here is a email that was sent to comcast Employees
RE: Content Protection Rollout
As part of Project Cavalry, Comcast began deploying digital transport adapters, or DTAs, to provide Comcast's Expanded Basic analog customers with digital service. Since the start of Project Cavalry, Comcast had to turn off encryption (also known as digital content protection) on Expanded Basic channels for a limited period of time. Due to a recent FCC ruling, Comcast is now able to deploy digital content protection technology to DTAs. Comcast has begun notifying customers about its plans to turn on digital content protection on DTAs that have been deployed to date.
When It's Happening
For our Region, the encryption process begins on November 10th. Customers are starting to receive notification this week via notices in local newspapers. In addition, customers that we have identified as being impacted by the encryption will receive additional notices starting next week through the encryption period. We are planning to encrypt channels in two groups on November 10th and 17th.
Receiving In-the-Clear Channels
In-the-clear channels are channels that a customer receives via their QAM TV tuner and not via their digital device. In order to receive the in the clear digital channels, a customer with a QAM TV would have had to scan for channels using the on-screen menus included with their TV during the brief window of time the channels were unencrypted. If a customer with a QAM TV never re-scanned for channels following the start of Project Cavalry in a market, they likely had not been receiving any digital channels, and would be receiving only the Limited Basic analog channels on their TV.
The following groups of customers are not impacted by the content protection process.
ü Any customer TV connected to a digital device
Customers with TVs connected to a cable box, DTA or CableCard will experience no loss of channels or service with the implementation of digital content protection.
ü Limited Basic Customers (who do not have QAM TVs)
Customers with only Limited Basic service will not experience a disruption in service during Comcast's latest network enhancement.
Potentially Impacted Customers
At-Risk Customers are any customers who have a QAM tuner TV not connected to digital device. This includes these three situations:
û QAM TVs with Expanded Basic or Digital Starter level of service NOT connected to a digital device
After the encryption process, these customers will need a digital device to view all channels in their package.
û QAM TVs receiving over-the-air HD channels
These customers will no longer be able to view over-the-air high-definition broadcast channels without adding an A/B switch. [more info]
û QAM TVs with Limited Basic service that have been receiving Expanded Basic channels in the clear
These customers will not be able to receive the Expanded Basic channel lineup without upgrading their level of service and obtaining a digital device.
FAQs and Employee Talking Points
What is a QAM Tuner?
· A QAM tuner is a device present in some televisions that allows the TV to receive in-the-clear digital channels without a digital cable box.
· In some cases, QAM tuners on HDTVs allow customers to receive over-the-air HD channels. Typically these channels include local affiliates for CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. Once a DTA or a Standard Definition digital cable box is connected to a television, the customer with a QAM tuner will have to use an A/B switch to continue viewing over-air HD programming on their television. Or, a customer can receive even more HD programming by upgrading to an HD capable cable box from Comcast.
What does a customer watching Expanded Basic cable channels via a QAM TV not attached to a digital device have to do?
In order to receive Expanded Basic or higher service, customers must have Comcast digital equipment, either a DTA, digital cable box, or CableCard from Comcast connected to their TV.
· Expanded Basic customers are eligible for 1 digital cable box and up to 2 DTAs at no additional charge.
· Digital Starter or above customers are eligible for up to 2 DTAs, at no additional charge/included with the service.
· If the customer wants to upgrade to HD service, an HD capable digital cable box or CableCard on a CableCard compatible device is required. There will be an additional monthly charge for this.
Why is Comcast implementing digital content protection now? And why are QAM tuners impacted now?
We have always protected the content on our service. Many of our programming contracts require that we protect our channels from unauthorized viewing.
For a brief period of time, certain customers with QAM TVs may have temporarily been able to access channels that they had not subscribed to, or channels that require a box to view them. For these customers, we are providing three digital devices at no additional cost to receive Expanded Basic channels. It is important to note that all other non-cable operators require a box to receive these same services.
Will customers need equipment if they have a digital TV with a QAM tuner?
Yes. At the completion of Comcast's latest network enhancement, customers will need equipment on all TVs to receive any channels above the Limited Basic level of service. Comcast currently plans to make the Limited Basic level of service available in analog format, with no equipment required. Furthermore, Limited Basic customers with QAM TVs will be able to view Limited Basic digital channels without additional equipment. We are providing Expanded Basic customers with three digital devices at no additional cost.
How many Comcast customers have QAM tuner televisions and/or will be impacted?
There is no way of knowing how many of our customers own QAM tuner televisions; however, the universe of impacted customers is likely very small. In order to receive the in the clear digital channels, a customer with a QAM TV would have had to scan for channels using the on-screen menus included with their TV during a small window of time during Project Cavalry.
Do other video providers, such as DirecTV or DISH use digital content protection to encrypt channels?
Yes. All video providers are contractually required to protect the content they distribute from unauthorized reception. There are a variety of technologies used, which is why the equipment used is typically specific to a service provider.
What will a customer watching Expanded Basic cable channels via a QAM tuner TV not attached to a digital device see after digital content protection is turned on?
If service is interrupted on a QAM tuner television, channels may be displayed in several different ways, depending on the manufacturer/make of the TV. Some TVs may display a blue screen, some will display snow and some may broadcast the TV manufacturer's message.
If customers currently have Comcast Expanded Basic service and receive broadcast high-definition (HD) channels with their QAM tuner TV, how will this be affected by using a DTA?
These customers will no longer be able to view over-the-air high-definition broadcast channels without adding an A/B switch. Comcast will provide everything necessary to continue viewing these channels to these customers at no additional charge (an A/B switch, splitter and the appropriate cables). Customers can pick these up at their local Comcast office or order a self-install kit from our national support center.
Additionally, Comcast offers HD cable boxes for a monthly equipment fee, which provides access to cable networks in HD, and over 1,000 HD choices.
Limited Basic customers with a QAM TV would continue to be able to view broadcast HD channels without Comcast equipment. There is no charge for HD content only equipment.