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another Comcast head-end goes digital

On 1/31/2010 8:57 PM, Tom Metro wrote:

>> ...I just want the basic channels, 1-26, unencrypted.
> So are you saying the entire town of Natick doesn't have unencrypted
> QAM, even for the FCC mandated over-the-air broadcast channels?

They're not required to provide it unencrypted. They can EITHER do so, 
or provide free cable boxes to all basic cable subscribers who ask for 
them. They still get to charge you for cable boxes that can access 
premium channels, on-demand services, and so forth, and being cable 
companies they won't make any great effort to make you aware of the 
lowest cost option. And yes it sucks for anybody who wants to use a DVR 
that isn't provided by the cable company, but they consider that a 
feature rather than a bug.

In the analog cable days the cable guys could block a house from 
receiving specific channels by using traps. That doesn't work with 
digital cable because many channels are mashed up together in one 
high-speed stream of bits. So the companies may prefer to encrypt 
everything (or everything other than local broadcast channels) so they 
have more control over who can receive what channels.

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