[mythtv-users] CableCard Chain.

Simon Hobson linux at thehobsons.co.uk
Wed Jul 25 07:23:04 UTC 2012

Chuck Peters wrote:

>I am trying to get a better understanding of why 
>after running mythtv since 1996 and being forced 
>by our local cable company to convert to 
>digital, they will force me to pay for channels 
>I can't watch, and upgrading to their so called 
>"Digital Basic" they will allow me to watch 2 of 
>48 channels.  The lowest tier of this digital 
>transition "Expanded Basic" has 26 channels set 
>so we can't watch them.  We are getting screwed.

You forget a couple of key points :

First, and most important, too many people really 
can't see why this is a problem. The same people 
buy and i<thing> and buy into "St Steve's" claim 
that it's all for their protection and security; 
same goes for the slightly less closed Android 
platform. The same people who buy DRM infested 
ebooks, and closed DRM infested devices like 
Because so many people are prepared to buy these, 
then the manufacturers will sell them in that 
state. Put simply, the number of people who 
understand the issues is very small - 
insignificant in fact.

Secondly, this is all about money. Forget any 
rhetoric about safety and security, it's all 
about money and control. By going digital the 
cable companies can screw you. They can 
effectively prevent you from doing anything but 
watching what they push to you, when they push 
it, on a device approved by the industry. They 
really couldn't care less if a handful of MythTV 
users turned round and refused to pay - the other 
99.99% of the population will pay.

We have (almost) the same situation over here in 
the UK. Satellite is "owned" by Sky who use 
closed proprietary boxes, use a closed 
proprietary encryption, control the programs 
transmitted and their position in the EPG - in 
short, they control who sees what and how easy it 
is to find (don't pay enough and you'll be hidden 
away on the last page of the EPG). But while a 
handful of us know about the limitations and 
refuse go give a penny to the bunch of 
<expletives removed> scum, many millions do and 
thing they are getting a good deal. Sky really 
don't care about the handful of us that do 
understand - we don't even make the rounding 
errors in their subscriber base.
We do have cable in some areas - pretty much the same applies.

Where we do differ from you guys in the US is 
that we have a healthy FTA service. Whatever 
people say about it, I'm convinced that we have 
that in a large part due to use having a state 
broadcaster funded by a mandatory TV licence fee 
and who (despite some appearances) do still seem 
to care both about technical standards and 
program quality. Of course, every now and then 
there's another call for the licence fee to be 
scrapped - IMO that would be giving everything a 
good shove down the slippery slope to what you 
guys have.

As to the technical stuff, until the HDMI HDCP 
security protocol gets broken open, then there 
will be no way whatsoever to have an open source 
system able to work with these encrypted and 
protected sources. Even then, it will be a 
criminal offence in the US (and over here in the 
UK now) to use that knowledge.
Presumably if that ever happens, the industry 
will roll out an "upgrade" that makes older kit 
useless. Only then with the average man in the 
street take notice when thousands of $ (£ over 
here) of TV kit etc stops working - and if it 
happens, we need to be ready to publicise exactly 
who is responsible and why.

Complaining here will do you no good. The people 
you need to be ear-bending are your politicians. 
Good luck with that because the handful of us 
that care cannot match the backhanders the 
powerful "media industry" offers - they aren't 
going to jump off the gravy train for a handful 
of votes.

Simon Hobson

Visit http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk/ for books by acclaimed
author Gladys Hobson. Novels - poetry - short stories - ideal as
Christmas stocking fillers. Some available as e-books.

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