Originally Posted by Ken H
You are badly confused. Currently, the law states all cable providers must provide local HD in clear QAM, if they carry it on their system. Yes, one has to be a paying subscriber to have access to these channels, but nowhere does the OP say he isn't.
Having a cable box or CableCARD device is not a requirement for viewing local channels in HD.
As noted, the FCC is currently considering a proposal to allow any cable system that is all digital to encrypt all channels, including local HD. If this is approved, and it appears it will be, expect to see most all cable system go all digital and all encrypted, legally.
No, I am not confused. I know that cable companies will try to get away with whatever they can get away with. My real complaint is that congress and the FCC have not been zealous enough about looking out for the interests of the public. The FCC has been too concerned with corporate profits for cable companies.
In the days of analog broadcasting, many people who had the lowest tier of cable TV service could simply connect their TV sets directly to the wall jack without any set-top boxes or other equipment, and that would allow them to receive all of the local channels through the cable system with a picture quality as good or better than OTA.
Now there is this wonderful world of digital broadcasting, but if a cable TV customer wants to get those local channels through the cable service rather than OTA, many cable companies may require the customer to accept (or even pay for) a cumbersome set-top box that the customer does not want.
The FCC should require that all of the local channels on the very basic service tier be made available in both digital and analog format so that all consumers can receive (with the least cumbersome equipment possible) through the cable system the same type and highest quality of signal that their TV set will support.
Put the consumer and the pubic interest first, FCC. Tell the cable companies that they have had it too easy for too long.