iOpener Update

From: Eric Smith <>
Date: Thu Apr 6 14:33:06 2000

Tim Shoppa wrote:
> Yeah, but there are many places in the US where it is essentially illegal
> to hook your own cable descrambler to the cable line, not too much different
> than the old Bell System limits on third-party equipment hooked to phone
> lines.

Actually not. For a few years now, federal law has *required* that
customers be allowed to buy their own cable boxes. However, if those cable
boxes descramble the scrambled channels without the authorization of the
cable company, that's theft of service. Sales of boxes that have been
modified to do that is unlawful.

The FCC has mandated that the cable companies come up with a standard
interface for Conditional Access Systems, i.e., smartcards that decrypt
or control the decryption of pay channels. That's what OpenCable(TM)
is all about. You'll be able to buy any brand of cable box you want (or
TVs and VCRs with the cable box built in), and rent just the access card
from the cable company. This is how the Ku-band satellite systems have
worked for years.

The nice thing about all this is that we won't have the stupidity of
cable-ready TVs and VCRs that have to be left on channel 3 or 4 because
of a brain-damaged cable box.
Received on Thu Apr 06 2000 - 14:33:06 BST

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