For those of you who still care about the Comcast digital transition, below is some info from the files I've gathered in my attempts to figure what is going to happen.
Two lawsuits are over STBs being anti-trust because they are sole source.
I could find no lawsuits over Comcast's intent to encrypt the QAM digital channels under 99 which are currently free to Expanded Cable customers.
The claim that to encrypt channels <99 requires an FCC waiver is disproven by the post above from dswensen.
The lawsuit most likely to succeed is the NFL's. That could put a crack in the cable monopoly over content.
Friday, December 26th 2008
Internet and cable TV provider Comcast is being sued by its customer, Cheryl Corralejo, for requiring its customer to pay rental fees for its set-top and CableCARD boxes in order to view premium content and not giving them the option of buying them outright. The class-action lawsuit was filed at the end of November at the US District Court for the Eastern District of California and alleges Comcast's practice violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act as well as business and professional codes.
Corralejo argues the practice results in customers effectively paying more in rental fees for the set-top boxes than the devices are worth. While Comcast does offer CableCARDs customers can plug into hardware, such as compatible HDTVs, said hardware must be rented from Comcast. The option also restricts the interactive features as it is a one-way solution and still has associated rental fees for all but the first time-sensitive CableCARD.
February 10th, 2009
A lawsuit has been filed against Comcast by a San Francisco subscriber with a claim that the cable provider is violating antitrust laws by requiring its customers to rent set-top cable boxes to access digital programming.
Attorneys for Comcast customer Lucas Mays argue that rental fees paid by each customer for the set-top box exceed the cost to Comcast for the box, as well as the price that the set-top box would sell for on the open market.
The suit was filed on February 2nd in federal court in Chicago.
Mays' attorneys are seeking class-action status on behalf of all Comcast digital-cable subscribers, and have asked for a court order barring Comcast from requiring rental of the boxes to view digital services.
Consumers can't buy the boxes on their own from retailers, the suit says.http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cou...ase_id-228054/
In a different lawsuit, the City of Dearborn 'won' when a Federal judge issued a restraining order on Comcast to keep the public access channels in their old analog position instead of moving them to the digital tier. 35-40% of residents are still on analog.
Information which has been reported in some forums.
| Comcast will need a waiver from the FCC to turn on
| "privacy mode" to scramble the digital QAM signal for
| basic cable. They need this, in large part, because they
| are not following the rule that their cable boxes need
| to have separable cablecards to do the decryption.
| As long as the FCC doesn't grant a waiver for comcast to
| enable the encryption/scrambling/privacy mode then
| people with TVs that handle digital signals will be fine.
| I really hope that the FCC sides with the consumer and
| doesn't allow encryption for a company that's been
| deliberately ignoring the rule of cableboxes with
| separable decryption.
April 15, 2009
The NFL released its entire 2009 schedule Tuesday, but it's eight specific games on the calendar that are the focus of a courtroom hearing in Washington, D.C. this week.
The octet of games will air later this year on NFL Network, which is owned by the league. Comcast has put the network on its premium sports tier, which costs extra on top of the standard digital package, where the league wants its network to be.
Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, claims it put the network in the premium tier because of high costs associated with carrying the channel; the NFL says Comcast put the channel there so as not to compete with Comcast's own sports channels.
An administrative law judge with the Federal Communications Commission will make a ruling that could have implications beyond sports:
| It is the first big test at the FCC of a 1992 federal law
| that prohibits cable companies, such as Comcast, from
| favoring their own entertainment content over that of
| independents, such as the NFL Network. A ruling in favor
| of the NFL could make it easier for independent
| programmers to gain access to cable systems, experts say.