Comcast will start encrypting
its basic cable service in the coming months. Though users with a Comcast-provided set-top box will be able to decrypt the new signals without any problem, customers with either a third-party cable box or devices that directly connect to a cable outlet will need to request some equipment.
Affected customers with non-Comcast boxes will have to order a digital TV adapter from the cable provider. Comcast will contact customers in advance, offering two small digital TV adapter for up to two years at no charge, reports GigaOM
. The adapters will connect to a TV through a coaxial connection, and have their own remote controls in order to function. Pay-per-view content, premium channels, Xfinity On Demand, and the on-screen channel guide will not be usable on the digital TV adapters, but will continue to do so on the Comcast set-top box.
The move to encrypt the channels stems from the FCC B1 Encryption Order
, enacted last year. By encrypting even the basic channels, Comcast hopes it will be a deterrent, stopping people from committing cable theft, as well as making device management easier for the company.