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Cable Ready TVs Now Obsolete?
Old 04-05-2014, 10:13 AM   #1
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Cable Ready TVs Now Obsolete?

In the last 2 years, I've bought a couple of very nice LED HDTVs to use in spare bedrooms. The TVs were Cable Ready so that I could just attach coax to the cable outlet to received the local channels in HD via QAM. Starting this month my cable company, BHN, is starting to encrypt all channels following the lead of Comcast, TWC, and other cable companies that started doing this last year after a rule change by FCC. As a result, customers are required to have a Digital Tuning Adapter (a decrypter) connected between the outlet and the TV to receive programming. With this adapter, the Cable Ready feature of the TVs is now useless. I'm thinking that fairly soon, TV manufacturers will cease selling TVs that are "Cable Ready" as cable companies will no longer provide an unencrypted signal compatible with this feature. I know my plan from here on out is to just buy really good monitors with no tuner whatsoever. Feels like 1980s all over again.

[Dont get me started on the fact that I now need 2 remotes to operate the TVs, and that after a year BHN will start changing an additional fee for each of the DTAs.]
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:10 AM   #2
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The real answer to this is to reduce the price of the panels by producing them without tuners - period. Whenever you embed two different devices together in a single unit, you're invariably going to risk waste.

The CableCARD standard didn't foresee SDV, and the new standard, AllVid is moving so slowly that we can expect it to be similarly obsolete before it too reaches the point where it would be a viable technology to consider including in consumer products.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:42 AM   #3
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I was under the impression that any local OTA channels must still be sent un-encrypted. This might not be a factor for you.

One more reason to drop cable.

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Old 04-06-2014, 09:49 AM   #4
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I think what will kill cable ready sets is the lack of HD. OTA ready will replace it.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I was under the impression that any local OTA channels must still be sent un-encrypted. This might not be a factor for you.

One more reason to drop cable.

-ERD50
Comcast in SW PA has scrambled all channels shortly after new years, including the Local OTAs. Hence I got a long range high gain Yagi antenna for OTA that DW insists on watching in HD. Dancing shows.

By the way I am really annoyed by the Comcast box having to be always on, the small one we have makes a good bit of heat, I have looked the larger ones of Comcast which handles HD and has recording feature, they seem like a good replacement for a baseboard heater.
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Old 04-06-2014, 02:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I was under the impression that any local OTA channels must still be sent un-encrypted.
MSOs can petition to encrypt even the local OTA channels in municipalities where there is substantial competition for subscription television service in the municipality. The commission has held that substantial competition includes the availability of local channel service from either Dish Network or DirectTV. (Of course, a second terrestrial subscription television service would also qualify.)
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:35 PM   #7
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Comcast started encrypting everything here about a year ago, also making my cable ready sets no longer so. This is what happens when a cable lobbyist is put in charge of the FCC. I'm sure he will thoroughly scrutinize the Comcast-TWC merger. (Ha!)
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:10 AM   #8
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Cable-ready is obsolete with Verizon FIOS, as the feed from the outdoor-mounted ONT (Optical Network Terminal) to the Verizon-supplied router and set top boxes is via the MOCA interface using satellite-grade coax at ~850 MHz. So there is no TV-compatible interface other than the RF (Antenna) output from the boxes, or the composite audio/video outputs, etc.

So I have a set top full feature box feeding the TV, and a lower-cost Digital Adapter box feeding my, ahem, analog moving-media recorder/player

Having used the Kill-O-Watt on both boxes, I found that each consumes the same amount of power whether "ON", or "OFF". So turning them "OFF" via the remote is just a feel-good exercise for the user.
Truly turning them OFF by killing their AC power feed is not a good idea, as on power-up, they have to come alive, check themselves all out, contact the mother ship for verification using a secret Masonic digital handshake, then have their intelligence downloaded, and on and on, which takes time. Eventually, you will get a picture. Unless it fails, then you try again.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:10 AM   #9
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Comcast started encrypting everything here about a year ago, also making my cable ready sets no longer so. This is what happens when a cable lobbyist is put in charge of the FCC. I'm sure he will thoroughly scrutinize the Comcast-TWC merger. (Ha!)
Actually, most of those changes were made under the administration of FCC commissioner Michael Powell. His background was at DoJ, not as a cable lobbyist.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:25 AM   #10
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Actually, most of those changes were made under the administration of FCC commissioner Michael Powell. His background was at DoJ, not as a cable lobbyist.
True, but wasn't the end result essentially the same?

NCTA Names Powell President | Multichannel
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:32 AM   #11
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If Michael Copps (for example) led the FCC through those years that Powell was chair, the end result would likely have been different.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:44 AM   #12
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Let's get back on topic so the thread can continue.

Cable ready has never been an option interesting to the cable companies. Their business model is focused not only on subscription but also customers buying on-demand programming, such as live sports events or concerts. That requires a set top box that can handle two way transmission. The STB is really a problem for many users because it doesn't fit where may sets are located.
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