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  • mrgreenfur - Monday, September 28, 2009 - link

    How much longer before a regular desktop can bruteforce or otherwise break the 56-bit DES? There's an article here about a 6core, 12 thread cpu, think that can dedicate a few cores to breaking DES in real-time? Reply
  • rbpett - Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - link

    3 years ago I built my own HTPC - Shuttle PC with Hauppauge WinTV PVR 350. Recorded analog SD channels like a champ with BeyondTV software, and I could skip commercials and even burn to DVD. I knew I wanted to upgrade to HDTV a couple of years ago, but everything I read about cablecard and building my own system was a dead end. So eventually I got HDTV, and bought a TiVoHD series 3. TiVo did everything I wanted except for 1 thing - use iTunes. Since I got the TiVo HD they have added the following services:
    Netflix "Watch Now" instant streaming (including HD content), Amazon Unboxed, Youtube (don't use) plus some other streaming services. The Netflix thing is very cool. Plus I can add storage via eSATA external drive. My only issue now is the TiVo's starting to freeze up on me on some HD channels, which seems to be a problem with FIOS/TiVo - I'm currently trying to solve.

    I wanted so bad to use my Shuttle setup with a Cablecard solution, but none exist. Oh well. Maybe MS will push their weight around with the FCC and get something going.
  • nilepez - Sunday, August 30, 2009 - link

    People won't be able to create their own videos, so they'll go out to torrent sites and download them.

    there's nothing wrong with Hulu, but the quality isn't very good (not even on a PC). For some it will suffice. for those that care about quality, it will not.
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  • bpt8056 - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link">

    ClearQAM is here to stay!
  • glugglug - Saturday, August 29, 2009 - link

    Just because it's illegal doesn't mean the Cable Companies don't get away with it.
    I don't get all my broadcast channels in ClearQAM with Time Warner Cable.
  • Ryan Smith - Saturday, August 29, 2009 - link

    Not really. If I just wanted my local OTAs, I could put up an antenna and save $50/month on a cable bill.

    The vast majority of people subscribe to cable TV for the non-OTA networks; things that are on the EB tier and beyond. Not being allowed to scramble OTAs has no impact on the fact that EB is going to require a STB/CableCARD. ClearQAM is going to be made redundant unless all you're subscribing to cable for is better OTA reception.
  • atomicbloke - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    Well, all I watch TV is for Live Sports from around the world. Football on local channels, Hockey on Versus, Soccer on GolTV and ESPN... sometimes I record the games on my HTPC to watch later..

    I don't watch any shows, so Hulu is of no use to me...

    I don't mind paying for all the sports channels I watch, but I do mind paying for a TV. I want to watch everything on my PC.

    Guess, this move will hit people like me, who only watch live sports...
  • glugglug - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    I actually get about 10 less channels in ClearQAM than I do from an ATSC antenna, with Time Warner Cable.

    The cable companies claims that they are running out of bandwidth are a load of crap. If they really were short on bandwidth, here are some trivial changes they could make:

    1) Stop sending multiple versions of the same channels in tons of different qualities. I receive NY1 in 1080p, 640p, and analog. I receive the Direct Shopping Network (or something like that) in 720p, 640p, 512x384, and 320x240 (yes, iPod resolution), and analog, and about 5 other low quality versions.
    2) Use mpeg4 or H.264. The FCC standards for ATSC and QAM TVs say they must be capable of decoding H.264. But every digital station I get from from Time Warner is in MPEG-2, including the encrypted channels (can't decrypt the content, but the format info is sent in the clear).
  • gplracer - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    I have a tv tuner on my computer. I also have a 24" monitor so watching tv is not bad. I actually watch more Hulu than comcast with this setup. I would love to build a HTPC and watch Hulu on my 65" tv. I think we will really see less people using HTPCs if Blu-ray players start to support Hulu. It would be smart for the makers of this players because it would help get blu-ray in more homes. Othwise I might build a HTPC with blu-ray support. Reply
  • trochevs - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I am tired of copyright holders bullshit that is going on in Washington. I canceled my SAT TV about 6 months ago and CAT TV about 3 years ago. I am not going to pay for 100 channels in order to watch one. They want me to watch their programs and advertisements. You have to pay me from now on. Let see how much money they will make when other people get fed-up and cancel their accounts! Reply
  • grat - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Depends on the cable company-- officially, according to FCC regs, if you ask for a cable box with a function Firewire port-- they have to give it to you.

    My cable provider (Cox) is actually pretty reasonable about which channels are flagged "Copy-once" (which equals copy never if you aren't 5c compliant)-- all SD channels are "copy always" and most HD that duplicates SD content is also "copy always"-- and after I complained, they actually unlocked a dozen or so channels that were flagged on the HD side.

    I have a perfectly functional pcHDTV-5500, but it's the backup tuner and I only use it for analog channels right now.
  • Kary - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I don't understand why Microsoft's Windows Media Center would be affected by cable companies encrypting their QAM signals... Clear QAM isn't supported by Media Center anyway (I have a ClearQAM capable card in my computer..tried in Vista and Win 7... had to read up to find out why it didn't work...just not supported by Microsoft..I think there were 3rd part patches, but I was running Win 7 x64 Beta so....). Reply
  • Sat32blk - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    This is wrong,
    Living in a area where ota reception is next impossible and working in retail electronics, What the cable companies are doing is using DRM and copyright to make money. The laws to protect content providers are being twisted and abused. When the digital conversion started my customers "mostly elderly" came in looking for help how to watch there favorite shows. Some came in with the FCC coupons to get digital converter boxes, those coupon was my and your tax dollars.

    Where I live you have cable or satellite or you only watch two channels. So why would so many cable TV subscribers be looking for digital converter boxes when the FCC mandate didn't even require them to convert there line up to digital? Over and over I heard about the misleading information that was being dispensed by the local cable company "Comcast". How they were on a fixed income and they couldn't afford the increased cost a STB would add to there bill. That comcast said they had to have to get the channels back that were switched to digital. What channels did comcast decide to swap to digital only was it channels no one really cares about. Home Shopping Network, QVC, Telemundo? Nope it was the channels that are watched by the elderly and least technically minded Hallmark channel and MSNBC. Then they flat out lied to them trying to extort more money for STB rentals.

    Every TV, Digital converter box I have sold so people could enjoy the benefits of digital in my area is pretty much useless now.

    The cable companies can do what they want it's there company there stock holders and there name.

    But it's our laws and tax dollars they using to extort revenues

    Call your local Senator and Representative
    demand that digital conversion not be used to extort money
    from people that can't afford it and is sometime there only source
    of entertainment
  • justniz - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Toss out crappy monkeysoft media center and upgrade to Linux+MythTV.
    I recommend going with a MythTv distro like Mythbuntu rather than rolling your own.
    It can still be a bitch to set up but you only need to do it once then you'll never look back.
  • flashbacck - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    huh? Works for me... Reply
  • ianken - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    "This is not cheap, and brings with it all the disadvantages of not building your own system"

    You'll need to do an edit on this after cedia.
  • chromal - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    The article fails to discuss encryption key cracking. I mean, a 56-bit key doesn't sound like very much; surely, stronger ciphers have been cracked... And if not today, in 18, or 36 months? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    To be frank, it likely wouldn't take very much. Write something up in CUDA/OpenCL, and a GPU is going to rip through keys like there's no tomorrow; has GTX 280s doing RC5-72 at a rate of 250Mkeys/sec. DES should be even faster.

    But doing this is a DMCA violation, and as opposed to just ripping DVDs it would probably get you send to a nice American prison.
  • chromal - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link

    Apparently, in US courts, ripping DVDs is no longer considered 'fair use' but is, in fact, an 'unlawful' violation of the CSS provisions in the standard. I think we're going to have to increasingly accept that maintaining our rights will take us increasingly into so-called 'unlawful' zones, but, at least to me, an unreasonable law isn't worth respecting. Reply
  • jasonbird - Friday, December 25, 2009 - link">">">">
  • justniz - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I was just thinking the same thing.
    How often (if ever) do they change the key?
  • chromal - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    actually, It looks like a 56-bit DES key was cracked in 1999 in 22 hours. I wonder how fast it could be cracked today? Reply
  • TheSmJ - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    That was using a specially designed machine to crunch the keys, not a single home PC. Reply
  • Smell This - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    With my Fusion5 I got all the analog EB, unencrypted QAM (local and 1/2 dozen or so digital channels) and all the digital music channels (though for the most part I did not receive the video feed of the 'music' channels).

    I got tired of CableCo incompetency and price increases and cut them off last Fall. So long, suckers.

    I have even less empathy for Microsoft DRM.

    My recorded content is for my personal consumption under fair use. I don't pirate or do the torrents and have even less empathy for those who do than CableCo or MS.

    You thieves are the ones who have ruined a good thing for the rest of us ...

  • justniz - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I didn't buy an HD tv to watch worse-than-analog-quality streams. Reply
  • flashbacck - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I agree. Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, August 30, 2009 - link

    i thought most HTPC was used for streaming illegal video files from an server in the house as most if not close to all of HTPC users do not have an Cable/sky input source Reply
  • justniz - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Not at all. Mines a mythbox, in the longe not basement, I mostly use it for recording tv shows off my cable. Partly so I can watch shows when I want, and partly so I can skip commercials. No illegal streaming here. Reply
  • xsilver - Sunday, August 30, 2009 - link

    funny thing is - some people cant tell the difference or dont mind.

    320p on 50" - o_0
  • Sunraycer - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I have Comcast. I already don't get any EB channels on QCAM, and never did. I get the local stations only. I've also noticed it seems like they are getting ready to start dropping Analog Service.

    The article didn't mention well that we will still get OTA and local channels on Cable. I agree this is much less than we got with Analog. I guess I've just been expecting that for a while.

    I agree that they don't seem to be planning on playing frequency trap games like they did on analog. I think we all know that didn't work well. The QCAM I get doesn't seem to be frequency grouped (I know digital stations aren't ordered by freq like Analog was, but you can look up the digital freq.)

    I agree with most of the authors statements, including the work arounds with analog outputs, except that I don't think HTPC sales / builds will dive a whole lot. I use mine for playing music, watching DVDs, Blu-Ray, online TV....although recording TV TIVO style was really nice. I still do it on local stations....

    I also agree that it's surprising Microsoft isn't more vocal....
  • cbuchach - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I have a great HTPC with two QAM tuners and 2 analog tuners and will be sad to see analog service go, though I have to say I expected something like this, but figured it would a year or two after the digital transition. If it does come to this, I can't say I will even consider cable anymore as I really liked not have a tuner box connected to every TV. So, I would certainly switch over to AT&T service.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    You know, I have Comcast (and an HTPC), but what I do most of the time is just use the Comcase DVR to record stuff. And *that* is my biggest beef. The stupid DVR box has a whopping 80GB hard drive. Are you SERIOUS!? In a day and age where 1TB drives cost less than $100 (often a lot less), we can't get more than an 80GB drive? It's ludicrous, especially when HDTV sucks down about 8GB per hour of content. I'd be perfectly content if there were an easy way (i.e. that didn't get me in trouble with Comcast for cracking the box) to pop in my own HDD. What I usually end up doing is just downloading the episodes off the net for the series that I watch and using my HTPC that way. Don't tell the TV companies.... :-| Reply
  • bsoft16384 - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Get a TiVo HD.

    It's $13/mo if you buy a year of service at a time, which is cheaper than the Comcast DVR ($16/mo). The box costs about $150 used.

    You can throw a 1TB disk in the TiVo easily, if you're willing to pop the top.

    The first CableCARD from Comcast is free (assuming that you don't have another set-top-box), so you're covered there.
  • jbwhite99 - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Now, in order to watch anything but local channels, you have to have a set top box. This means that you will only get local channels unencrypted, the way I read that. Today, I get extended basic on all of my TVs (ESPN, HGTV, networks), and HD local channels on my HD sets. I don't get ESPN HD/HGTV HD on any set except the one with the cable box.

    I read this to say you must have digital cable, and buy a box for every TV in your house to watch ESPN. Otherwise, you get network only. What this means is that a big advantage cable has (no STB) is gone - if I have to rent from the cable company, why not rent from Direct TV or AT&T?

    To the gentleman who asked about CBS on Hulu - check out - I think you will find CBS there. is owned by CBS (they bought out CNET).
  • Flyboy27 - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    200+ Channels and still nothing on! I'm going outside! Long live Hulu, I hope Google never buys you. Kudos to ABC and NBC for putting full episodes online. CBS needs to get their heads out of their asses.

    All a cable company or phone company is to me is an internet provider. I can get all the TV I want over the air or online. I don't need a home phone or the actual TV from the cable company.
  • chrissp - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    The title of this post is a bit over the top. Not everyone uses an HTPC just to watch cable tv and I very much doubt loosing TV will be an end to the HTPC.

    The beauty of an HTPC is having a PC hooked up to your living room equipment, coupled with a wireless keyboard and mouse you can browse the internet, watch videos on you tube, send email, all from the comfort of your arm chair and on the big screen.

    I have a Media Centre and a Windows home server. My DVD collection has about 600 DVD's all of which are ripped to my homeserver. I then use My Movies to catalogue and organise the collection.

    If I want to watch a film, I can do so quickly and easily, if I want to look at photos or videos I have taken its a simple matter.
    I can also play music from the homeserver to my media centre. Instead of many small devices sitting under my TV I have just one and it can do so much more than all the others.

    Recording live TV is overrated in my opinion. If that goes the HTPC will still be there, but I doubt it will disappear, it will simply become on demand iptv or perhaps other services will spring up to replace them such as FreeView and iplayer in the UK.

  • bigboxes - Saturday, August 29, 2009 - link

    Totally agree with you. I use my HTPC the same way. I use it to game, surf the net and play files (movies, tv shows and music) from my file server. I don't bother with tv capture, though I have from time to time in the past. I've got probably three tuner cards in a box somewhere.

    I've got one digital converter box (in the living room) and the other TVs (in the bedroom and the office) use the analog signal that still is provided by Time-Warner. In fact Time-Warner was touting this feature that you wouldn't need to run out and purchase digital converter boxes for your old TVs when all the OTA channels went digital. My monitor has a built in (analog) tuner that I rarely use (though I do have it hooked up to cable).
  • justniz - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    >> I very much doubt loosing TV will be an end to the HTPC.

    I totally disagree as I for one am basically the polar opposite of how you think and use HTPC.

    I have a mythbox setup (love linux, hate windows) and nearly all my viewing is recorded tv shows. I hardly ever watch movies more than once so don't bother with owning or ripping DVDs,even though mythbox supports it. If I want to do computer-type activities I prefer the pc in my office than doing it on my tv, partly because 16:10 aspect is better than 16:9 for surfing, and also I'm more comfortably sat at a desk than trying to manage a mouse and keyboard perched on my lap on a couch.
    I actually like the fact my HTPC works more like an appliance than a PC and doesnt have/need a keyboard or mouse.

  • paperfist - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Yes, that's great for you and the way you specifically use your HTPC, but for me and many others the goal of building an HTPC was to replace TiVos so that you could record and possibly archive your favorite shows AND also have the benefit of doing some of the things you do.

    If it works the way the article is implying then it's a huge lost for the hobby.
  • archcommus - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I think your article may be a little misleading. So you're telling us that the little DTA boxes they deploy will now be able to decrypt, so it's easier for them to encrypt EB tier channels that they move from analog to digital. This could spell the end of receiving EB tier channels on a computer TV tuner. However, you act as if this kills HTPC TV viewing entirely. What about local stations? As far as I understood, they are required to provide these in the clear, and in most areas are even in HD in the clear. This will not be changing, correct? That is all I really ever expected to receive with ClearQAM anyway. Yes, losing analog stations is a bummer, but most of my recording is local HD. Maybe eventually there will be an external CableCARD-ready tuner that will work with a home built PC...maybe. Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    They also fail to mention that digital expanded basic channels are already encrypted, at least on my local Comcast (PA). The only QAM channels I can receive are the basic basic channels (the networks + a couple of others). All of my analog channels already have digital equivalents and since I only subscribe to basic basic (don't watch much TV), this move of expanded basic to digital will not affect me. And is renting a box for $2 a month really that much? Reply
  • BigLan - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Same thing for me. All I've ever been able to get with qam is the locals + a couple more. It's whatever is on the basic cable package.

    I didn't know there were any cable providers sending enhanced basic channels in clear qam. All that I'd heard was cablecos moving channels from the EB tier to a digital tier so that you ned a STB to get it, but the cable market is so fragmented I'm sure there are some areas where this happens.

    I think the reality is that everyone will be forced to using STBs in the future for cable TV. The only reason we're not already there is that the cable industry is keeping analog on life support - they could have turned it off at the OTA transition and forced everyone to move to STBs.
  • erikstarcher - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Using a HDHomeRun I get all of the basic, expanded, and local HD channels. Comcast in Baltimore, MD. Everything from ESPN to Discovery is broadcast in the clear and in digital. The only things I don't get are the pay channels, and the expanded HD channels. If Comcast starts encrypting everything but local, I will be screwed. I want the ability to watch something on the TV in by bedroom that was recorded in the living room. Comcast doesn't offer that ability on their DVR's, and FIOS isn't available yet. Reply
  • rdominique - Thursday, September 10, 2009 - link

    Ditto for me in Montgomery County Maryland. I am enjoying it now and hope it doesn't end anytime soon. If it does then it is bye bye to cable. Do the cable companies realize how much of their customer base they will alienate if they render all digital tuners in expensive HDTVs and computers useless? Reply
  • jmurbank - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I disagree what you are saying because my cable company is private compared to companies like Comcast. I still get analog channels and including free HD channels. For digital cable channels, I have to use a cable box which is no problem for me.

    If you are just recording a TV show, who cares about the quality. If you care for quality you will not be watching TV because you will be using satellite or using rental services.

    If you really want to know about digital cable, it is just a re-encoded data in MPEG-2 that the cable company receives from their satellite system. Basically who cares about quality at this point since you are already getting something that is being re-encoded and using a Hauppauge PVR will not be any different. At least it will be recorded instead of being missed and being a slave for re-runs. Though if an on demand service from your cable provider or contains your TV show, why in the hell are you recording it.

    If you do not like your cable provider, start standing up and stir the waters.
  • hifiaudio2 - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I am with Jmurbank... My understanding is that local channels (local HD) are broadcast in the clear, always, by law. That is all I care about so this has no effect on me.
  • Rindis - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    I'm trying to think of a single local channel I care about....

    Nope. Doesn't help.
  • lonndoggie - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Same here. Whatever I can get OTA is what they offer, and that's fine. However, they also still have a very full range of analog stuff, which I also capture with an analog capture card. If that stuff goes away, then there's a bummer. Reply
  • djc208 - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I'd like to think that some enterprising company will figure out a loophole for this just like the HD-PVR, but we'll see.

    I do agree that for HTPC people like myself this reduces my desire to keep cable TV. Not having multiple tuner boxes and the trouble of controlling them is one of the reasons I stay with cable. This cutoff could have a lot of us re-consider cable over satelite.

    I also have to wonder how long until the TV manufacturers just stop offering anything other than a OTA tuner in TVs. CQAM and analog tuners are going to be useless, the Cable companies never really liked Cable Card and so it's died a slow death, to the point that most current TVs don't offer a cablecard socket any more. Other than OTA there will be few users who will not need some sort of box at this point to get their content.

    If we're lucky the TV companies will push to get some sort of universal control scheme such as over HDMI, so that you don't need seperate or programmable remotes to use your TV/box combo.

  • fic2 - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Not sure why people think that CableCARDs are dieing. As far as I know every new cable box that is coming out now uses them. Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    As, for example, in Germany cabel providers "went digital" quite some time ago. Reply
  • Scali - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Indeed, here in The Netherlands it's the same. Everyone gets the digital channel for free, along with their analog channel, but all channels are encrypted. Officially, you need a TV card with support for CI+ and then use an CI+ module and an Irdeto2 card from the cable company to decrypt it.
    Unofficially, no TV card supports CI+ yet, as far as I know... but there is one regular CI module which happens to work with the Irdeto2 card, even though it is not officially supported (the AlphaCrypt). There have been rumours for quite a while that the AlphaCrypt will be actively blocked, but so far it still works.
  • mmaenpaa - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link


    In Finland we only DVB-C/T (and of course DVB-S). Analog is gone. All the regular channels are "free" (Actually TV is not free, if you have a TV set you need to pay yearly around 230€ (=about 322$ US), this is practicaly a tax). You can buy different channel packets from your cable operator if you want extra. I am using"> mediaportal. So maybe they can block the HTPC in USA but here it is just another receiver. You just order a service and use a smart card for the service. Seems weird if it wouldn't work in USA? Are the cable operators so afraid of hackers? Actually I was under theimpression that this is the reason why Microsoft Media Centers do not support DVB-C (difital cable).

  • vittu - Sunday, August 30, 2009 - link

    Finland is actually a bit more complicated case. Yes, you can watch the limited amount of SDTV channels on cable after you paid your yearly household TV-licence fee (and if not the law abiding type, even without, for this the HTPC is the best cover), but try to have the HDTV delivered, and it gets very complicated. First of all you need approved HD-CableReady TV-set. The approved models are more expencive (compare the prices of Samsung LE40B750 (not approved), and identical LE40B755 (approved)). The cable provider (Welho) registers the serial number of your TV-set, and then rents you the CA-modul with Conax Chipset Pairing (so add to the TV-licence fees the extra monthly 3.90 (rent) + 25,90 (HDTV package). Finally you adjust everything, pick the favorite channels, delete the channels you do not use, etc. The next morning your channels are reverted to the "normal", as the cable company has been checking the Conax Chipset Pairing. You try to switch off the updating function, change the locking code, lock all the deleted channels with a kids lock, nothing helps. They are like zombies back next morning. But this is just an approved TV-set i'm talking about. HTPC will under such circumstances and regulations never become approved = legally accepted in Finland for HDTV. So the question about the cable operators being afraid of hackers is moot in Finland. You are supposed to get what you paid for (TV-licence fee) for "free". For everything else you pay, and even if you are willing to pay for HDTV, your HTPC will not be accepted. Reply
  • James5mith - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I know I might be dating myself, but the "Cable Ready" decision was a big win for the consumer. It forced cable companies to allow their expanded basic to be available to anyone with a "cable ready" TV, without forcing them to use a STB. This meant that they couldn't force you to purchase a STB to watch TV.

    It seems this is very cyclical. People fight for the cable companies to "free" TV, and win, then it's forgotten. It happened in the 80's, it happened in the 90's, and now it looks like it will skip a decade, because the American populace doesn't care enough anymore to even try and fight.
  • wolf550e - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    [quote]At this point there's no reason to believe that cable companies won't deploy Privacy Mode across their networks, so it's a matter of "if", not "when" this will happen.[/quote]

    You meant "when, not if".

  • BrooksT - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    It seems clear that cable companies, at the behest of old media companies, want to keep computers and cable TV separate. It's not unlike what's going on in newspapers right now. It's idiotic, but hey, if they want to detach their business model from the internet, it's their foot to shoot.

    As others have noted, Hulu and similar companies will negotiate alternative delivery agreements with the content producers, and the cable companies will be left as increasingly irrelevant middlemen and, ultimately, providers of commodity bandwidth service.

    Also, a note to the author: you wanted "downside", not "opportunity cost." An opportunity cost is something you can't do because you chose to do something else (i.e., if you only have ten minutes on a break, the opportunity cost of reading Anandtech is that you can't read Ars).
  • faxon - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    if we could just watch hulu instead for everything, tv would cease to exist in its current form. what im curious to know is if it will be possible to buy an add in card which complies with everything the cable companies may implement so that you can use it the same way you would a normal set top box. sure, the cost of it will suck, but preventing it entirely will loose them customers Reply
  • AmishElvis - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    It looks like in a year or two we will be able to watch everything on Hulu. I think we are witnessing the last gasps of cable TV. At some point the cable companies will end up being ISPs and nothing else. Reply
  • Pessimism - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Hulu doesn't help us Canadians. Reply
  • thurston - Sunday, August 30, 2009 - link

    Or people without Broadband Internet. Reply
  • moretoys - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    check out anchorfree if you want to use Hulu Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, August 28, 2009 - link"> Reply
  • Flunk - Saturday, August 29, 2009 - link

    You see, I've read that article too. But it's not accurate, you can still watch Hulu using hotspot shield. I live in Canada too. Reply
  • mmntech - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    Well I'm sure you can always go to CBC's website and watch bad TV on there, as the CRTC wants you to do. CRTC: CBC Ready To Collapse, or Conglomerates over-Regulating Ticked-off Canadians.

    I have a QAM tuner in my TV. When I had cable I would get a few unencrypted digital channels but my ability to receive them was spotty at best. The few HD ones offered had no sound. I switched to satellite instead. Double the number of stations for the same price as cable, better image quality on SD stations, plus my box can easily be upgraded to a DVR unlike the ones Cogeco was using.
  • Flunk - Thursday, August 27, 2009 - link

    I'd rather not watch anything than watch the CBC. I have Rogers and they provide me with exactly 0 unencrypted digital channels for my QAM tuner! We always get screwed with our telecommunications services in Canada. Reply
  • firepower7 - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link

    We need to do something about Comcast. They just started pushing a scrolling margque across the top of the TV for anyone on basic cable who doesn't currently use one of their cable boxes. It stays there across the top of the screen and just repeats endlessly....

    The message says, "If you can see this message, the TV you're watching isn't yet ready for Comcast's digital network enhancements. To order the necessary equipment, call 1-877-634-4434 or go to to avoid service interruptions. Once you have digital equipment connected to your TV you will no longer see this message."

    I obviously don't appreciate Comcast's heavy handed approach at FORCING people to use their cable boxes. What I really don't appreciate, however, is Comcast's back door attempt at trying to get people to subscribe to their "digital" offerings so they can soak consumers for more money.

    Someone needs to call them to the carpet! Call Comcast and ask to speak with SVP Rick Germano about the issue, file a complaint with the FCC, send a note to ALL of your senators & congressmen, send a note to the governor's office, contact media outlets, post comments on social networking pages. Create some NOISE!

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