[mythtv-users] Can a pcHDTV record standard definition?

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Wed Dec 13 15:15:56 UTC 2006

On Dec 13, 2006, at 7:34 AM, brad at bradandkim.net wrote:

>> On Dec 12, 2006, at 8:34 PM, Brad Fuller wrote:
>>> In SF it requires only an analog subscription. I receive QAM256
>>> with my
>>> std. analog subscription. Here, there are quite a few unencrypted
>>> channels.
>>>>> The pcHDTV can also record OTA, which only requires OTA reception.
>>>>> You get to pick one.
>>>> It will only receive *unencrypted* QAM which, depending on your  
>>>> cable
>>>> system, might be anything from all digital signals to none of them.
>>>> In my case it is just a few digital video channels and a *lot*  
>>>> of the
>>>> digital music channels (with a video slate screen that changes only
>>>> when the song does).
>>>> Receiving unencrypted QAM signals without a subscription to Digital
>>>> Cable might be technically possible, but is probably illegal.
>>> Gee, I don't know about "illegal." Maybe without a subscription at
>>> all.
>> Hypothetically, if you could receive one or more channels via
>> unencrypted QAM that you could not get as analog channels, and you
>> had only an analog subscription, this might be considered "stealing"
>> by some.
>> You could of course argue that the cable operator should encrypt
>> anything they do not want you to receive, but cable operators pay
>> some program suppliers on a per-subscriber basis and if you are not
>> paying for digital cable the programmer would not be receiving
>> anything from you.
>> I don't know whether the simple act of modulating a signal via QAM
>> would be considered "protected" within the meaning of the DMCA or
>> not, but stranger interpretations have been made.
>> I'm certainly not an attorney (nor would I wish to be), but receiving
>> a channel you are not paying for would seem to me to be at least
>> morally wrong if not legally so.
>> All hypothetical, of course :-)
> Well, I do have a digital subscription so luckily I will not have to
> wrestle with any ethics   :)

I certainly didn't mean to imply that you were "stealing", only to  
point out the potential for problems.

Of course it gets even more complicated - is the extra money for  
digital for the channels involved, or is it only for the required  
STB ? What about somebody willing to pay for the extra channels but  
unwilling to pay for a STB they won't ever use that the cable  
operator insists on charging for anyway?

The channels that I could receive via unencrypted QAM are ones that I  
get via satellite anyway, so what would it matter where I actually  
got them from ?

One difference would be the commercials that are inserted are  
different, but thanks to Myth I never see those commercials anyway.

I guess these are the sort of questions that keep lawyers driving  
Mercedes Benz automobiles :-)

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