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I used to subscribe to Comcast Digital TV with HD and cable modem service. I cancelled the cable TV but kept the cable modem service.


I just got a TV with a ATSC tuner. I cannot use OTA because of a mountain in the way. I connected the TV to the cable outlet and I get basic analog cable and the local networks in HD. I know watching ESPN, Discovery or other cable channels is illegal and stealing cable. But I literally only watch HD.


Is it illegal to watch FOX/NBC/CBS/ABC over the cable since the exact signal and programing is otherwise available freely?


If it is not illegal could they accuse me of watching the other channels even though I never tune to them?
 

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A few things:


1. It's QAM, not ATSC.

2. It's not illegal, and nobody here is going to care if you do it.

3. Comcast will probably be out to trap the majority of the analog channels soon anyway.
 

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IANAL but I suspect some would argue that it is as legal as reading a copy of the New York Times at a news stand (which is also freely available at the library), without paying for it, and placing it back when you're done. Just because it's free elsewhere doesn't give you the right to access it without permission, in the eyes of the law.


But given they're not the RIAA, I can't imagine more than a light slap on the wrist and cutting it off if they found out.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by O2C /forum/post/12915046


IANAL but I suspect some would argue that it is as legal as reading a copy of the New York Times at a news stand

I think a better analogy would be reading a copy of the NYT that someone left on a bus bench. (or reading the front page that is displayed openly in a vending machine)


Some cable companies (in the "old days") would deliberately leave cable active to "entice" a potential subscriber when someone would move out of a home.
 

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I'd just keep it. But if you do feel "guilty" you could call comcast to cut or shut off the paid channels.


Prehapps they have a low end system that allows basic channels for a few buck on top of you internet..
 

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Yeah - to be perfectly legal, you should subscribe to a "locals only" package. You'll probably have to be forceful about, as they will press to upsell you to their digital cable service, but be insistent and polite about it.
 

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Technically, yes it is passive theft...


Now are you saying you called and cancelled cable, but the jack still gets the channels? It can take them a little while to get out to your house/complex and put the proper trap on the line to block out all the analog channels. Do you only get analog channels up to like 20ish? There are 2 kinds of traps, one that filters out ch 20ish to 70ish, and one that filters out all video service. I'm guessing the one that filters all video service does only analog frequencies, if they wanted to block all digital frequencies too, they just disconnect the tap... They might not have had any of the one variety so they just put one on that filters the regular cable channels. However, even with that trap on, you would probably be able to tune to QAM channels "in the clear" since I think the HSI frequencies are right around all the other frequencies that carry digital channels(although the vast majority are encrypted) You'd probably still be able to get local HD channels is what i'm saying.


Which begs the question: is it your fault that they cannot isolate ONLY the HSI frequencies with their equipment/system? In the eyes of the law, it is and you are not entitled to those channels since you don't pay for them. But there is no way they would be able to even know that you have it hooked up. IMO, it's not my fault, and they really don't care and have much bigger fish to fry.


Is HSI more expensive for you w/o any cable service? In most areas, HSI costs like $15 more if you don't have any cable service. The "limited basic" is about $15, so you basically get it for no extra cost(ie the cost of HSI w/ limited basic and HSI w/o limited basic is virtually the same).


I'm dropping digi cable this summer since i hardly watch TV other than the networks during the summertime, and I'll keep the internet and limited basic.
 

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Then those of us subscribing to basic cable but watching digital cable using our QAM tuner also cable thefts? Because according to Comcast customer service, we need digital cable subscription to watch it?


Better yet, according to 47 U.S.C. 533(c). Comcast can sue all the TV manufacturers for damages because they make the device to help us "steal" cable TV services. No wonder most TVs don't say they have QAM tuners!
 

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Not exactly. The clear QAM local broadcasts should be considered as part of the "lifeline" service.
 

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A manager at Bright House of Bakersfield said that watching clear QAM channels is legal but "unethical", because you are watching channels you don;t pay for. He hates the fact that the FCC requires local HD channels to be left unencrypted.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Hawk /forum/post/12923086


you are watching channels you don;t pay for.

You can get these channels for free if you put up an antenna. That's the whole reason the FCC wants them unencrypted. That manager is a jackass.
 

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Many broadcast channels are now charging cable companies to carry their signals. So while they might be free with an antenna, they aren't free with cable.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemyM /forum/post/12924705


Many broadcast channels are now charging cable companies to carry their signals.

Many? I don't think it's enough to be called "many" at this point.
 

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This reminds me of a few years back when a lady from Comcast showed up at our door and thought we were getting free cable TV. My wife (since I was at work) had to show her that the cable leading into the house was cut off just after it entered the house, since I re-used the wire for my OTA system. Turned out that the cable had been "on" at our address. I had just never plugged anything into it and tried it.


This occurred 5 years after we moved into our new house. I could have had illegal free cable for 5 years!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Hawk /forum/post/12923086


A manager at Bright House of Bakersfield said that watching clear QAM channels is legal but "unethical", because you are watching channels you don;t pay for. He hates the fact that the FCC requires local HD channels to be left unencrypted.

What an idiot. What will be his stance when TV's no longer have NTSC tuners?
 

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Even if they do come out and trap the analog channels you would probably still get the clear qams anyway. The cable modem signals are usually in the same area as the tv qams.


I don't see a moral issue if comcast can't be bothered to send someone out to trap the line. Their records should clearly show you canceled tv service on an untrapped line.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb7oeb /forum/post/12926263


I don't see a moral issue if comcast can't be bothered to send someone out to trap the line. Their records should clearly show you canceled tv service on an untrapped line.

Agreed. It's not like the OP changed something on his own to get the cable, it's that the cable company didn't completely stop/filter the service. I see no problem with watching it, how are they going to know anyway?


Maybe Comcast bundles the internet service with the basic cable package by default, so even though the Digital TV service was cancelled the basic is still enabled. This is the package I have, but only because as someone else mentioned the price is the same I think whether you have TV service or not. And it is easier to use the cable hookup then an antenna for me since I live in an apartment in an area with lots of hills, trees, and houses to block the signals.


Cable TV and internet is one of the biggest ripoffs going anyway. I for one certainly would never feel like I owe them something or that getting any additional programming, paid or not is immoral.
 

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I get a handful of channels that are still in the clear(about 12-15 cable channels), and they remain when I have a trap on my line to filter expanded basic(ESPN,discovery, etc). Just the way Comcast has it set up, but I know those can disapear at any time. But they have been in the clear since ADS was turned on, and they encrypted most of them, back in the fall of 05. Actually a nice assortment of some news channels, history, animal planet, weather channel, TBS, and a few others. No really good ones like ESPN or Discovery. I don't even need the HD locals since I'm close enough to just plug in a cheapo indoor antenna and raise the UHF loop and get all the major networks just fine.


My favorite is that I get ESPN Classic, yet that is availible NOWHERE on our cable boxes! Comcast has an agreement, and i've seen the channel on cable boxes on systems in other 'burbs of Philly.


That would be an interesting debate with them, I guess legally i can't tune to those channels even though they are in the clear. OOPS my finger slipped on the remote. What if I had a cat and he hit the remote and hit ch + and tuned to the channel
 
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