This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

FCC To Allow Basic Cable TV Encryption

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that, for the first time, it will allow Cable TV providers to scramble their basic television services. But, not all cable providers all at once. And there might be an alternative.

The death of unscrambled basic cable is something the industry has been lobbying for for decades. It allows them to upgrade the ancient, analog-based distribution systems to all-digital cable networks.

The six largest cable companies - AT&T (T - Get Report), Charter Communications (CHTR - Get Report), Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report), Cox, Time Warner Cable (TWC - Get Report) and Verizon (VZ - Get Report) will soon be allowed to begin encrypting basic cable signals. To avoid a widespread panic among current basic-tier subscribers the FCC is proposing some interesting possibilities.

The FCC says that when a cable provider scrambles its previously open channels it must also provide an unscrambled signal via IP (Internet Protocol). With or without special hardware.

It's a very big win for a number of companies, including NYC-based Boxee, which makes hardware that would benefit from unencrypted, over-the-air TV signals. The NCTA (National Cable and Telecommunications Association) had strenuously argued against the idea.

There is also the possibility that cable providers might be required to provide free, new converter boxes (or CableCARDs) to basic tier customers for a five-year period.

Smaller cable operators, including Bright House and Cablevision (CVC - Get Report), are exempt from this new plan - for now. The FCC is hoping the smaller carriers will follow the lead of their larger cousins but conceded it would consider looking into the situation again if it had to.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
CMCSA $59.64 0.00%
CHTR $185.75 0.00%
CVC $20.15 0.00%
TWC $155.26 0.00%
T $34.01 0.00%


DOW 18,080.14 +21.45 0.12%
S&P 500 2,117.69 +4.76 0.23%
NASDAQ 5,092.0850 +36.0220 0.71%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs