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Montag, 13. Februar 2012, 18:47

In Response to the Cable Companies Misleading Arguments to the FCC

13. Februar 2012 // 10:30 Uhr


Last week the NCTA sent a formal letter to the FCC in response to our
with the Chairman and followed up with a brazen “social media”
campaign. In both cases, the NCTA made factually incorrect statements in an
intentional attempt to mislead the FCC.

Here’s a summary of the arguments and our rebuttals:

ClearQAM requires consumers to wait for hours for the “cable guy” to
setup service
- Not true. Waiting for the cable guy has nothing
to do with ClearQAM. Today the leading cable companies, Comcast,
, Charter
and Cox, all offer
self-install kits that do not require a cable guy to come to your home.
All of these companies continue to offer ClearQAM, so the two issues are
not related. A quick call to their customer support lines easily
validates this and falsifies their claims.

ClearQAM requires consumers to wait for hours for the “cable guy” to
service – Not true. When you
disconnect from Cable (which we certainly encourage you to do if you have good
antenna reception) you don’t have to wait for a cable guy to come to your home.
If the cable company wants to block you from getting service they actually
do it outside of your home.

Last week NCTA PR people actually posted the following tweets trying to
smear Boxee:

“Like waiting for the cable guy? #Boxee is looking out for you – from the
NCTA blog” from

“If you like taking time off work for cable service calls, Boxee is on your
side!” from
(Vice President, Communications for NCTA)

Seriously??? As we noted above waiting for the cable guy has nothing to do
with encrypting QAM, it has everything to do with cable companies’ poor
customer service, a pretty common phenomenon among monopolistic enterprises.

Boxee is asking the FCC for a “one off”, Boxee-specific solution
– Not true. Encrypting QAM impacts any consumer that connects a cable directly
to a TV or a standalone tuner. It could mean millions of consumers. Our
position is that if the FCC ends up letting cable companies encrypt QAM they
should do so on the condition that an alternative, standards-based IP solution
will be made available. One which would not force the user to rent new hardware
from the cable company, and would not require device makers to certify their
solution with each individual cable operator.

Nothing we’re pointing out or suggesting is “one-off” or Boxee-specific.

Boxee should adopt CableCard instead of QAM – Implementing
a CableCard based solution would have made the Boxee Live TV tuner 2-3 times
more expensive for consumers, would require a CableCard from a local cable
company, and an extra monthly rental fee. In addition customers have had
a lot of bad experiences with CableCard installs (here is one, and here’s a former
installers comments
), meanwhile the cable companies are all moving towards
IP delivery anyway. So it is pretty obvious why we don’t believe CableCard is
the right answer. (btw, off the record even cable executives will tell you
CableCard does not make sense for what Boxee is trying to do).


The NCTA took 12 pages to make these arguments. It’s pretty
repetitive and not a great read. They seem to subscribe to the doctrine that if
you repeat a falsehood enough times, people are bound to start believing it. We
encourage the NCTA and cable companies to spend less money on lobbying the
government and more on improving their overall customer experience.


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