Spying on you via your TV set ?

riese-k3djc at juno.com riese-k3djc at juno.com
Sat Mar 17 18:30:59 CDT 2012

Put up a simple tv antenna and go off the air
I am on the wrong side of the hill to look south
but I pick up MPBS and several other Md tv stations
with the other mix of locals I get 25 channels ,, solid
and in what passes for Hi Def


> I was recently observing how the times they are a changin' ...
> My parents were in a position to rid themselves of glass CRT
> based televisions and acquire nice flat screen TVs with digital
> capable tuners that support both off air ATSC modulation and
> the popular on cable QAM modulation during the past couple of
> years. That seemed quite trendy and forward-thinking at the time.
> Within the past month, someone from Comcast came into their
> residence and tuned these nice digital-capable TVs to analog
> NTSC video over RF channel 3. They also put a box in between
> with its own remote conrol to act as the tuner.
> The thing the cable companies want to do is get rid of analog
> TV distribution on the cable and replace it with QAM.
> Now, they could have distributed unencrypted QAM that the TV
> set could understand... but no, they will encrypt everything.
> They used to send the local broadcast channels over the cable
> too, and they had beautiful HD TV signals. I'm not sure
> what's going to happen with those signals, but now that the
> new box in plugged in, they don't get to the TV.
> As a carrot, Comcast mentions that subscribers get more channels,
> going from Basic Cable to Expanded Basic Cable. Somehow my
> parents are unimpressed that they can now watch MTV.
> Also, the sides of the wide-screen TVs are now unused, since
> they are only getting 4x3 ratio NTSC. And do they get a choice
> to letterbox or zoom in? No. A whole mess of digital music
> channels seems to have gone missing as well.
> The beauty of the box from Comcast's perspective is that it
> is two-way communications. Now they get to know when what TV
> is turned on and what channel is being watched. Of course,
> FIOS led the market on this big-brotherishness. But did
> Comcast choose to differentiate themselves from the competition?
> No. Everybody is in the surveillance business now.
> -Maitland
> P.S.
> Full disclosure:
> Some of the money I save by not being a cable subscriber goes to
> EFF.org.
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