Comcast Digital Conversion Question - encryption? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-31-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I apologize if this has already been asked, or if this is more of a "technical" forum question. I got a notice that Comcast will be completing their conversion to digital broadcasts in October. Does anyone know if part of their conversion to digital also involves them encrypting the signals?

I only ask because I believe right now, as long as we have a QAM tuner, we can plug straight into the wall without a Comcast account and at least get the major network stations in HD. Will this cease to work once their process is completed?
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-31-2012, 11:46 AM
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The free local channels will still probably be available in clear QAM digital format.
However other channels that previously were available in analog format may be in encrypted QAM digital format and require a cable box to tune in the future.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-31-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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That's what I was wondering, but I've read different things about Comcast's encryption. It seems like they are pushing to encrypt all clear QAM signals, including the local network stations, to require one of their Digital converter boxes.

If this is the case, then they basically make clear QAM tuners in all modern digital tv's obsolete (excluding OTA), requiring that you add a crappy little box with a POS remote control just to change the channel.

I'm looking to drop Comcast cable and just go streaming, but am trying to figure out if I'd still get the "big 4" local stations or not without having to try to get them OTA, (which would be near-impossible due to my distance from the broadcast locations).
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-04-2012, 08:02 AM
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Comcast as well as all the other cable companies are asking the FCC for permission to encrypt all channels. It appears they are close to getting FCC approval. As part of the agreement the may give subscribers several free HD DTA boxes. The free period may be for a year or two or it may be longer.

You can follow the FCC process here:

http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/proceeding/view?name=11-169
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-04-2012, 09:47 AM
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This post shows the FCC is ready to approve encryption of all cable channels:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/542401/comcast-technology-topic/690#post_22370253
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-04-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

This post shows the FCC is ready to approve encryption of all cable channels:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/542401/comcast-technology-topic/690#post_22370253

No, it says "basic-cable" and "basic - tier" which to me implies "cable" -- not availalbe local OTA channels.

It doesn't explicitly say local broadcast channels would or wouldn't be encrypted.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-04-2012, 12:36 PM
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In the FCC petition it states all channels will be encrypted. Basic cable includes the over the air channels. Comcast and the other cable companies want this to ensure that no TV service will be ginen to anyone not paying for TV service.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-04-2012, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

In the FCC petition it states all channels will be encrypted. Basic cable includes the over the air channels. Comcast and the other cable companies want this to ensure that no TV service will be ginen to anyone not paying for TV service.

The petition is to "allow them to encrypt all channels". It does not say that Comcast WILL encrypt all channels (OTAs). Comcast could encrypt all channels they pay to carry, but not encrypt OTA clear QAM.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-05-2012, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzen102 View Post

The petition is to "allow them to encrypt all channels". It does not say that Comcast WILL encrypt all channels (OTAs). Comcast could encrypt all channels they pay to carry, but not encrypt OTA clear QAM.

You DO realize that Comcast DOES (also) pay for most OTA stations now (ie: at least the major network affiliates) via retrans. confused.gif

Bottom line, you can go ahead & live in denial...but the intention is quite clear, that CC WILL be ultimately encrypting ALL channels - period! This is NO different than what Cablevision was allowed to do & did, some time ago.
This has been their goal all along, so that modem-only subs do NOT get ANY TV service &/or they do NOT have to utilize modem-only traps.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-05-2012, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dishrich View Post

You DO realize that Comcast DOES (also) pay for most OTA stations now (ie: at least the major network affiliates) via retrans. confused.gif
Bottom line, you can go ahead & live in denial...but the intention is quite clear, that CC WILL be ultimately encrypting ALL channels - period! This is NO different than what Cablevision was allowed to do & did, some time ago.
This has been their goal all along, so that modem-only subs do NOT get ANY TV service &/or they do NOT have to utilize modem-only traps.

This is what bothers me most about it. The fact that these stations are available nationally for free over the air. However, if you are in the unfortunate position to live in a place where you can't just stick an antenna up and pick up those channels (like me), Comcast is basically going to prevent you from being able to get them all together, unless you pay them for the service, (at some unreasonable price for what you get in "basic" cable). I can see encrypting everything that is a cable channel, but also blocking the network stations from being viewed is my biggest issue with the whole thing.

But I guess the flipside is, if you cant stick an antenna up, you wouldn't be able to get the stations anyway if a cable provider wasnt around anyway.
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post #11 of 12 Old 09-05-2012, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drocpsu View Post

The fact that these stations are available nationally for free over the air.

The blame for all this (retrans consent) needs to rest SOLEY at these local TV stations & the government that allow this retrans BS to happen! Considering these stations have a defacto monopoly on must-see (network) prog, there is NO reason why something sent out OTA for FREE - in the SAME serving area as local cable systems - should be compensated for (twice) by ANY video providers! mad.gif
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Comcast is basically going to prevent you from being able to get them all together, unless you pay them for the service,

Well you sure don't expect CC (or ANY other provider) to eat all these escalating retrans costs...so they got to get them back somehow.
But yes, imagine a company (CC) that wants people to actually PAY for a service they actively charge for... wink.gifconfused.gif
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(at some unreasonable price for what you get in "basic" cable).

Well considering you are already paying MORE for internet service only, (CC usually charges around $15 MORE for internet-only subs) adding on (limited) basic cable would cost you probably LESS than $5 more - & would include 3 DTA's to boot.
And before anyone kvetches about NOT getting locals in HD, full HD boxes only cost .50 for CC limited basic subs. (CC is supposed to be coming out with HD DTA's very soon...)
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But I guess the flipside is, if you cant stick an antenna up, you wouldn't be able to get the stations anyway if a cable provider wasnt around anyway.

+1
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post #12 of 12 Old 09-05-2012, 09:37 PM
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In their comments to the FCC the over the air networks stated they supported the encryption and wanted the cable companies to encrypt their transmissions.
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