[mythtv-users] Comcast to drop analog cable

Joe Votour vulturej at vulturesnest.net
Sun Jun 15 15:22:42 UTC 2008

Quoting Tom Dexter <digitalaudiorock at gmail.com>:


> Correct me if I'm wrong (I actually am using only OTA), but isn't the
> big question what stations they decide to encrypt?  Just switching
> from analog to digital stations shouldn't be an issue for stations
> they broadcast in clear QAM.
> Given the cable companies track record though, I'm not sure I'd expect
> too much unencrypted content.
> Tom
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> mythtv-users at mythtv.org
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It has more to do with encryption.

They want the set-top box in every home for control - and not  
necessarily in the "evil" way.  Forcing you to watch commercials is  
every advertisers' wet dream, but the cable operators don't  
necessarily care so much - as long as they play the commercial at the  
correct time, and it comes out cleanly (i.e. not chopped off), they  
get their money.

Originally the FCC digital mandate was to ensure that TV stations  
would provide more HD content - not just send out digital versions of  
the SD content that they currently do.  Once those stations actually  
send out an HD signal, that will be 10+Mbps per channel.  That will be  
a huge strain on the existing QAM infrastructure, especially since  
they send out more channels than in ATSC.

So, they'll save by packing six analog channels into one QAM256  
channel, but the  locals in HD will hurt, since the FCC says that they  
must be carried.

Switched Digital Video to the rescue!

If the customer has a set-top box in their home, then this is what can happen:
1. Only channels that are being watched will have to be sent out over  
QAM.  If you want your GEMS-TV, you can have it, but 90% of the time,  
it won't be sent out
2. For things that might be sent out via constant broadcast (locals,  
maybe?), they an change the frequency and PIDs, and then just send a  
message to the set-top box.  When you change to that channel, it's  
just there, unlike the current setup of ClearQAM, where the cable  
company may have moved it around over night, and your recording failed.

The only option may be multiple STBs connected to analog capture  
cards, which will give you the old analogs, for HD, use a PVR-1212.   
I'm hoping that there will eventually come an open standard like DVB-C  
CI, but even in the face of a working standard, the cable industry  
still played a NIH and went with CableCard.

I have no problem with renting a CableCard-like device, but it has to  
work 100% reliably (CableCard has it's huge share of problems), and I  
want to be able use four of them simultaneously, and most importantly,  
it has to be an open standard so that it works with my software of  

-- Joe

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