Originally Posted by lokilarry
Aren't they getting around that by offering the digital boxes free?
No. But these are two different matters.
1) There is a FCC rule prohibiting the encrypting of local channels. That rule has been in effect for years.
2) The "boxes" (Actually known as Digital Transport Adapters or Digital Terminal Adapters, depending on the cable company) are intended to allow migration to digital channels on legacy (analog) sets. Note that a single SD digital channel uses approximately 1/12 the bandwidth of a single SD analog channel. So lots of "space" can be saved by transitioning to digital. While the TW DTAs do have a HDMI output, it is not clear that they will provide HD on HD channels.
BTW: The DTAs are only "free" for a year. After the end of 2014 they say they will be $0.99/month (but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if TW increased that).