JHBrandt the article is based on facts. In the past many years ago cable companies had a security problem with consumers using analog descramblers, however since all cable companies in the USA now use digital encryption, their signal is now 100% secure from piracy as long as the channel is encrypted. Comcast has had such a major problem with consumers illegally going outside and connecting themselves up for free local channels and basic cable service that they started an online forum where people can report other people that attempt to get free unencrypted analog and free unencrypted QAM digital channels. Click this link for the Comcast cable theft forum
that people use to report other people who have attempted to get free basic cable or limited basic cable. Some people are too lazy to install an outdoor or indoor TV antenna so that they can get legally free local channels and instead think that getting free limited basic or basic cable is ok. Here is another article link about passive cable theft and Comcast.
Since 100% of the Comcast network nationwide or soon to be nationwide is using 100% digital encryption for all their channels this means signal theft is no longer an issue for Comcast.
Its kind of funny JHBrandt that you brought this topic up today since I just had a chance to test out the Comcast signal in my area at a local dentist office. I live in a city that has both Verizon FIOS and Comcast to choose from. Some businesses subscribe to only one cable provider while other businesses subscribe to both cable companies to increase their Internet speed and as a backup Internet provider to reduce the possibility of Internet outages (special load sharing router with two WAN connections is used for those that have two separate Internet providers).
I wonder if Comcast has now switched to 100% encrypted QAM in all markets nationwide or just some markets. In some areas of the USA both Comcast and Verizon are available in the same city. Today while at a local dentist office, they were complaining that they lost their Comcast TV reception in the entire office area, which contains like around 5+ TV’s. I checked out the Comcast TV signal and what I found is that only 1 NTSC channel exists on Comcast now, however it is a channel 2 NTSC color bar test channel that lets consumers know that they have an active cable service. So I verified that Comcast in my area has shut off all their NTSC analog cable channels and has switched to 100% encrypted QAM except for the one 24 x 7 NTSC color bar test channel that still exists. In a few months the last remaining NTSC analog Comcast test channel might even go off the air so the bandwidth for QAM channels will increase.
Now the dentist office I visited is upset that they have to rent a Digital Cable box for all of their TV sets which are mostly HDTV flat screens and one 480i SD tube TV. They claimed that Comcast never notified them that they were going to lose all the local and basic channels that they subscribe too. Some cable companies told the FCC that if they encrypted all the QAM cable channels including the local QAM channels, that it would stop cable theft completely. In addition, it would save the cable companies money since they would no longer need to send a technician out to the house to connect or disconnect the physical RG-6 cable in the street if every channel is encrypted including locals (the cable companies can just leave the cable connected all the time now). When subscribing to cable TV service the cable companies can just UPS a digital cable box over night to the customer’s house or apartment for self-installs. The other benefit now is that the cable companies that encrypt 100% of their channels will now make money on cable box rentals or cablecard rentals for every single TV set in one’s home or apartment. Just like a satellite box is required on every TV for Direct TV and Dish Network, now a cable box or cablecard is required on every single TV from Comcast and many other cable companies. Some cable companies charge around $20 a month for each HD DVR while other cable companies have package plans. I explained to the dentist office that they can connect an outdoor TV antenna to all of their TV’s if they are just interested in the local channels. They currently only use Comcast for Internet service.
I verified that Verizon FIOS is sending all the local channels in the clear in my area and according to a Verizon technician I spoke with, that is the same Verizon FIOS policy nationwide for local channels (Verizon FIOS has been 100% QAM for several years). Also Verizon FIOS has never
so far sent a letter to customers saying they plan on encrypting all the channels including locals. The advantage of the Verizon FIOS network is that the 100% digital fiber optic network runs from the central office to the side of the customers house. On the side of each persons house that has Verizon FIOS there is a network interface box that converts the fiber to a RG-6 cable. That Verizon FIOS network box is 100% addressable so that they can remotely turn off or on the FIOS landline phone, FIOS Internet, or the FIOS TV service. Therefore, if a customer cancels their basic local QAM TV service then Verizon will send a signal within a few seconds to have the TV service completely switched off at the network interface box on the side of the house. So my point is, if Verizon FIOS does every decide to encrypt the local channels it will not be because of a security issue, but because they would like to increase the demand for cablecard rentals and digital cable box rentals.
Some consumers that like using their in the clear QAM tuners have canceled Comcast and have switched to Verizon FIOS since they only want the local channels and are not interested in paying a rental fee for every single TV in one’s home.
Regarding the TV antenna situation. I am aware that consumers can contact the FCC or take legal action against their Home Owners Association so that they can have the right to put a TV antenna outside. Personally I have no interest in doing that and the small indoor attic antenna with a rotor is fine. The problem TV stations I am having issue with is one analog low power VHF low band station and the other is a few high band VHF stations (also I use the antenna for FM radio). In the future I might try a separate VHF antenna with a separate UHF antenna pointed in different directions in the attic to improve the reception. I have also considered trying something like the Channel Master 4228HD. Right now I am happy with the dual RF inputs of the PHD-VRX that provides me both ATSC and in the clear Verizon QAM channels.Edited by HDTV1080P24 - 4/25/13 at 8:50pm