called a thief is insulting, then perhaps one should not steal.
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post #21 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

It doesn't matter that the line was not completely disconnected, continuing to use it when fully aware that service was terminated constitutes theft.

Please convince me with some legal documents to back up your statement. Please bring fourth actual cases and please bring fourth non-bias meaning don’t withhold cases with non-convictions.

Otherwise I don’t believe what you’re saying is true and the only thing you led me to believe is that you’re a representative of the cable industry.

Edit:
By actual cases I mean:
When someone called in to have cable TV service disconnected, keeping cable internet service active and that someone was convicted for cable theft because the cable co was too stupid not to encrypt HBO and too stupid not to filter regular channels knowing that the customer is subscribing to cable internet.

If anything the cable co may be breaking an HBO agreement by having HBO in the clear. I wonder how many subscribers are enjoying HBO via their TV’s built in QAM tuner thus depriving HBO income thanks to the stupidity of the cable co. If anything HBO should sue the cable provider for not taking proper steps to protect their signal.
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post #22 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 09:35 PM
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The HBO in question is likely not the regular linear HBO channel, but rather a neighbor's HBO On Demand selection. Or maybe that company has the regular HBO channel as Switched Digital Video. Occasionally wild feeds including SDV channels, on demand, and pay per view are sent in the clear and can be viewed by anyone with a QAM tuner on the same node. The advantage is in getting to sample channels one doesn't normally receive. The disadvantage is that there is no way to predict when or what will be available and if the person who selected the program changes the channel then the feed could be abruptly shut off mid-program. Or you might see it suddenly rewind or fast forward, again under the control of the person with the box who ordered the program. And of course in order to find wild feeds in the first place you must rescan frequently or to manually enter each RF channel your cable company uses for wild feeds, which can change over time.

How can we say "the digital transition is complete" when thousands of low power stations are still broadcasting in analog?
LOW POWER ANALOG NEEDS TO DIE NOW!!!
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post #23 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 09:43 PM
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I thought that the law is that if you pay for any tv service then you can legally watch any unencrypted programming that comes over the cable that your tv is capable of tuning, even if such programming is officially not part of the tier of service you subscribe to, but if you do not pay for any tv service then watching any tv channels over the cable is illegal.

How can we say "the digital transition is complete" when thousands of low power stations are still broadcasting in analog?
LOW POWER ANALOG NEEDS TO DIE NOW!!!
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post #24 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 09:52 PM
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Back in the 1970s some cable companies did carry (analog of course) HBO and other premuim channels in the clear because simply putting them on cable channels above 13 was security enough since cable ready tvs didn't exist yet. When the first cable ready tvs hit the market it was often possible to get free premuim channels and/or higher tiers of basic for free by buying a cable ready tv. This didn't last too long; the cable companies quickly began encrypting premium channels and either encrypting or trapping expanded basic.

I heard that the cable industry initially tried to get the FCC to ban the manufacture of cable ready tvs since cable channels above 13 weren't used for over the air broadcasting (cable channels didn't go up to 65+ then (65+ except for 95-99 are on the same frequency band that is used for OTA UHF)) therefore the cable industry felt that there was no legitimate reason for tvs to be able to tune them directly and that their only purpose was to allow viewing of channels a person doesn't pay for. When the FCC didn't ban cable ready tvs then encryption and/or trapping became necessary.

How can we say "the digital transition is complete" when thousands of low power stations are still broadcasting in analog?
LOW POWER ANALOG NEEDS TO DIE NOW!!!
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post #25 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 10:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Hawk View Post

I heard that the cable industry initially tried to get the FCC to ban the manufacture of cable ready tvs since cable channels above 13 weren't used for ever the air broadcasting (cable channels didn't go up to 65+ then (65+ except for 95-99 are on the same frequency band that is used for OTA UHF)) therefore the cable industry felt that there was no legitimate reason for tvs to be able to tune them directly and that their only purpose was to allow viewing of channels a person doesn't pay for. When the FCC didn't ban cable ready tvs then encryption and/or trapping became necessary.

Having grown up in the 70's and 80's I can tell you that broadcast TV channels went way above channel 13 long before cable even existed.
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post #26 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Having grown up in the 70's and 80's I can tell you that broadcast TV channels went way above channel 13 long before cable even existed.

Yes but that was UHF. Not CATV
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post #27 of 136 Old 03-26-2012, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Hawk View Post

I thought that the law is that if you pay for any tv service then you can legally watch any unencrypted programming that comes over the cable that your tv is capable of tuning, even if such programming is officially not part of the tier of service you subscribe to, but if you do not pay for any tv service then watching any tv channels over the cable is illegal.

Well the OP is paying for Internet service and today's TV sets are Internet ready so the OP is in the clear in your example.

But in any case, I can't see any judge or jury being stupid enough to convict a person who phones the Cable co to disconnect TV cable and keeps Internet cable no matter what kind of TV he has. Really. Cable companies think they have all the power with their passive theft laws but in the real world I don't know of any convictions like in the case of the original poster.

I hope no one in this forum lets the cable reps here scare them. Innocent till proven guilty and anyone who calls someone a thief for something that is the cable co's own stupidity is the one in the wrong.
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post #28 of 136 Old 03-27-2012, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

Please convince me with some legal documents to back up your statement. Please bring fourth actual cases and please bring fourth non-bias meaning don't withhold cases with non-convictions.

Otherwise I don't believe what you're saying is true and the only thing you led me to believe is that you're a representative of the cable industry.

Edit:
By actual cases I mean:
When someone called in to have cable TV service disconnected, keeping cable internet service active and that someone was convicted for cable theft because the cable co was too stupid not to encrypt HBO and too stupid not to filter regular channels knowing that the customer is subscribing to cable internet.

If anything the cable co may be breaking an HBO agreement by having HBO in the clear. I wonder how many subscribers are enjoying HBO via their TV's built in QAM tuner thus depriving HBO income thanks to the stupidity of the cable co. If anything HBO should sue the cable provider for not taking proper steps to protect their signal.

Federal:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 47 USC 553 View Post

(a) Unauthorized interception or receipt or assistance in intercepting or receiving service; assist in intercepting or receiving defined
(1) No person shall intercept or receive or assist in intercepting or receiving any communications service offered over a cable system, unless specifically authorized to do so by a cable operator or as may otherwise be specifically authorized by law.

Texas state law, though other states typically have similar laws:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Penal Code - Section 31.12. Theft Of Or Tampering With Multichannel Video Or Information Services View Post

THEFT OF OR TAMPERING WITH MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR
INFORMATION SERVICES.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the authorization of the multichannel video or information services provider, the person intentionally or knowingly:
(1) makes or maintains a connection, whether physically, electrically, electronically, or inductively, to:
(A) a cable, wire, or other component of or media attached to a multichannel video or information services system;
or
(B) a television set, videotape recorder, or other receiver attached to a multichannel video or information system;
(2) attaches, causes to be attached, or maintains the attachment of a device to:
(A) a cable, wire, or other component of or media attached to a multichannel video or information services system;
or
(B) a television set, videotape recorder, or other receiver attached to a multichannel video or information services system;

Federal code provides for a fine up to $1000 and/or up to 6 months in the slammer plus damages. Texas law considers it a class C misdemeanor, which is a fine up to $500, and it is a similar misdemeanor punishable by fine in other states. I seriously doubt anyone is stupid enough to actually go to trial for it because it would cost more for a lawyer than the fine would end up being, not to mention being a huge waste of the court's time. Plead it down to some meaningless BS, pay the fine and restitution, and move on. But is it really worth the potential hassle just to be a cheap bastard and not pay a few bucks a month for service, or a few more bucks one time to put up an antenna?

Anyone who follows my posts on here would know that I'm no representative for the cable industry. I rip those morons a new one any time they deserve it, which is a lot. I just think it's stupid whenever people claim innocence when they've clearly committed a crime, especially when it's a real crime that actually has a victim.
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post #29 of 136 Old 03-27-2012, 01:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

Yes but that was UHF. Not CATV

Cable TV operators use the UHF spectrum. I'm not sure back them but today they do.
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post #30 of 136 Old 03-27-2012, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Cable TV operators use the UHF spectrum. I'm not sure back them but today they do.

They do, but instead of Channel 14 being in the ~400MHz UHF spectrum, Cable Channel 14 is just above Channel 13 in the ~180MHz VHF spectrum. I think Cable Channel 54 is the same as OTA 14.

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