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gak's avatar
New Contributor

Clear QAM channels now scrambled

Why is Cox now scrambling the local digital channels?  It doesn't hurt them at all to transmit the local digital channels in clear qam. . .


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  • FrankAZ's avatar
    New Contributor

    I am aggrieved by this too. When the going AllDigital hoopla started I took it at face value and used common english to understand that it meant Cox were dropping the analog service. Thus, the remaining TV signals would all be digitally encoded and Cox would have an AllDigital distribution network. Whoo for Cox, maybe eventual Whoo for customers who would benefit from the recovered bandwidth being used to carry more digital channels, and inconvenient for the customers with analog TV receivers, but Cox being the good folks they are would help them over the hurdle with the crappy free miniboxes.

    I even spent a few hours one afternoon in April working my way up the support tree until I spoke to a real engineer in their network planning department out of VA and he assured me that my belief was correct. The ClearQAM would remain ClearQAM, the Encrypted channels would remain encrypted, and all that would be different would be the absence of analog.

    September 13th, around 6am, suddenly the previously ClearQAM basic national channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, ...) became encrypted and my equipment with digital tuners that can only decode ClearQAM became chunky paperweights. My homebuilt whole-home DVR which used a mix of simple digital tuners and CableCARD equipped tuners suddenly could only use their CableCARD tuners.

    I called Cox. I am convinced the author of the customer-facing scripts they use is being deliberately disingenuous. The front-line support all earnestly parrot that all Cox are doing is going AllDigital(tm). None of them know the difference between encoding and encrypting; only that they need to ship a minibox to any customer with a pulse.

    Anyway, the aggravation has spurred me to install a broadcast TV antenna and hook that up to my older digital tuners, which can decode ATSC, thank goodness. the 13.2 Mbps digital HD signal there is visibly superior to the 6Mbps stream used for a HD channel on Cox's network. I should have done it years ago. I already have Netflix, HULU, and Amazon Prime subscriptions so the content that I actually rely on COX for is further diminished. Were it not for a few channels which carry some programs I cannot source online I would be cutting the cord now. But, those few channels, or rather those even fewer programs, are now costing me $120+/month. Once I wean my family off them I'll be gone.

  • Cox is one of the last cable providers to transition to the industry standard of an all-digital network. Making the switch to all-digital allows Cox to utilize bandwidth more efficiently. We'll be able to add more HD channels, increase internet speeds, and add new products.

    Unencrypted cable systems are vulnerable to illegal interception, or cable theft. Cable piracy can affect the picture quality of an entire system by causing ingress, resulting in a weaker signal. Moving to an encrypted, all-digital network will provide a better picture quality, an on-screen program guide, and more HD channels for Cox customers.
  • AllenP's avatar
    Valued Contributor

    Come on, Becky ... another posting of the Cox company spin on the conversion?  The topic of this thread is encryption yet the bulk of your post is the benefits of digital transmission ... something nobody disagrees with.

    Yes, conversion to an all digital network can be a win/win but, my market has been all digital for over a year and I haven't seen any increase in my internet speeds or new CATV programming utilizing the freed up bandwidth.  So far, I haven't seen anything I can call an improvement since going "allDigital" ... I'll be looking for some breadcrumbs in the future.

    Now for encryption, it's a win for Cox, not for the customer.  As you posted, it will help stop cable theft, +1 for Cox.  These miniboxes are not a win for the customer because.......
    - Adds an additional remote, the minibox remote will control TV power and volume, that's it.  Other functions, like my sleep timer, still require the original remote or purchase of a 3rd party remote like Harmony.
    - An additional $2-3 per month to rent a box when I have a perfectly good QAM tuner in my TV.
    - They only output 2 channel sound, prior to encryption, I received Dolby 5.1 on the ClearQAM channels direct from cable, now I receive 2.0.  If I want 5.1 sound, I have to upgrade to a full digital STB at an additional cost.
    -  IMHO, Getting HD version of all channels is a small benefit but, since the TV I'm talking about is used 90+% of the time for network broadcasts, the QAM tuner worked for us.  The only cable network my wife watches is TVLand and her old westerns aren't in HD anyway.

  • Don318's avatar
    New Contributor

    Clap, clap, clap …. Bravo FrankAZ and AllenP

    Becky your scrip is getting so old I’m surprised it hasn't gathered mold.

  • vinnie909's avatar
    New Contributor

    What can I use to be able to watch TV thru Windows Media Center on my Windows PC? I have a "USB AVerMedia H826 USB Hybrid ATSC/QAM"  TV tuner hooked up to my PC and since this change I cannot watch any channels. I get  " TV Service is scrambled The current service is encrypted and cannot be viewed at this time"  I tried the "Cox mini box" and it did nothing for my PC. Yes, I hooked it up from the wall coaxial cable then to the TV Tuner. Did I waste $89 on this TV tuner? Is there anything I can do?


  • AllenP's avatar
    Valued Contributor

    In a word, nothing, at least without purchasing a new tuner.  If the tuner device is indeed ATSC/QAM only, it won't work with the minibox, as you found out.  Output of the minibox is analog NTSC.  You need a device like the HDHomeRun Prime from SiliconDust which takes a cable card.  Your ATSC tuner will work with OTA broadcasts and an antenna.