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  • #527

    admin
    Keymaster

    I was a bit of a loss to categorize this into a forum category because, with the upcoming box releases, such as the Boxee, it has direct bearing on this.

    Last Friday, October 12, the FCC gave permission to the cable companies to encrypt basic cable. This is a first for the industry, which was always expressly prohibited previously.

    There are a variety of FCC stipulations in place, one of which must allow subscribers to use boxes other than cable company rental set-top boxes. That’s a far departure from the status quo. That’s where Boxee and others come in. Hybrid cable/IP television boxes will soon surface.

    FCC allows cable operators to encrypt basic cable TV signals | Politics and Law – CNET News

    Boxee press release.

    #1903

    admin
    Keymaster

    I think thats bad news.

    When you need specific hardware to watch something that used to be unencrypted for so long, you wonder why things change this way … :(

    #1904

    admin
    Keymaster

    I didn’t say that I was in favor of it :), just noting that this is a huge shift from how it has always been in the US.

    The cable companies have been complaining on two fronts. First, they say that because there is an open analog and clear QAM aspect to their service, they face unauthorized access due to piracy. People splitting cable or service left on when a person leaves a residence have open access to basic cable.

    The other complaint is bandwidth. While 1 QAM and 1 analog channel both equal 6 Mhz, the cable companies have been desperately trying to remove analog from the systems in favor of digital and then switch to addressable converter boxes that stream individual channels on demand. I don’t know how that plan would pan out here. I wouldn’t think the channels could be on demand for this new method to work. Simple QAM decryption versus addressable decoder per-channel streaming are two very different things.

    On the positive side, there has always been a chasm in boxes and combinations of services. You were trapped with the cable company’s own STB and a separate Roku/Boxee/ATV/etc. for other services. This finally joins the two. It’s no wonder Apple has recently been working very hard to get into bed with cable. They knew this FCC rule change was coming. They want to sell privately-owned Apple TV boxes that interface directly with cable. The sticking point right now is that Apple wants access to cable company customer data for its own use but the cable companies are holding the line and refusing to give that up. This isn’t the first time Apple has gone head to head with this issue.

    #1905

    admin
    Keymaster
    BenL, post: 0 wrote:
    Guess it’s time to put up the HD antenna in the attic. Or are they going to encrypt those too??

    To be able to encrypt those, either:

    – You have to buy a specific TV, to receive the encrypted stream, or;

    – You have to buy a specific STB to decode it;

    I dont think any of this is something that can easily happen. :)

    #1906

    admin
    Keymaster

    I don’t know how that strategy would pan out here. I wouldn’t think the programs could be on need for this new technique to perform. Easy QAM decryption compared to addressable decoder per-channel loading are two very different factors.

    #1907

    admin
    Keymaster
    BenL, post: 0 wrote:
    Guess it’s time to put up the HD antenna in the attic. Or, are they going to try and encrypt terrestrial HD broadcast channels as well??

    Under current law they can’t encrypt the main programming channel on a broadcast station. I don’t see that ever changing, especially since it’s designed to be a free public service, but with the current (crony capitalist) FCC anythings possible.

    #1908

    admin
    Keymaster
    dkreichen1968, post: 2276 wrote:
    Under current law they can’t encrypt the main programming channel on a broadcast station. I don’t see that ever changing, especially since it’s designed to be a free public service, but with the current (crony capitalist) FCC anythings possible.

    That’s something I never looked into. You mentioned the primary channel. Does current regulation allow for encryption of subchannels? I never actually thought about that aspect. It makes me think about how that could be achieved. There isn’t any form of addressable broadcast box, is there?

    #1909

    admin
    Keymaster
    avaloncourt, post: 2278 wrote:
    Does current regulation allow for encryption of subchannels?

    Yes, and currently that includes “Dyle” mobile which requires internet authentication so they can keep track of what people watch and “Airbox” which appears to be a pay service carried by select ION stations. There have been others including one in L.A. that went out of business. Broadcasters are required to provide one 480i programming stream, but can use the rest of their 19.39 Mbps stream for anything else including data services and encrypted video.

    #1910

    admin
    Keymaster

    “Dyle” Mobile ?

    Is this Aereo ?

    #1911

    admin
    Keymaster
    #1912

    admin
    Keymaster

    I see.

    So you need a Dongle and RF coverage of course … :p

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