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  1. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Central Illinois
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    The FCC adopted new rules to insure that all Cable Customers continue to receive Local TV stations after the analog broadcast cut-off date, according to a Press release dated September 11, 2007.

    "By statute, cable operators must make local broadcasters’ primary video and program-related material viewable by all of their subscribers. The FCC’s ruling today allows cable operators to comply with the viewability requirement by choosing to either: (1)*carry the digital signal in analog format, or (2)*carry the signal only in digital format, provided that all subscribers have the necessary equipment to view the broadcast content. The viewability requirements extend to February 2012 with the Commission committing to review them during the last year of this period in light of the state of technology and the marketplace."

    I think this paragraph only applies to "Must Carry Local Stations", but the press release doesn't use that term. And I do not have a clue as to which of our local Stations are "Must Carry".

    No mention of the importance off the non-broadcast analog cable channels, but I suspect all but the largest cable companys serving big cities would see a huge number of subscription cancellations if they went to all digital service prior to or on the analog broadcast cut-off date.

    ALSO,

    "While the item provides cable operators with flexibility, the FCC reaffirmed the requirement that cable systems must carry high definition (“HD”) broadcast signals in HD format and reaffirmed its current material degradation standard. Cable operators must carry broadcast signals so that the picture quality is at least as good as the quality of any other programming carried on the system."

    "At least as good as the quality of any other programming carried on the System" is the standard that did and does apply to the analog broadcast channels carried on cable. In all my travels, I have never watched TV on a cable system were the broadcast channels were as good as the cable channels, but they were always good enough for me. If you can't use an antenna and actually like that Network crap well enough to buy an HDTV to watch it, you may not be happy on cable.




    "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
    September 11, 2007 Mary Diamond 202-418-2388
    Email: mary.diamond@fcc.gov

    FCC Adopts Rules to Ensure all Cable Customers
    Receive Local TV Stations After the Digital Television Transition

    Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) today adopted rules to ensure all cable subscribers, including those with analog TV sets, can view broadcast television after the transition to digital television occurs on February 17, 2009. Approximately 35 percent of all television homes, or approximately 40 million households, are analog-only cable subscribers. The Commission is committed to ensuring that the 98 million TV viewers watching roughly 120 million sets retain the same access to their local stations after the transition as they do today.

    By statute, cable operators must make local broadcasters’ primary video and program-related material viewable by all of their subscribers. The FCC’s ruling today allows cable operators to comply with the viewability requirement by choosing to either: (1)*carry the digital signal in analog format, or (2)*carry the signal only in digital format, provided that all subscribers have the necessary equipment to view the broadcast content. The viewability requirements extend to February 2012 with the Commission committing to review them during the last year of this period in light of the state of technology and the marketplace.

    In addition, a cable system with activated channel capacity of 552 megahertz or less may request a waiver of the viewability requirements. The Commission is also seeking comment in a Further Notice on ways to minimize any economic impact on small cable operators while still complying with the statutory requirements for carriage of local TV stations.

    While the item provides cable operators with flexibility, the FCC reaffirmed the requirement that cable systems must carry high definition (“HD”) broadcast signals in HD format and reaffirmed its current material degradation standard. Cable operators must carry broadcast signals so that the picture quality is at least as good as the quality of any other programming carried on the system.

    Action by the Commission September 11, 2007 by Memorandum, Opinion and Order
    (FCC 07-170). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Tate and McDowell with Commissioner Adelstein approving in part and dissenting in part. Separate statements issued by Chairman Martin Commissioners Copps, Adelsetin, Tate and McDowell

    Media Bureau Staff Contact: Eloise Gore, eloise.gore@fcc.gov or Lyle Elder, lyle.elder@fcc.gov, 202-418-7200."


    http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-276576A1.pdf
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  2. Member Marvingj's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
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    Money still rules this country. Who else can they buy off.........
    http://www.absolutevisionvideo.com

    BLUE SKY, BLACK DEATH!!
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  3. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Here is my take.

    "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
    September 11, 2007 Mary Diamond 202-418-2388
    Email: mary.diamond@fcc.gov

    FCC Adopts Rules to Ensure all Cable Customers
    Receive Local TV Stations After the Digital Television Transition

    Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) today adopted rules to ensure all cable subscribers, including those with analog TV sets, can view broadcast television after the transition to digital television occurs on February 17, 2009. Approximately 35 percent of all television homes, or approximately 40 million households, are analog-only cable subscribers. The Commission is committed to ensuring that the 98 million TV viewers watching roughly 120 million sets retain the same access to their local stations after the transition as they do today.

    By statute, cable operators must make local broadcasters’ primary video and program-related material viewable by all of their subscribers. The FCC’s ruling today allows cable operators to comply with the viewability requirement by choosing to either: (1) carry the digital signal in analog format, or (2) carry the signal only in digital format, provided that all subscribers have the necessary equipment to view the broadcast content. The viewability requirements extend to February 2012 with the Commission committing to review them during the last year of this period in light of the state of technology and the marketplace.
    The way I interpret this is for current cable customers that have analog only service (i.e. basic or basic + extended basic usually ch2-99), the local primary digital broadcast channels must be made available as an analog NTSC conversion or if only offered in digital format, a cable box must be provided presumably without charge.

    I think this must only apply to the current "must carry" local stations since they said nothing the would change that.

    The background issue here is many cable systems want to transition "extended basic" stations to digital in order to offer more SD and HD cable digital (MPeg2) content. That means "extended basic" customers will lose some analog channels or need to rent a cable box to maintain their current channels. The FCC is saying here that this policy can't be extended to "basic" service unless a cable box is offered at no charge. FYI, removal of one 6MHz analog channel frees space for 6-10 additional cable digital SD channels or 1-2 HD channels.

    Then they say the policy will be reviewed in 2012.


    In addition, a cable system with activated channel capacity of 552 megahertz or less may request a waiver of the viewability requirements. The Commission is also seeking comment in a Further Notice on ways to minimize any economic impact on small cable operators while still complying with the statutory requirements for carriage of local TV stations.
    This is less clear to me. "A cable system with activated channel capacity of 552 megahertz or less" means a 1980's level old system that has little space to carry additional digital content without subtracting analog content. They have little room for HD channels or free QAM digital versions of local channels. You could interpret "waiver" to mean

    - not offer analog versions of "must carry" local digital channels?
    - allow cable company to charge basic customers rent for cable boxes if the system goes all digital?
    - remove requirement for free QAM digital version of the primary local channels?


    While the item provides cable operators with flexibility, the FCC reaffirmed the requirement that cable systems must carry high definition (“HD”) broadcast signals in HD format and reaffirmed its current material degradation standard. Cable operators must carry broadcast signals so that the picture quality is at least as good as the quality of any other programming carried on the system.
    This seems to mean the FCC requires the free QAM digital version of the local primary channels have SD and HD bitrates equal to premium SD and HD channels. For example ABC HD sports must look as good on basic "free QAM" as ESPN HD looks in the HD tier package. Or CSI on CBS in 1080i must look as good as Sopranos on HBO HD. Or local QVC HD must look as good as Cinemax HD.

    The huge issue here for cable companies is the bandwidth needed for "must carry" channels if they are required to carry all the local stations in HD if offered and with an analog conversion on a separate channel. In major cities that can mean considerable bandwidth going to the locals. I'm sure the cable companies would like to limit local stations like QVC, ION, Azteca and PAX to SD. If satellite had a similar requirement for locals in HD, there would be no room for national HD channels on the bird.
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    The FCC adopted new rules to insure that all Cable Customers continue to receive Local TV stations after the analog broadcast cut-off date, according to a Press release dated September 11, 2007.

    "By statute, cable operators must make local broadcasters’ primary video and program-related material viewable by all of their subscribers. The FCC’s ruling today allows cable operators to comply with the viewability requirement by choosing to either: (1)*carry the digital signal in analog format, or (2)*carry the signal only in digital format, provided that all subscribers have the necessary equipment to view the broadcast content. The viewability requirements extend to February 2012 with the Commission committing to review them during the last year of this period in light of the state of technology and the marketplace."

    I think this paragraph only applies to "Must Carry Local Stations", but the press release doesn't use that term. And I do not have a clue as to which of our local Stations are "Must Carry".

    No mention of the importance off the non-broadcast analog cable channels, but I suspect all but the largest cable companys serving big cities would see a huge number of subscription cancellations if they went to all digital service prior to or on the analog broadcast cut-off date.
    This seems to apply only to "must carry" stations which is potentially disruptive. Local stations can opt to deal with the cable company under must-carry or retransmission consent. Most major stations operate under retransmission consent and to my knowledge no "must carry" local stations are currently being offered in HD.
    See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Must-carry
    http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/M/htmlM/mustcarryru/mustcarryru.htm

    If cable companies are required to make an analog conversion and HD digital bandwidth available, that may swamp HD choice in larger cities that might have a dozen or more "must carry" stations including foreign language (many languages), religious, shopping and 24x7 infomercial stations. If this is true, these stations may get HD priority over the major retransmission consent stations. Together they could add up to 20+ locals in HD limiting cable HD expansion. I'm certain QVC shopping network will be first in line with 24x7 HD programming.

    I think the non-broadcast analog channels are free from gov't control and fall under the rules of supply and demand.
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  5. The FCC adopted new rules to insure that all Cable Customers
    To ensure blah blah
    insure is from an insurance policy
    ensure means to make happen
    Pedantic I know. But if it wasnt for pedants birthdays would be terrible.
    No no if it wasnt for pedants the fields would go untilled.
    Corned beef is now made to a higher standard than at any time in history.
    The electronic components of the power part adopted a lot of Rubycons.
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  6. Member ebenton's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2003
    Location: The WINDY state (Florida)
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    ... to my knowledge no "must carry" local stations are currently being offered in HD.
    My local cable company here in Florida (Bright House) carries the HD broadcast of all local channels that are broadcasting in HD (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc.). I presume that these fall under the FCC "must carry" rules.

    Regarding the proliferation of HD channels and the subsequent decrease in available bandwidth: I have owned an HD TV since December of 2004 and have had HD cable service since then, and the local cable company has expanded their HD channel selection by about 2 channels since then. I have access to about 18 HD channels from the cable company. I know that there are more than that available. Perhaps there are bandwidth problems, even though we do have a fiber optics cable system, or perhaps there is not enough perceived demand for extra channels. But to still have approximately the same number of HD channels available after 3 years...
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by ebenton
    Originally Posted by edDV
    ... to my knowledge no "must carry" local stations are currently being offered in HD.
    My local cable company here in Florida (Bright House) carries the HD broadcast of all local channels that are broadcasting in HD (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc.). I presume that these fall under the FCC "must carry" rules.

    Regarding the proliferation of HD channels and the subsequent decrease in available bandwidth: I have owned an HD TV since December of 2004 and have had HD cable service since then, and the local cable company has expanded their HD channel selection by about 2 channels since then. I have access to about 18 HD channels from the cable company. I know that there are more than that available. Perhaps there are bandwidth problems, even though we do have a fiber optics cable system, or perhaps there is not enough perceived demand for extra channels. But to still have approximately the same number of HD channels available after 3 years...
    ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS would fall under "retransmission consent" rather than "must carry". If I'm reading the FCC statement correctly, "must carry" locals like foreign language, religious and home shopping channels are required to be carried in HD if they broadcast locally in HD. That means they take priority over additional ""retransmission consent" locals like CW and additional national cable HD channels. Beyond that, analog conversions of the "must carry" HD broadcast must also be provided until 2012.

    If I'm reading this correctly, stations like Univision, Russian Network*, Home Shopping Network and religious broadcast channels are required to be carried in HD if they broadcast locally in HD unless the cable infrastructure is under 552MHz.

    * Yes here in California we have local UHF stations that broadcast primarily in Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish most of the day plus 24x7 home shopping and infomercial channels. These stations are lowest in ratings but now first in priority for HD on cable.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Central Illinois
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    The new rules address two issues and seem to have different meanings even to the FCC board members...read the comments made by each one.

    Those of you with an HDTV naturally don't care about the 60% of cable subscribers who are analog only. You folks are well aware of how the broadcast analog shut-off can throw a monkey wrench into the systems and operations of the cable providers. More HD for you and the sooner SD is gone, the sooner you will get it.

    But a huge majority of the aforesaid 60% don't have a clue that trouble is brewing. And many of them who I know are sick of the ads and self promotion which consume 18 to 20 minutes of every program hour on the basic or extended basic cable channels. AMC has done pretty well holding the line on ad time, and it, the History Channel and the Weather Channel are the only non-sports, non-news channels that I can stand to watch live. Only sports I follow is MLB and Rodeo, so most of my sports channels are never used. AMC isn't what it used to be 8 or 9 years ago when TMC was included in our Basic+, 40 channel, $30/month cable plan. TMC was jerked out to anchor our then new digital cable package which consited of 11 channels (4 being simulcast) at a cost of $10/month plus $5/month converter box rental for each TV. If TMC were available as a premiem anolog channel at the same cost as HBO, I would have been and still would be a subscriber. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the importance of the installed base of millions of analog cable ready TVs and devices to the analog only cable customers.

    So now I have 98 analog channels (less a handfull of scrambled analog premiem channels), 12 of which are OTA re-broadcast network and local channels that I haven't watched in almost 10 years. As I said before, almost all of the other analog channels churn out hours upon hours of commercials, which are interrupted by pieces of program material that are cut and chopped to fill in the gaps......has to be something there, or ads have little value. I sure miss the days when cable channels had less advertising then network TV and had something different and of value to add to the equation.

    I will never stick with cable if it goes all digital any time soon. If I must have a box at every TV and lose the recording freedom and utility I now enjoy, It's either hello sat. TV, or goodbye TV.

    I'm a bit puzzled that the HDTV fans just want more HD. What about the content itself? What about the Ads? Do you really want 100 HD channels of the same "ad supported" crap we have now? If I pay more for TV, there can be no ads, at least not more than 10 minutes per hour. How about recording HDTV? Sure you can use the Cable Co's DVR, but what happens when they disable fast-forward? They will once you're hooked. With the vertical and horizontal integration that exist in todays mass media, communications, entertainment and electronics industries, there are no market forces that could produce a different result. The billions of dollars they control will easily buy all the political protection they need.

    As the man once said, "The future aint what it used to be"
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  9. Member yoda313's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2004
    Location: The Animus
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    TMC was included in our Basic+, 40 channel, $30/month cable plan. TMC was jerked out to anchor our then new digital cable package which consited of 11 channels (4 being simulcast) at a cost of $10/month plus $5/month converter box rental for each TV. If TMC were available as a premiem anolog channel at the same cost as HBO, I would have been and still would be a subscriber
    That's odd. I have comcast and get tmc on the basic package. I think its termed basic plus with g4 and a few others not on basic but its on the analog format. What's more I don't even have a box.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Central Illinois
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    Originally Posted by yoda313
    TMC was included in our Basic+, 40 channel, $30/month cable plan. TMC was jerked out to anchor our then new digital cable package which consited of 11 channels (4 being simulcast) at a cost of $10/month plus $5/month converter box rental for each TV. If TMC were available as a premiem anolog channel at the same cost as HBO, I would have been and still would be a subscriber
    That's odd. I have comcast and get tmc on the basic package. I think its termed basic plus with g4 and a few others not on basic but its on the analog format. What's more I don't even have a box.
    Here in West Central Illinois (Cass Cable TV), basic is and always has been WGN out of Chicago plus the re-broadcast Network and Local Channels. If that is all there was, I would have dropped cable years ago. I think they call the next step up "Broadvision". I'll post a link in case the details matter. TCM is on the basic digital package, which I think totals 35 to 38 channels now. It and RFD would be the only digital channels I would ever watch. Basic digital with DVR for recording would raise by monthly bill (now $45) to $70. That's a big increase for 2 channels that can only be watched from one TV!

    TCM is part of DirecTV's basic package.

    http://www.casscomm.com/new/main.html
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Here Comcast "limited basic" includes 21 analog channels including the "retransmission consent" and "must carry" local broadcast stations.

    Today those stations are also available as free QAM digital in standard definition with the following subchannels also available as free QAM digital and not as analog. These subchannels are all from "retransmission consent" stations.

    ABC weather
    NBC weather
    Fox "The Tube"
    PBS second local
    PBS Vme (spanish)

    also on free QAM
    A low power multi language station "Global Television"
    CSpan 1
    CSpan 2

    The ABC, CBS, FOX, My, NBC and PBS stations are also available in HD over free QAM when broadcasting in HD.


    An additional 38 analog channels (all national) are available as extended basic. The QAM digital versions of these channels are encrypted. TCM is one of these extended basic channels.

    All of these stations can be received without a cable box if the TV has a QAM capable tuner. The extended basic channels require an extra cost subscription.

    The FCC control only extends to the local TV stations in the "limited basic" tier. The ruling says that only the primary digital channel must be carried but if that channel is broadcast in HD, the cable company must offer it over free QAM in quality equal to their best HD channel.
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  12. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2002
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    I have charter here in Michigan. It sounds like I have about the same set up as edDV, except I believe only the "retransmission consent" stations are offered on unencrypted QAM. We also get the 50 or so Music Choice stations.

    I have a QAM tuner on my TV, and the digital stations have been the only reason I have kept basic cable at all (I live in an apartment without good OTA reception).

    What I find interesting about this new ruling is that the FCC is mandating that Cable companies still offer programming to the analog only customers after the OTA broadcasts have gone all digital. Why should these customers be "protected" longer than the OTA consumers?

    I know it's inconvenient to switch to digital at all, and I might have a different position if I hadn't bought a new TV with the digital tuner a few months ago. Still, everything else is going digital; to make the cable companies accommodate analog only customers longer will only give the cable companies an excuse to raise rates for everyone.
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  13. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Central Illinois
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    The FCC control only extends to the local TV stations in the "limited basic" tier. The ruling says that only the primary digital channel must be carried but if that channel is broadcast in HD, the cable company must offer it over free QAM in quality equal to their best HD channel.
    Our cable system added ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox HD in January of this year. This was announced perhaps 3 months in advance, by a flyer included with the monthly bills and via their website. Both indicated that these HD channels were included as part of the basic digital package. If these network HD channels are available on unencrypted QAM, Cass Cable TV is keeping a lid on it. Go to their website, click on Cable TV, then HDTV. Makes no difference to me, and I doubt if it matters to 95% of their subscribers.

    The FCC speaks of Broadcast stations available to every cable subscriber, uses non-government generated figures to determine the market area "served" by said stations (it's not even based on signal coverage anymore), and then doesn't even ask for or keep a list of the must carry or consent to carry stations. It's my understanding that another Fed agency has made grant money available to help the small, non-network locals transition to digital; if they had money for HD the FCC would not know it. So unless someone files a complaint, the FCC knows nothing about what is actually happening on Cable anywhere.
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  14. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV
    The FCC control only extends to the local TV stations in the "limited basic" tier. The ruling says that only the primary digital channel must be carried but if that channel is broadcast in HD, the cable company must offer it over free QAM in quality equal to their best HD channel.
    Our cable system added ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox HD in January of this year. This was announced perhaps 3 months in advance, by a flyer included with the monthly bills and via their website. Both indicated that these HD channels were included as part of the basic digital package. If these network HD channels are available on unencrypted QAM, Cass Cable TV is keeping a lid on it. Go to their website, click on Cable TV, then HDTV. Makes no difference to me, and I doubt if it matters to 95% of their subscribers.

    The FCC speaks of Broadcast stations available to every cable subscriber, uses non-government generated figures to determine the market area "served" by said stations (it's not even based on signal coverage anymore), and then doesn't even ask for or keep a list of the must carry or consent to carry stations. It's my understanding that another Fed agency has made grant money available to help the small, non-network locals transition to digital; if they had money for HD the FCC would not know it. So unless someone files a complaint, the FCC knows nothing about what is actually happening on Cable anywhere.
    The FCC "knows" which stations are in the "must carry" vs "consent" class because there are mountains of documents and lawyers envolved. For "must carry" the station must deliver a signal to the cable company and file with the FCC and the cable company for a "must carry" status. Essentially the FCC is demanding the cable company make analog and QAM digital channels available.

    I'm wondering about the potential for abuse. Informercial or home shopping networks can buy up these stations and get a free HD position on cable without sharing revenue with the cable company but more importantly taking a HD channel slot away that could be filled with more popular programming. The end result of this and demands for more HD channels by HD tier customers will cause those 38 extended basic analog channels to disappear to digital a few at a time until there are no more. Going to satellite doesn't help because they require a more expensive set top box on each TV than does cable.
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  15. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Donny661

    ...

    What I find interesting about this new ruling is that the FCC is mandating that Cable companies still offer programming to the analog only customers after the OTA broadcasts have gone all digital. Why should these customers be "protected" longer than the OTA consumers?
    I tend to agree but the FCC are following the wishes of Congress. The Telecommunications Act of '96 mandated that cable companies may not use the broadcast conversion to digital as an excuse to require a cable box rental or raise fees to analog customers that don't currently have a cable box. This only applies to the broadcast channels not extended analog cable services.

    The cable operators can make set top boxes available to these customers without charge if the cable company chooses to go all digital.
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  16. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Central Illinois
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    Originally Posted by edDV

    The FCC "knows" which stations are in the "must carry" vs "consent" class because there are mountains of documents and lawyers envolved. For "must carry" the station must deliver a signal to the cable company and file with the FCC and the cable company for a "must carry" status.
    Yes there are mountains of lawyers envolved with consent to carry agreemnets, but all terms, conditions and documentation thereof are private and none of the FCC's business. Must carry stations may very well file documents with the FCC, but try getting a list of the "Consent to Carry" and "Must Carry" stations from either the FCC or your cable provider.

    Originally Posted by edDV

    Going to satellite doesn't help because they require a more expensive set top box on each TV than does cable.
    Well that depends on were you live. In this area, both sat TV providers will set you up with all the channels I now have and more (including TMC) and DVR's for three rooms. All for less than I would have to pay for digital cable with DVR for one room.

    This part of the Illinois is the land of farms and small towns.......I mean small towns. Do a google Search on Ashland, Chandlerville, Virginia, Beardstown (that's the big one). I bet less than 5% percent of cable subscribers have digital service. I do not know one person who does. And I suppose you know how the word gets around small towns. Analog cable will be here longer than you can imagine.
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  17. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV

    The FCC "knows" which stations are in the "must carry" vs "consent" class because there are mountains of documents and lawyers envolved. For "must carry" the station must deliver a signal to the cable company and file with the FCC and the cable company for a "must carry" status.
    Yes there are mountains of lawyers envolved with consent to carry agreemnets, but all terms, conditions and documentation thereof are private and none of the FCC's business. Must carry stations may very well file documents with the FCC, but try getting a list of the "Consent to Carry" and "Must Carry" stations from either the FCC or your cable provider.

    Originally Posted by edDV

    Going to satellite doesn't help because they require a more expensive set top box on each TV than does cable.
    Well that depends on were you live. In this area, both sat TV providers will set you up with all the channels I now have and more (including TMC) and DVR's for three rooms. All for less than I would have to pay for digital cable with DVR for one room.

    This part of the Illinois is the land of farms and small towns.......I mean small towns. Do a google Search on Ashland, Chandlerville, Virginia, Beardstown (that's the big one). I bet less than 5% percent of cable subscribers have digital service. I do not know one person who does. And I suppose you know how the word gets around small towns. Analog cable will be here longer than you can imagine.
    I think the TV station will tell you if you ask. Worth a try. In most cases major network stations opt for retransmission consent agreements where smaller independents go "must carry".

    I was assuming an all analog customer when I said more expensive for satellite. Once you get into DVR and digital tuners they become similar or the balance tips to satellite.
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  18. Member edDV's Avatar
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    In your area, many of the small local cable systems are probably at or under that 552MHz size where they are exempt or can request waivers.

    I ran Ashland in www.antennaweb.org and got this list for over the air candidates. Each of these stations will go 100% digital Feb, 17, 2009. They are probably operating digital at minimum power now. On that day they go to full power.

    If the local cable can get a waiver, all they need to provide is an SD analog conversion of the primary digital channel. If the system is more modern, they will need to provide a digital free QAM version and HD if they offer other HD on the system.

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