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Old 08-29-2015, 02:49 PM   #1
barryw1964
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Connecting TiVo Roamio to cable without card

I just cut off my cable but still have Internet though the cable company. I can connect the cable to any TV directly and pick up about 115 digital channels and 75 analog. I just purchased a Roamio. It says it has found 315 channels. However, it will only list about 20 of them. And of those 20, I have no picture. Antenna signal shows 0 for any of these channels. I hooked up a little cheap HD antenna and the picture immediately came up. Tivo's response was to get an amplifier because they say this has 4 tuners and it degrades the signal when splitting. I would venture to say that my cable has a lot more power behind it than that little cheap antenna I connected. But I did and as I thought, no difference.

So my question is, what is do different about the tuner in the TiVo than my TV's? Even a little cheap one I bought for the kitchen ($59) picks up the channels. I no longer pay for cable service and will not be getting a card. But if my TV picks the channels up as 'air' channels, why won't the TiVo?

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Old 08-29-2015, 02:52 PM   #2
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Well first off, the Roamio has no analog tuner, so it won't be able to pick up any of your analog channels. It only has a digital tuner, and a Roamio isn't really designed to work with digital cable TV without a CableCard in it.

You can try buying a CableCard for a few bucks off ebay to see if it will map the clear-QAM channels for you. Different cable companies use different brands of CableCards. There are two main brands: Cisco/Scientific Atlanta and Motorola/Arris. The brand of the cablecard needs to match your cable company's headend equipment in your area for it to have a chance at working.


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Old 08-29-2015, 03:28 PM   #3
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I'm sure mine would be the Motorola/Arris as that is the type of modems they use. Thanks for the reply. I will see what I can find.

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Old 08-29-2015, 06:15 PM   #4
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I'm sure mine would be the Motorola/Arris as that is the type of modems they use. Thanks for the reply. I will see what I can find.
Not necessarily. Cable modems are pretty standard across brands, unlike CableCards. I'm on TWC and I use a Motorola/Arris cable modem but have a Cisco/Scientific Atlanta CableCard in my Roamio. Who is your cable company and what city are you in? You could try calling or dropping by your local cable company store and just asking them what brand of CableCards they use in your area.

Let me also point out that while using a CableCard purchased off ebay to remap clear-QAM channels should (in theory) work, and other people have reported this solution working for them, it is still very much a "your mileage may vary" type of situation.

Here are a couple threads that you might find helpful:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=525929

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=524585


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Old 08-29-2015, 07:07 PM   #5
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It's real easy to test. Just go to Settings & Messages, Account & System Info, TiVo box Diagnostics. Channel down to Cable Card 1. Check the entry for Channel List Received. Check that the VCT ID number is for your cable feed. See, nothing to it.

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Old 08-29-2015, 08:20 PM   #6
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I just cut off my cable but still have Internet though the cable company. I can connect the cable to any TV directly and pick up about 115 digital channels and 75 analog. I just purchased a Roamio. It says it has found 315 channels. However, it will only list about 20 of them. And of those 20, I have no picture. Antenna signal shows 0 for any of these channels. I hooked up a little cheap HD antenna and the picture immediately came up. Tivo's response was to get an amplifier because they say this has 4 tuners and it degrades the signal when splitting. I would venture to say that my cable has a lot more power behind it than that little cheap antenna I connected. But I did and as I thought, no difference. So my question is, what is do different about the tuner in the TiVo than my TV's? Even a little cheap one I bought for the kitchen ($59) picks up the channels. I no longer pay for cable service and will not be getting a card. But if my TV picks the channels up as 'air' channels, why won't the TiVo?
It REALLY sounds to me like your confusing and mixing up "antenna" and "cable" TV signals and what they are and how they're connected! Cable uses QAM as its broadcast signal technology and over the air antenna broadcasts use something called ATSC using 8-VSB.

I'm thinking you need to redo guided setup. You're really confused and so is your post!

I second getting a Cablecard off of eBay or something. I have about 6-7 left of you want to buy one of mine? They're SA/Cisco brand.

Just because the tivo reports getting 115 digital channels when you connect it to your "cable" feed and do a scan, that doesn't mean those channels are unencrypted. That's why you need a provisioned, paired and authorized Cablecard from the cable co. in the first place. As stated though, if any are clear QAM then an aftermarket Cablecard should be able to map those to their proper guide slots and channels.

Good luck!

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Old 08-30-2015, 02:18 AM   #7
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OTA works with the Roamio basic, never needs a cable card for that.

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Old 08-30-2015, 04:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by barryw1964 View Post
I just cut off my cable but still have Internet though the cable company. I can connect the cable to any TV directly and pick up about 115 digital channels and 75 analog. I just purchased a Roamio. It says it has found 315 channels. However, it will only list about 20 of them. And of those 20, I have no picture. Antenna signal shows 0 for any of these channels. I hooked up a little cheap HD antenna and the picture immediately came up. Tivo's response was to get an amplifier because they say this has 4 tuners and it degrades the signal when splitting. I would venture to say that my cable has a lot more power behind it than that little cheap antenna I connected. But I did and as I thought, no difference.

So my question is, what is do different about the tuner in the TiVo than my TV's? Even a little cheap one I bought for the kitchen ($59) picks up the channels. I no longer pay for cable service and will not be getting a card. But if my TV picks the channels up as 'air' channels, why won't the TiVo?
As others have said, there are some technical problems with what you are doing; but have you also considered that your cable company will regard what you are doing is attempting theft of service by receiving a signal you haven't paid for? Cutting the cord is hip and modern but stealing cable is some pretty old-school stuff.


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Old 08-30-2015, 08:46 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. I have ordered a cable card. We'll see what happens. But concerning the last comment on cable theft, I am paying for Internet and phone through the cable company. The channels I receive are a byproduct of having the cable connected to my house and, according to Suddenlink, is just the way it is. I guess my question was not clear enough. If I choose cable as my source on my TV, I get nothing as I do not have their converter box. But if I select antenna as the source, I pick up all the channels available to me. I am not using the 'cable' tuner on my TV's but have selected 'antenna' as the source. I was confused that any of my TVs could pick up air channels using the 'cable' as an antenna feed, why couldn't TiVo? It gave me about 20 digital channels as I expected. However, none would display, not even the local one 5 miles away.

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Old 08-30-2015, 09:02 AM   #10
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I know it's not as good as digital HD on a Roamio, but If you can find for cheap one of the two-tuner Premieres w/lifetime (which integrated cable/OTA) that should work to pick up analog cable channels without a cable card needed.

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Old 08-30-2015, 09:24 AM   #11
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OP- you have that in writing? Or from a CSR? A signal on a cable likely does not give you the right to use it without paying, even if it is there and easy to do.

Tivo set their system up differently than your TV did.

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Old 08-30-2015, 10:08 AM   #12
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I know it's not as good as digital HD on a Roamio, but If you can find for cheap one of the two-tuner Premieres w/lifetime (which integrated cable/OTA) that should work to pick up analog cable channels without a cable card needed.
And it will not have a valid guide, making recording a chore. Even the descriptions will not match. However as you said, it will find the analog channels.

I have a Premiere without a cable card on-line and receive 5 analog test pattern channels and one clear QAM "info" channel".

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Old 08-30-2015, 10:17 AM   #13
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And it will not have a valid guide, making recording a chore.
Depends whether TiVo has an accurate map of where the cable company has placed the analog channels. Granted nobody cares about analog channels anymore so I don't know if that info gets updated. I used to use a Premiere for about 40 basic cable analog channels and the guide was about 95% accurate.

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Old 08-30-2015, 10:42 AM   #14
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Depends whether TiVo has an accurate map of where the cable company has placed the analog channels. Granted nobody cares about analog channels anymore so I don't know if that info gets updated. I used to use a Premiere for about 40 basic cable analog channels and the guide was about 95% accurate.
I concur. If the person would include their zipcode and cable feed we could check on zap2it to see what TiVo thinks about the lineup. I'm dying to see how well the purchased but not authorized cable card functions. My nickel say it's a failure. But I can wait. It should be educational.

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Old 08-30-2015, 12:00 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies. I have ordered a cable card. We'll see what happens. But concerning the last comment on cable theft, I am paying for Internet and phone through the cable company. The channels I receive are a byproduct of having the cable connected to my house and, according to Suddenlink, is just the way it is. I guess my question was not clear enough. If I choose cable as my source on my TV, I get nothing as I do not have their converter box. But if I select antenna as the source, I pick up all the channels available to me. I am not using the 'cable' tuner on my TV's but have selected 'antenna' as the source. I was confused that any of my TVs could pick up air channels using the 'cable' as an antenna feed, why couldn't TiVo? It gave me about 20 digital channels as I expected. However, none would display, not even the local one 5 miles away.
Did you rerun guided setup on your Roamio, this time selecting antenna as your source?

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Old 08-30-2015, 12:02 PM   #16
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I concur. If the person would include their zipcode and cable feed we could check on zap2it to see what TiVo thinks about the lineup. I'm dying to see how well the purchased but not authorized cable card functions. My nickel say it's a failure. But I can wait. It should be educational.
My dime says it works. Mine works 100% for all analog and clear QAM channels on my Oceanic Time Warner system, if that means anything?

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Old 08-30-2015, 12:22 PM   #17
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My dime says it works. Mine works 100% for all analog and clear QAM channels on my Oceanic Time Warner system, if that means anything?
You are so fortunate. Did you see my post (#5). What does your premiere indicate?

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Old 08-30-2015, 12:33 PM   #18
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You are so fortunate. Did you see my post (#5). What does your premiere indicate?
This?
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It's real easy to test. Just go to Settings & Messages, Account & System Info, TiVo box Diagnostics. Channel down to Cable Card 1. Check the entry for Channel List Received. Check that the VCT ID number is for your cable feed. See, nothing to it.
I'm not sure I'm getting your point. It downloads the channel map for the system you're on when it's plugged in. I have the correct channel map on mine. As a matter of fact, I remember it also updated its firmware when I initially plugged it in as well.

I've plugged these cards into both a Premiere XL and Roamios with the same results.

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Old 08-30-2015, 12:45 PM   #19
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I'm not sure I'm getting your point. It downloads the channel map for the system you're on when it's plugged in. I have the correct channel map on mine. As a matter of fact, I remember it also updated its firmware when I initially plugged it in as well.

I've plugged these cards into both a Premiere XL and Roamios with the same results.
Like I said, you're lucky. My cable feed does not see a cable card not in its database. So I plug in a foreign card and get nothing. The guide, on the other hand, comes from my zipcode & selected provider. Or maybe I'm just unlucky.

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Old 08-30-2015, 01:59 PM   #20
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My dime says it works.
Yeah, if his cable company is offering an analog-only package so that people aren't required to have a cable box then TiVo should be on top of the program information and it should work fine.

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Old 08-30-2015, 02:02 PM   #21
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Thanks for all the replies. I have ordered a cable card. We'll see what happens. But concerning the last comment on cable theft, I am paying for Internet and phone through the cable company. The channels I receive are a byproduct of having the cable connected to my house and, according to Suddenlink, is just the way it is.
I'm not judging, as many people still do exactly what you're doing without issue. But the cable company still considers that theft. If you don't pay for cable TV service (even though you do pay for phone and internet), hook it up to a TV and watch it, that's theft, unless they specifically say basic cable is included with your internet service. In some cases, it is, but in others it isn't.

I'd still try to get clarification from the cable company in case you find yourself in a tight spot. If Suddenlink has told you it's not a problem, make sure you have proof. Cable companies can and do do audits and nail people all the time. A big reason for the digital transition is to stop this sort of thing.

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Old 08-30-2015, 03:56 PM   #22
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I'm not judging, as many people still do exactly what you're doing without issue. But the cable company still considers that theft. If you don't pay for cable TV service (even though you do pay for phone and internet), hook it up to a TV and watch it, that's theft, unless they specifically say basic cable is included with your internet service. In some cases, it is, but in others it isn't.

I'd still try to get clarification from the cable company in case you find yourself in a tight spot. If Suddenlink has told you it's not a problem, make sure you have proof. Cable companies can and do do audits and nail people all the time. A big reason for the digital transition is to stop this sort of thing.
I know people that moved into a home/condo and the cable is still connected, the cable service had been stoped but (in the old analog days) the cable co. did not come out to cut the service on the pole, connecting your TV to the cable inside your home and watching is not illegal, you can't be charged with anything if you did not alter the cable co equipment (like remove a trap etc). In one case it took a year before the cable co came out and cut the service, the cable co can't tell if your TV is connected or not without comming into your home, and they can't do that without your permission. Most cable co have gone digital and that solved the problem as you need a cable card or a cable box to watch anything, and the cable co can de- authorize any cable card or cable box.

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Old 08-30-2015, 04:05 PM   #23
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Yep, it's the cable co's responsibility to turn off the service in that case, not the new homeowner.

It's the same concept, only in reverse, as the many threads here where someone complains that they were being charged by tivo (or any company for that matter) for monthly service on a box they never confirmed to cancel and they notice it months or years later and expect tivo to repay them. The burden was on them to make sure the cancellation happened, just like it is the cable co's to disconnect it if they were informed to do so by the prior homeowner.

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Old 08-30-2015, 11:37 PM   #24
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I'm not judging, as many people still do exactly what you're doing without issue. But the cable company still considers that theft.
The cable company may very well consider that theft, but their opinion is irrelevant. The real question is does the law consider it to be theft. My educated guess is that it isn't really theft at all. If the cable company is intentionally sending unencrypted RF signals into your home, that's their decision, and what you choose to do with those RF signals isn't any of their business. It's like your neighbor having an unsecured WiFi connection and you using it to connect your laptop to the internet. Is that theft? I don't think so. I could just as easily argue that the cable company is trespassing onto my property by sending unwanted RF signals into my home. But just because I consider it trespassing doesn't mean that it actually is.

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I'd still try to get clarification from the cable company in case you find yourself in a tight spot. If Suddenlink has told you it's not a problem, make sure you have proof. Cable companies can and do do audits and nail people all the time. A big reason for the digital transition is to stop this sort of thing.
There is absolutely no way for the cable company to know if someone is viewing unencrypted channels that they are intentionally sending into someone's home. These are entirely one-way signals. The cable company can no more tell you are viewing them than local broadcast stations can tell if you are watching their OTA channel with an antenna.


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Old 08-31-2015, 10:21 AM   #25
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Thanks guys. I'm happy to be wrong about most of this. I was pretty paranoid in the past and would disconnect my TVs before the service guy came out to fix something, just to be on the safe side.

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Old 08-31-2015, 02:16 PM   #26
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.......... There is absolutely no way for the cable company to know if someone is viewing unencrypted channels that they are intentionally sending into someone's home. These are entirely one-way signals. The cable company can no more tell you are viewing them than local broadcast stations can tell if you are watching their OTA channel with an antenna.
Actually I think there IS a way they can tell if you have cable illegally without going in your home. Wasn't there, and maybe still are, those vans that can drive by a residence with RF detection gear that could detect if a certain frequency was being watched on a tv in the house? I'm not joking either, I remember reading about this technology.

Google here I come!

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Old 08-31-2015, 02:36 PM   #27
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There's this:

http://www.tvproviders.com/tv-101/ho...-detected.html :

Quote:
Cable Company Investigation

Many cable companies do not realize that there might be cable theft until there has been a complaint by a cable subscriber. These complaints are typically problems with television signal or Internet speed. If a cable company receives one of these complaints and cannot find an issue with the paying customer's indoor equipment, the cable operators may begin to suspect cable theft.

Cable theft equipment – Cable operators have equipment that is able to detect cable signals. They use this equipment outside the homes of subscribers where they suspect there may be cable theft. Signals are detected that lead in directions away from the customers' houses, and this indicates cable theft.
Tests of dBmV – These tests are done to determine the signal measurement at a cable subscriber's home. The term dBmV is the unit of measurement for how much signal should be in the house based on the subscribed services. With the cable operator's measurements at the site are lower than the services that are purchased, cable theft could be the cause and will be investigated further.
Professional examination – Although a paying customer may examine his or her cable lines around his or her home, a professional is better equipped to make a determination about whether cable theft is occurring or not. They know exactly what they might see, and they are quicker to recognize potential issues.
Uncover descramblers – Distributors of illegal descramblers are constantly being sought by cable companies and law enforcement. Since these devices are illegal, law enforcement is interested in finding out who bought them and then prosecuting those people. Once the names of descrambler purchases are available, cable operators have the legal ability to pursue and prosecute anyone who has the illegal gadgets.
The talk about cable theft vans appears to be controversial though. Some saying it was false propaganda by cable cos to make the thieves afraid, but the vans didn't actually exist, with others saying it does.

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Old 08-31-2015, 02:55 PM   #28
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Actually I think there IS a way they can tell if you have cable illegally without going in your home. Wasn't there, and maybe still are, those vans that can drive by a residence with RF detection gear that could detect if a certain frequency was being watched on a tv in the house? I'm not joking either, I remember reading about this technology.

Google here I come!
The UK has this as you must pay a tax on all TVs in your home, but UK TV are made to be detected, US TV are not. In the old days the cable co. found illegal taps into their cable, bad news for the person that did that. Today in most of the USA you can't watch anything on cable without some cable supplied equipment. Most cable co are not even using traps anymore.

My story: For two years I used ATT cable (not U-Verse), but I paid Comcast for basic cable that I was not watching as that was less costly with the internet than the internet alone. Nothing was connected to the Comcast cable, ATT cable stopped their hard cable service, so I just connected to the Comcast cable, and was about to order expanded cable when I found that because of the internet expanded cable was not cut off, so for two years I got expanded cable without paying, until one day my wife complained that CNBC did not come in, I checked and found the Comcast had put a special trap on the pole to block expanded cable but still let the internet in. I called and the trap was taken down and all ch. came in and my price went up. This was way before HDTV came along.

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Old 08-31-2015, 03:33 PM   #29
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A continuous service offer is common to keep costs lowest. This is common with gas and electric utilities too. That is, the provider leaves the wire (or pipe) "on" as the trip to disconnect/reconnect is expensive, so households are obligated (by law or tariff) to call in to connect, thus everyone is better off when everyone is honest. On the flip side, the utility is then allowed to back-bill for the service when it is used without authorization. What do you want, the providers to have to increase rates and perform a hard disconnect for everyone?

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Old 08-31-2015, 03:39 PM   #30
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A continuous service offer is common to keep costs lowest. This is common with gas and electric utilities too. That is, the provider leaves the wire (or pipe) "on" as the trip to disconnect/reconnect is expensive, so households are obligated (by law or tariff) to call in to connect, thus everyone is better off when everyone is honest. On the flip side, the utility is then allowed to back-bill for the service when it is used without authorization. What do you want, the providers to have to increase rates and perform a hard disconnect for everyone?
Maybe before cable companies were allowed to encrypt all channels, I would have agreed with you. But now that the FCC has given cable companies the legal right to encrypt all channels, including the local broadcast channels, the burden is on the cable companies to encrypt them all. If a cable company chooses to send unencrypted channel signals into your home, that's the cable company's fault.

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