FCC Votes To End Must Carry Analog Viewability Rule

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#1
Despite some last-minute lobbying by broadcasters and their allies, the FCC commissioners voted Monday night on an order to sunset the viewability rules, according to sources inside and outside the agency. "Viewability is going down," said one broadcast attorney Monday night.

The vote -- said to be 5-0 -- came despite at least one last-minute call from the Hill to extend the viewability rule for another three years--they would have sunset immediately on June 12 without FCC action one way or the other.

That means as of December, cable operators will no longer have to deliver dual analog and digital feeds of must-carry TV station signals to satisfy the FCC requirement that they be viewable to their subscribers. Instead, the FCC says that the no-cost and low-cost converter boxes cable operators offer will satisfy the still-important obligation to make must-carry stations accessible to viewers.

While there had been a push by broadcasters to extend the six-month transition period beyond December, it remained six months.

As reported by Multichannel News last week, the order contains requirements that cable operators give their subs notice--said to be 90-days--of the change, as well as warnings about cable operators raising the prices of those boxes. It also has an added provision for avenues of redress--reinstating analog carriage--if the FCC gets sufficient complaints about the sunset from viewers, said to have been added at the insistence of commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

Clyburn, in a statement confirming her vote, made it clear it did not come easily. "Cable providers have committed to this office that they will make the transition as painless as possible and that if needed, set-top boxes will be widely available, at an extremely low (if any) cost, easy to get, and easy to install. I will hold them to that commitment," she said. "This step is the one of the biggest examples of a trust-based approach in quite some time, and yes, it comes with some anxiety."
Almost lost in the viewability issue is the FCC's three-year extension of the waiver of HD carriage mandates for smaller cable systems, which the American Cable Association had pushed for. The FCC had already signaled it was inclined to renew the waiver.
Read More: Commissioners Vote To Sunset Viewability Rule - 2012-06-12 03:37:04 | Multichannel News

So folks, if your cable system still has analog channels don't expect it to continue for very long. Expect to have to get a DTA (digital transport adapter) or other set top box to continue to watch your favorite channels on your analog TV. Of course some smaller cable companies may keep analog TV alive for quite some time, especially in smaller communities, inorder to forgo the cost of conversion.
 
#2
So folks, if your cable system still has analog channels don't expect it to continue for very long. Expect to have to get a DTA (digital transport adapter) or other set top box to continue to watch your favorite channels on your analog TV.
Oh, MAN, my brother is going to be p!ssed! He has a room in a home with cable TV, so he hooks up a splitter, and right to the TV. Gets all the basic channels plus "standard" Animal Planet, Science, yadayadayada all for nuthin. I might have to teach him to set up an antenna! :becky:

R.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#3
Oh, MAN, my brother is going to be p!ssed! He has a room in a home with cable TV, so he hooks up a splitter, and right to the TV. Gets all the basic channels plus "standard" Animal Planet, Science, yadayadayada all for nuthin. I might have to teach him to set up an antenna! :becky:

R.
Nah, he won't have to do that. If his TV has a digital QAM tuner he'll still be able to receive locals in digital format. Locals aren't encrypted in most cable systems.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#4
So folks, if your cable system still has analog channels don't expect it to continue for very long. Expect to have to get a DTA (digital transport adapter) or other set top box to continue to watch your favorite channels on your analog TV. Of course some smaller cable companies may keep analog TV alive for quite some time, especially in smaller communities, inorder to forgo the cost of conversion.
Or you can use a QAM tuner which most modern TVs have. Locals are still sent in the clear on nearly all cable systems.
 
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