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Legally get basic unencrypted digital channels for free over cable? No.  

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
In his post about cutitng the cable, Peter Rojas of GDGT states that:

"most people don't know that you can legally get basic unencrypted digital channels for free over cable even if you haven't signed up for cable."

In the comments section he links to the FCC 07-170 pdf as backup.

Has anyone had experience getting Comcast or any other cable provider to give them local channels for free without any other type of service subscription?
post #2 of 52
The cable company will come out and unhook your cable drop to your residence when you order a disconnect. If you hook that cable drop back up, it is theft of service and is punishable with a huge fine. The cable company is not required to give you free service at any time. If they don't get around to that drop disconnect for a while you will receive service until they disconnect it. That's on them, you are not entitled to it, but they must enforce the disconnect to be able to prosecute you for theft.

Now the article listed doesn't say that the writer had cable internet, but I suspect he does. If that is the case, the cable drop is attached to his residence. One of the unknown things about that is the cable company doesn't have a way to filter out the unencrypted TV channels that come along with the internet channels. So, if you simply hook a TV, or in the case of the article writer, a HD HomeRun you will get those unencrypted TV channels. Technically, it's theft of service, but there is nothing that can be done about it because the cable company doesn't have a way to filter out the TV signals....
post #3 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post

Now the article listed doesn't say that the writer had cable internet, but I suspect he does. If that is the case, the cable drop is attached to his residence. One of the unknown things about that is the cable company doesn't have a way to filter out the unencrypted TV channels that come along with the internet channels. So, if you simply hook a TV, or in the case of the article writer, a HD HomeRun you will get those unencrypted TV channels. Technically, it's theft of service, but there is nothing that can be done about it because the cable company doesn't have a way to filter out the TV signals....

When I signed up for cable internet, I found that it was cheaper to get limited basic + internet than internet alone. If that is the case, I doubt the cable company will mind you paying for internet alone and stealing cable, they make more money that way.
post #4 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post

Now the article listed doesn't say that the writer had cable internet, but I suspect he does. If that is the case, the cable drop is attached to his residence. One of the unknown things about that is the cable company doesn't have a way to filter out the unencrypted TV channels that come along with the internet channels. So, if you simply hook a TV, or in the case of the article writer, a HD HomeRun you will get those unencrypted TV channels. Technically, it's theft of service, but there is nothing that can be done about it because the cable company doesn't have a way to filter out the TV signals....

Well, they can filter out the video channels. But due to the cost of the filters (plural), they usually don't bother. It's more cost and bother to them than it's worth. They often filter out all frequencies above the "downstream" modem frequency (591MHz in my case), which (in my case) takes out about half of the "Clear QAM" video channels. YMMV.
post #5 of 52
He may have meant to say that it is possible to get free local HD channels if you haven't signed up for "DIGITAL CABLE". You can get local HD channels for no additional charge if you subscribe to only "analog cable".
post #6 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAP View Post

When I signed up for cable internet, I found that it was cheaper to get limited basic + internet than internet alone.

Not with Charter. $10 extra for internet without cable but cheapest TV package is $30.
post #7 of 52
The days of bundles costing the same or less than internet alone died when every broadcaster started demanding cash for carriage.
post #8 of 52
The only HD channels you can get for free are the channels you can get over the air with an antenna. Also there are ISPs that let you watch ESPN3 for free.
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

The only HD channels you can get for free are the channels you can get over the air with an antenna. Also there are ISPs that let you watch ESPN3 for free.

ESPN3 is not ESPN though. No Monday Night football. None of their shows. No NFL Live, Baseball Tonight, PTI, Around the Horn, Rome Is Burning or anything like that.
post #10 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Not with Charter. $10 extra for internet without cable but cheapest TV package is $30.

In my case I found that there was an unadvertised 1.5 Megabit internet connection that was only available with a limited basic bundle. Combined price $25/month.

Except for the occasional HD video stream, it is usually adequate.

My only alternative is dialup.
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Legally get basic unencrypted digital channels for free over cable?

To specifically answer the original question, the answer is no.

As noted:

- Usually if you are paying for Internet the local channels are unencrypted and available to receive with a QAM tuner. Naturally the cableco would take exception to receiving them unless a sub is paying for TV service.

- If you want free HD for local channels, go OTA.

- Most cableco's offer a bundle of basic cable and Internet for not that much more than Internet alone.
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Not with Charter. $10 extra for internet without cable but cheapest TV package is $30.

Really? I didn't know that. If you get a minute, can you get back with details? Thanks.
post #13 of 52
Not counting introductory offers, in my area the least expensive TV & Internet package Comcast offers is $46 a month for the local channels and 1.5 Mbps.
post #14 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Not counting introductory offers, in my area the least expensive TV & Internet package Comcast offers is $46 a month for the local channels and 1.5 Mbps.

I've had my 1.5 Mbps internet + limited basic for $25 for two years now. It may be an introductory offer, but if it is, Comcast has forgotten to end it.
post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

ESPN3 is not ESPN though. No Monday Night football. None of their shows. No NFL Live, Baseball Tonight, PTI, Around the Horn, Rome Is Burning or anything like that.

I was mainly talking about free content. I might as well add ESPN Radio to the list.
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Really? I didn't know that. If you get a minute, can you get back with details? Thanks.

Don't know what details I can give you. The website is useless for getting actual prices. The nearest office is 30 miles away so I'm not able to just run out and grab a price guide. I know is that basic was close to $30 last time I checked. I also know is that Charter charges you $10 more if you don't bundle your internet. Basic in my area is channels 2-22 which sounds like a lot but it's not. You actually only get about 15 channels and no ESPN or anything like that.

If you have just an old SD CRT without a QAM tuner you'd get

SD ANALOG

2 WKRN - ABC
3 WZTV - FOX
4 WSMV - NBC
5 WTVF - CBS
6 WPSD - NBC
7 WBBJ - ABC
9 WGN -
10 WKMU - PBS
11 WLJT - PBS
12 WNAB - CW
13 Charter Media
14 QVC
15 CW 100 + -
17 Home Shopping Network
18 CSPAN
19 Charter Media
20 Jewelry Television by ACN
22 Charter Main Street

Channels 13 and 19 are just ads fopr Charter PPV stuff. Doesn't make sense sicne you need a digital box to watch PPV. Channel 22 is local advertising.

If you have a HDTV with a QAM tuner you also get

SD digital channels

85 CSPAN2
103 Trinity Broadcasting/TBN
135 WBBJ-DT2 - Weather
146 WLJT-DT3 - PBS Create
150 WTVF-DT2 - News
162 Jewelry Television by ACN
190 WNAB-DT2 - The Country Network
191 WLJT-DT2 - PBS World

HD Locals

704 WSMV-DT - NBC
705 WTVF-DT - CBS
707 WBBJ-DT - ABC
711 WLJT-DT - PBS
713 WNAB-DT - CW
717 WZTV-DT - FOX

Notice how they conveniently leave out 2 WKRN - ABC, 6 WPSD - NBC and 10 WKMU - PBS off the HD local line-up.

Not much for $30 especially since I have no internest in watching SD.
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

I was mainly talking about free content. I might as well add ESPN Radio to the list.

The point is ESPN puts stuff it has on ESPN and ESPN2 like MLB games, NBA games, college football and basketball games on ESPN3. But convienently leaves off MNF. For example tonight on ESPN is the College World Series and on ESPN2 you have MLB baseball Reds at Rays. Both are also showing on ESPN3. But come NFL season not a single MNF game to be found.
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Not with Charter. $10 extra for internet without cable but cheapest TV package is $30.

I have Charter and was paying $70 for their fastest Internet service. I called them about an ad I saw and they said if I got basic TV and my internet service it would only cost $50. So I took it and then cancelled the installation because I don't need it but my bill is still $50.
post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

The point is ESPN puts stuff it has on ESPN and ESPN2 like MLB games, NBA games, college football and basketball games on ESPN3. But convienently leaves off MNF. For example tonight on ESPN is the College World Series and on ESPN2 you have MLB baseball Reds at Rays. Both are also showing on ESPN3. But come NFL season not a single MNF game to be found.

Don't confuse the Jedi with the facts, he wants everyone to believe that OTA + the net will give you all you want.
post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by joed32 View Post

I have Charter and was paying $70 for their fastest Internet service. I called them about an ad I saw and they said if I got basic TV and my internet service it would only cost $50. So I took it and then cancelled the installation because I don't need it but my bill is still $50.

Well they'll correct that eventually. Anyways I'm referring to regular price not special deals. Special deals always end eventually.
post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Don't confuse the Jedi with the facts, he wants everyone to believe that OTA + the net will give you all you want.

OTA can give you alot but not everything. Depends on what you like. Also it helps if you live in an area where OTA is easy to set up. I unfortuneately do not live in such an area. It doesn't help that stations either use directional antennas or do stupid stuff like broadcast at 392 kW even though you're allowed to broadcast up to 1000 kW.
post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Don't confuse the Jedi with the facts, he wants everyone to believe that OTA + the net will give you all you want.

Wrong again. I said OTA HD, DVDs, Netflix, + the net gives me everything I want execept Monday Night football. But with the money I save I'm not worried about it.

Your post is an unnessesary one that is off topic. And your accusing me of posting unnessesary stuff in cable channel threads. Unbelievable!
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Also it helps if you live in an area where OTA is easy to set up.

I agree. I'm lucky that I live 8 miles from the broadcast towers and I pick up all my stations up at full strength with an indoor antenna.
post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

Wrong again. I said OTA HD, DVDs, Netflix, + the net gives me everything I want execept Monday Night football. But with the money I save I'm not worried about it.

Your post is an unnessesary one that is off topic. And your accusing me of posting unnessesary stuff in cable channel threads. Unbelievable!

And yours isn't?? Look at the title of the thread - OP is asking about cable, not OTA.
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

And yours isn't?? Look at the title of the thread - OP is asking about cable, not OTA.

He is also asking how to legally get channels for free.
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

He is also asking how to legally get channels for free.

Not be be nitpicky but the title of the thread is Legally get basic unencrypted digital channels for free over cable
post #27 of 52
Anyway now he knows the only place to get free channels is OTA.
post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

Anyway now he knows the only place to get free channels is OTA.

Maybe he/she doesn't. Notice that the OP has been absent since the original post?
post #29 of 52
With my cable sevice I if I subscribe to the minimum cable service for about $20 per month I will legally get all of the unencrypted HD local channels at no additional charge. I do not need to subscibe to their HD service to do this.
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Maybe he/she doesn't. Notice that the OP has been absent since the original post?

The OP hasn't even logged back onto AVS since 6-26 or ~post #9
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