Anonymously rat out your thieving neighbors.
March 23, 2002 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Anonymously rat out your thieving neighbors. Cable companies are mounting a television commercial campaign advertising cabletheft.com, where you can rat out anyone you might suspect stealing cable. Tagline of the commercial: "Sooner or later, you're going to pay."
posted by dcgartn (27 comments total)

 
If you've seen the commercials, you know how absurd they are. If you haven't here's a summarization:
Man 1: You're in big trouble bob.
Bob: Why?
Man 1: You've been caught selling illegal cable boxes.
Bob: I'm fucked.
Man 1: Not exactly. The cable companies will cut you a deal ... if you give them the names of the people you sold the illegal cable boxes.
Bob: Deal.

Final tagline: "Sooner or later, you're going to pay."
Borderline Gestapo scare tactics?
posted by dcgartn at 5:31 PM on March 23, 2002


Dunno if you have it in the US, but in the UK our software piracy association has a similar deal going on. If your employer is using pirated software and you rat them out, you can receive something like $3000. I wonder how popular you'd be around work after that though..
posted by wackybrit at 5:35 PM on March 23, 2002


people still have cable?
posted by tsarfan at 5:50 PM on March 23, 2002


You know what I can't figure out? We've already *got* cable, and a cable modem. If I split the line going to my cable modem and hook another TV up to half, is that allowed? Somehow I think it's not, but I can't find anything on AT&T Broadband's site about it.

It works, though.
posted by CrayDrygu at 6:01 PM on March 23, 2002


Oh man, this is going to be abused as a tool of revenge. Everyone I know that has ever called the cable company was to get the other guy in trouble after something unrelated happened like a neighbor with a loud stereo, etc.

If I split the line going to my cable modem and hook another TV up to half, is that allowed?

Nope. Hopefully no one with a bone to pick with you read that.
posted by skallas at 6:14 PM on March 23, 2002


I received this forward yesterday from one of my IP professors:

"From IPO:
*****
DirecTV Sues Radio Host for IP Theft -- Yesterday
DirecTV satellite television service filed suit in New
York under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act against
Sid Rosenberg, host of a sports radio program.
Rosenberg appeared on the "Imus in the Morning" show
and bragged that for four years he used a modified
access card to receive DirecTV service without paying
for it. Imus replied on the air, "Well, that's
dishonest." (Reuters)

*****

And even Imus knew!"

posted by anathema at 6:19 PM on March 23, 2002


So you've decided to steal cable?

Myth: It's only fair to pay for quality first-run movies.
Fact: Most movies shown on cable get two stars or less and are repeated ad nauseum.
posted by wackybrit at 6:22 PM on March 23, 2002


Well it's the cable company's own fault for not upgrading to digital cable. There are no descramblers available for digital cable (that I'm aware of), it's all encrypted. 3 years ago I could understand something like this, but now it just looks like instead of spending money to upgrade a 30 year old cable system, the company just wants you to rat out your neighbor.
posted by geoff. at 6:35 PM on March 23, 2002


Actually, DirecTV is okay with you putting the signal on more than one TV, as long as you buy multiple receivers, both of which are plugged into the same phone line.
posted by bingo at 8:30 PM on March 23, 2002


i used to have time warner and i split the line one going to cable modem, the other to cable box for my tv, they didn't seem to care. i think the installation guy did it even. why would you think they would? i mean you are still paying for the cable box, and the modem and saving them the trouble of making a new hole in your wall...
posted by rhyax at 8:56 PM on March 23, 2002


I turned somebody in, and this is what it told me: "Remember, your submission was totally annonymous [sic] and you will not be contacted."
posted by Doug at 8:59 PM on March 23, 2002


Of course, it'd be really good to f**k over the system, and just submit tons of people into the site.. or hey, even yourself. I'm sure they can't visit thousands of homes, and perhaps they'd quit this charade ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 9:02 PM on March 23, 2002


As long as I have to watch commercials I will continue to find ways to hack & pirate my content deliver system (currently DirecTV). If cable and sat companies are loosing money because of my action then they need to restructure their business plans. I will buy hardware and I will pay for installation - but beyond that I will not pay for a reoccurring monthly fee for broadcast, commercial content.
posted by wfrgms at 9:02 PM on March 23, 2002


Will, I really hope you're joking, or that no-one 'relevant' just read that.. or you might have to make a quick getaway from Seneca :-)
posted by wackybrit at 9:18 PM on March 23, 2002


I will buy hardware and I will pay for installation - but beyond that I will not pay for a reoccurring monthly fee for broadcast, commercial content.

Well, then, I guess you won't get cable, then, will you?
posted by kindall at 9:22 PM on March 23, 2002


Most cable companies (AT&T included) do not charge seperately per each outlet of cable. The charge is usually per receiver (company-issued descrambler), not for cable-ready TVs. There shouldn't be a problem with splitting off the cable modem line and the TV line as far as billing goes, but if you split it too many ways your picture and rate of data transfer have a pretty good chance of not being optimal.

If you don't have cable, but have a cable modem, the installer was supposed to put a trap or filter on the line outside to prevent you from receiving cable signal. If they didn't, oh well. Most cable companies send out an audit team a few times a year to check for traps, and to put them on if they're not there.

The main issue I've seen with cable theft is more a case of cable vandalism...some person wants to steal cable, breaks into the pedestal outside or the apartment box, and promptly knocks out service or degrades signal for part of the neighborhood.
posted by Electric Elf at 10:46 PM on March 23, 2002


Cable companies hate it when you have a line that splits and repeats, because it becomes next to impossible to get a clean line for the cable modem. The industry ideal being a "no-roll" (no van driving to you) install, a line that's been tampered with can mean multiple rolls, and is simply a very easy excuse for them to say "you touched it, you broke it".

I can't see why people are exercised about something like this, though. If you're stealing cable, not only are you not paying for something that has a monthly fee, you've also tampered with property that doesn't belong to you. Last I heard, those were both crimes. Uh, if you can't do the time ....

wfgrms obviously has never heard of the Gillette razor business model. (Famously: Give away the razor holder, get rich selling blades.) C'mon, what kind of business model is "charge for the razor holder, give away blades for the rest of the customer's life"? That's called liability and in honest business plans it's treated as an effective debt. The content is what they're selling, not access. After all, they have to pay periodic fees in order to rebroadcast the content in the first place -- did you think that's free?
posted by dhartung at 10:56 PM on March 23, 2002


We've split off our cable line several times (and don't pay for a receiver) perfectly legal. In the winter we have to turn on an amplifier to strengthen the signal (Time Warner offered to run a second cable line free of charge though). So yeah, if you have a bunch of TVs then go with cable because you can do whatever you want within your walls. Directv, et al, has a different scheme because of the very nature.
posted by geoff. at 11:18 PM on March 23, 2002


On the other hand, the DirecTV deal with TiVo is a pretty decent deal for multiple receivers. They do charge you extra ($5 per box), but this also covers the TiVo service if the extra receiver has it, and that's normally $10.
posted by kindall at 11:29 PM on March 23, 2002


"There shouldn't be a problem with splitting off the cable modem line and the TV line as far as billing goes, but if you split it too many ways your picture and rate of data transfer have a pretty good chance of not being optimal."

Thanks, that's what I was looking for. Actually it was a bit of a gamble doing this in terms of quality... my cable modem was already recieving the signal at -12dB (it should be between +/-15dB), and a splitter adds -3.5dB. So now the signal's -15dB according to the modem...but it works =) And next time there's an outage, I'll know what to check first.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:30 PM on March 23, 2002


IIRC, I have actually seen ads by cable companies touting the ability to view programs on many sets of TV's and paying only once as a reason to choose cable over satellite.
posted by gyc at 12:23 AM on March 24, 2002


Cable companies hate it when you have a line that splits and repeats, because it becomes next to impossible to get a clean line for the cable modem.

I know this is probably a rare occurrance, but when I had my cable modem installed, the tech came in and specifically ran a second line off of the pole into my house, to which only the cable modem is connected. Even the TV in this room is running off a splitter from the original cable line, which comes in from the entire other side of the house.

And our cableco doesn't care about you installing your own splitters for additional TVs; they only charge for additional boxes if you want the digital channels on any of the other TVs.
posted by aaron at 12:56 AM on March 24, 2002


Cable companies hate it when you have a line that splits and repeats, because it becomes next to impossible to get a clean line for the cable modem.

I know this is probably a rare occurrance, but when I had my cable modem installed, the tech came in and specifically ran a second line off of the pole into my house, to which only the cable modem is connected. Even the TV in this room is running off a splitter from the original cable line, which comes in from the entire other side of the house.

And our cableco doesn't care about you installing your own splitters for additional TVs; they only charge for additional boxes if you want the digital channels on any of the other TVs.
posted by aaron at 1:01 AM on March 24, 2002


Back when I used to live with my parents, my dad cancelled everything but basic cable. About a year later, we were only being billed for basic cable, but we still had the rest of the channels. So he calls them up and lets them know. They thank him and let him know that they'll cut off the cable shorty. Six months later we still had the channels. He calls them, writes them, and finally visits them in person before they cut the cable off.

Perfect customer, or what? :)

So how far are you required to go for the cable company anyway?
posted by ODiV at 4:04 PM on March 24, 2002


What is the state of digital cable in the States? It's quite advanced in the UK, to the extent that analogue won't last long now.
posted by salmacis at 12:49 AM on March 25, 2002


More advanced in some cities than others. In Pittsburgh, a city where 90% of residents (within actual city limits) cannot get cable internet (thanks to the AT&T monopoly) the entire TV system is now fiber optic and digital, and the analog system is going to be completely taken offline within the next few weeks.

Some communities, however, are still without cable at all, let alone digital. Please remember that we're a big country with many places where cable is simply impractical.
posted by Dreama at 1:45 AM on March 25, 2002


Fuck Time Warner. Get your descrambers and test cubes here.
posted by aeiou at 10:54 AM on March 25, 2002


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