Soon you can add the following to the dust bin of consumer history: Getting basic cable service through your digital TV without having to rent a cable box.
If you have cable TV service, you probably have at least one set-top box to catch HD programming, premium channels and be able to record anything.
But you also may have another TV with a direct-cable connection – no box necessary – to catch basic programming.
Today, a federal rule modification takes effect that can force consumers to rent more cable boxes for those TVs with basic programming.
After a free introductory period, cable subscribers will likely pay up to $10 a month to get service on TVs that currently get unscrambled basic programming without a box. If having to purchase more program boxes to watch basic programs is something you are not into, how about looking into something like dish vs directv by Gadgetreview, where you can find out the benefits and drawbacks of switching to these providers and the important aspects you will need to consider in order to make your final decision.
Starting Dec. 10, cable systems can now scramble the “basic tier” service which includes local broadcast stations, public, government and education channels, as well as some non-premium programming.
That means you won’t be able to plug the cable directly into a digital set that has a QAM tuner and see these unencrypted channels without a set-top box.
The cable companies said this will benefit the consumer, and the Federal Communications Commission apparently agreed. The cable operations said such a move would prevent people from watching programs they didn’t pay for and improve customer service. If you want cable, you should find your local providers, like cable providers Lincoln NE, to make sure you receive the best service.
The Federal Communications Commission had prohibited the encryption of basic cable since 1994.
However, none of the six major cable companies in the country has announced a date to encrypt basic channels.
Comcast, the country’s largest cable service provider, said in a statement to nbcnews.com:
“Currently, we do not have any announcements to make. Should we plan any changes in the future, we will notify any impacted customers well ahead of time.”
ConsumerWorld.org founder Edgar Dworsky has some harsh words for the FCC.
“The FCC has once again found a way to pick the pockets of cable customers,” Dworsky said. “Millions of new televisions that operated just fine providing high definition programming up until now will have to be retrofitted with costly boxes just to watch the very same local stations. The contention by the FCC that this change will only ‘adversely affect a small number of cable subscribers‘ is ludicrous.”