I just want to point out a couple things:
First one is there are really two possible situations here. One is where you are not subscribed to anything
from the cable provider, but have a wire to your house (maybe from the prior homeowner, or from before you canceled).
If you hook up your QAM tuner to this wire and get "free" TV, then well, I'll say I agree with the sentiment here that it is "wrong" to do that (I won't use the word "stealing" as that's too loaded).
The other situation is where you sign up for just internet service, but not TV. In this case you have a line run to your house that you are paying for. Now this is a big gray area IMO. Reason being you're paying for service that enters your house on a cable, specifically internet, but what else comes with that internet is it "wrong" to view it if the cable company decides not to filter out the local channels? I can see both sides to that one.
But here's some more food for thought:
Originally Posted by jcruse
Wow, you guys are so off-base. The free clear-QAM channels are identical to over-the-air channels. I still get the same ads, (which is what pays for the content of those channels, not subscription fees).
This is correct so far....
To view these free channels is in no way stealing, and for you to imply so is incorrect and misleading.
What is "stealing" is those adds don't pay for the service
of providing those channels to you via the cable to your house. They don't pay for the infrastructure the cable provider has to maintain, the lines, the receivers, etc, etc.
The analogies of stealing a neighbor's power, or bypassing water meters are so not-analogous to this situation, because the cable companies NEVER charge for the free channels (only for extended cable/premium content)...whereas your neighbor pays for all his electricity.
Actually they do charge you for those channels. My provider (according to their website) charges $23.98/mo for the 17 "basic" channels, the locals essentially. This is $23.98/mo for the service
of delivering those channels to your house via a cable that is free from reception issues and antennas.
A better analogy is if there are 2 water fountains in a public space. One says "free clean water", and the other says "Water plus kool-aid flavoring - $5". If I pick the free one, according to you, I'd be stealing...
Except that the cable line isn't public space, it's owned by the cable company.
Just a further bit of food for thought. My cable provider provides me something like 40 channels via Clear QAM, including Velocity, Discovery, TNT, etc. These are obviously not "free" channels, but my provider provides these as a means of differentiating itself form the other provider in the area, but obviously not with the intent of giving everyone free TV.