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Cable subscribers are about to get a sneaky fee
NBC News Business ^ | December 9, 2012 | Herb Weisbaum

Posted on 12/09/2012 8:58:35 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

If you have cable TV service, you probably have at least one set-top box in your house. On Monday, a federal rule change takes effect that could eventually force you to rent more cable boxes.

Right now, most cable systems don’t scramble the “basic tier” service which includes local broadcast stations, public, government and education channels, as well as some non-premium programming. Buy basic service and you can plug the cable into a digital set that has a QAM tuner and see these unencrypted channels without a set-top box.

Cable companies want to scramble everything coming through their wire, including basic service. They say this will allow them to reduce theft – prevent people from watching programs they didn’t pay for – and improve customer service.

Their plan is to keep every cable household connected to the network and then activate or terminate service remotely, rather than sending out the cable guy. They say this will improve efficiency – technicians can focus on more difficult installations – and reduce the need for customers to stay at home waiting for service...

(Excerpt) Read more at nbcnews.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: cable; cabletelevision; television; tv

1 posted on 12/09/2012 8:58:49 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

‘Federal rule’ equates to a TAX, not a fee.


2 posted on 12/09/2012 9:03:19 PM PST by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America (IMPEACH OBAMA)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nothing like finishing off an already dying industry — and its self-administered. I’m all for euthanasia for the cable companies.


3 posted on 12/09/2012 9:29:37 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
We always hated the boxes but Comcast forced us to get them a couple of years ago. We finally went with Direct TV as we figured if we must have boxes might as well get ones of our choosing.

One thing Comcast doesn't tell people is that most older universal remotes may not work with the Comcast boxes, especially the smaller DTAs. Remote has to use the newer IR XMP protocol. I still see plenty of universal remotes on store shelves that don't use XMP and would be worthless with Comcast.

4 posted on 12/09/2012 9:35:03 PM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (Liberals make unrealistic demands on reality and reality doesn't oblige them.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’ve stuck to cable (over satellite) for years, despite better prices with satellite, because (1) my wife’s job requires fast UPload speeds, and (2) only cable, not satellite, has fast UPload. (Satellite has fast DOWNload but only 56k telephone-speed UPloads.)

But this?

If you force me to have set-top boxes (rented by the month, expensive) for cable? I’ll switch in an instant.


5 posted on 12/09/2012 9:45:14 PM PST by pogo101
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Comcast will give you the first 2 DTAs for free. As others have pointed out they are about worthless.

My current cable company (mid Continent) only scrambles some of the channels. We really only have one TV that I watch and they gave me the DVR box for free for 2 years.

I’ve been looking at the ceton cards. They support 4 channels at the same time and use cable cards. I suspect you will see more cable card ready TV’s. the card is kinda like the card you use in a direct TV box but a cable card is about the size of a pack of playing cards. It has the actual tuner(s) in it.


6 posted on 12/09/2012 9:55:40 PM PST by cableguymn (The founding fathers would be shooting by now..)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Many companies were requiring you to get a box anyways. Chennels were being black out and required a box on the standard Tier service. However, cable cards and a adapter can be used. The adapter will only get you the extra channels on the standard service. But Cable Card ready tvs can get all the channels in a bare-bones way. After some recent changes on Time warner in Kansas city, I am not able to get some QAM feeds as they change location. This is why I got a cable box to get the channels and the feeds being blacked out and I got a few more channels added in.


7 posted on 12/09/2012 11:26:45 PM PST by Mozilla
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult

Main problem with my HD box is the ability for it to fall asleep and turn off the feed even if you don’t want it off. Since I don’t have a cable DVR I record tv through the computer. Well If I don’t set up the box to change channels and program it then it will fall sleep if I leave the house for hours. I have messed with the settings over and over again. I hit deactivate button and it still does it so only option is to call the operator and see if they can undo it. The box also reboots from time to time to get updated and takes 20 to 25 minutes to reload. Usually anytime between 9pm to 6am at random and once or twice a month.


8 posted on 12/09/2012 11:37:19 PM PST by Mozilla
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m lucky, my small-time cable provider will give you up to two free CABLECARDs, which allow my PC-based media center to tune encrypted content. I think it saves me $20+/month by not having cable boxes and DVRs.


9 posted on 12/10/2012 1:50:19 AM PST by UncleHambone ("Laughter is America's most important export." - Walt Disney)
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To: cableguymn
I have the Ceton 4 channel internal, and I am loving it. The only problems I have are with an analog/QAM tuner in the same box that gets confused whenever the cable company moves channels around.

I am looking at the Ceton Echo that was just released so I can stream content and access the tuners on the TV in the bedroom.

10 posted on 12/10/2012 1:57:40 AM PST by UncleHambone ("Laughter is America's most important export." - Walt Disney)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Its just the cable companies looking at electric companies with envy over their smart meter labor savings. If you are a cable guy (or gal), look for a workforce contraction in your future.


11 posted on 12/10/2012 3:08:28 AM PST by NonValueAdded (If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you've likely misread the situation.)
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To: pogo101

No doubt the boxes will be required and they will charge as soon as they can. The cost per box will also increase every year. Customer service will continue to decline.

Last month Time Warner in my area started charging a $5.00 per month rental fee on the cable modem it previously supplied with my Internet service. Of course I can purchase my own modem and avoid the fee but ever time the service slows down or drops they will blame my owned modem for the problem. Given the constant problems with the service, I’ll just pay the rental so when I call about a service issue they won’t use my modem as an excuse. My phone company doesn’t offer DSL in my neighborhood, even though they call frequently offering a DSL package, so I have no competitive alternative to cable for Internet service.

It seems every business today is constantly looking for ways to charge more and deliver less. We are at the beginning of an inflationary cycle when businesses are reluctant to just raise prices as costs go up so they use extra fees, diminished service, lower quality, and smaller serving sizes to avoid raising posted prices. I predict with the coming tax increases small business will have no choice but to start raising prices to reflect rising costs. We’ll be quickly back to the late 70’s and early 80’s when companies raised prices 10% every 6 months. No doubt the government will continue reporting 2.5% annual inflation. With the weak economy, employers will be able to hold wage increases down, further squeezing the middle class.


12 posted on 12/10/2012 3:33:17 AM PST by Soul of the South
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If you support Comcast, you also support MSNBC.

Just saying.


13 posted on 12/10/2012 3:39:05 AM PST by Fresh Wind
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