Do you have a home-theater PC with a ClearQAM tuner hooked to unencrypted digital cable? If so, enjoy it while you can. According to a new story by AnandTech, the FCC has given cable providers the nod to use light encryption for expanded basic channels, which might make HTPCs all but obsolete.
AnandTech says cable providers have been nagging the FCC to let them use Privacy Mode, a light, 56-bit encryption scheme supported by low-cost cable boxes (a.k.a. Digital Transport Adapters). And the FCC has finally buckled.
By encrypting expanded basic channels, cable firms will reportedly save the money they'd normally spend on "expensive signal traps" to wall off lower-tier subscribers. However, the cable companies will also be cutting off anyone with "any kind of commonly available digital tuner." If the firms proceed, odds are the tuner card in your HTPC will only be able to catch a handful of basic channels.
Now, there might be a silver lining. As the article points out, Microsoft has put quite a bit of effort into its Windows Media Center software, and the FCC's acquiescence will seriously limit its usefulness. The people in Redmond—and, who knows, maybe major tuner card vendors—might just act as a counterweight against cable companies.
|1. Hdfisise - $600||2. Ryszard - $503||3. Andrew Lauritzen - $502|
|4. the - $306||5. SomeOtherGeek - $300||6. Ryu Connor - $250|
|7. doubtful500 - $200||8. Anonymous Gerbil - $150||9. webkido13 - $135|
|10. cygnus1 - $126|
|The TR Podcast 176: Project Cars, cable to the Maxx & the Tao of Chi||1|
|Don't throw stones inside Lian-Li's PC-O8||1|
|Fractal Design's Node 202 case takes low-key approach to living room||4|
|MSI's Godlike X99 motherboard brings RGB LEDs to mortals||13|
|Thunderbolt 3 pushes 40Gbps through USB Type-C port||21|
|Killer slays wires with its Wireless-AC 1535 NIC||8|
|Here's the first desktop display based on quantum dots||22|
|Intel's Broadwell goes broad with new desktop, mobile, server variants||51|
|Nanotube-infused NRAM promises DRAM speeds with unlimited endurance||30|