Enjoy ClearQAM while you can

While this wont have an affect on myself as I don’t subscribe to cable,
I was really hoping the FCC was going to stick it to the cable
companies and not allow them to enable "Privacy Mode".  Now the cable
companies will be forcing DTAs on customers when the could have easily
used the integrated QAM tuner integrated into newer TVs.  This is also
a blow to a lot of DIY HTPC users with QAM tuners as now they will be
limited only to channels that are "Must-Carry" from their cable
provider.  All of this smacks of when AT&T used to force you to
purchase your telephone handset directly from them and forbid the use
of third-party hardware.  Maybe one day we will be free to use the
services we pay for with the hardware we choose.  Unfortunately that
will not be a day any time soon.


The ramifications are two-fold. For the cable companies, once they implement this Privacy Mode across the board they will no longer have to install and maintain expensive signal traps to keep customers on lower tiers such as Limited Basic from accessing additional channels. For computer/HTPC users, this is an end to being able to directly receive EB tier channels with any kind of commonly available digital tuner. Privacy Mode is not open for licensing, and CableLabs will not license CableCARD for any kind of open (read: not locked down to hell and back) tuner. This means ClearQAM tuners made by ATI, Hauppauge, SiliconDust, and others would no longer be useful for receiving EB tier channels.