Rob Pegoraro's post | Latest updates on Sulia
RCN closes clear QAM, leaving some viewers with a choice: pay for an HD box or downgrade to standard-definition TV.
The cable provider RCN shut off unencrypted basic cable to most of its subscribers today, following a shutdown of "clear QAM" for Chicago viewers in December. The company says this will let it activate service faster and stop theft of it (www.rcn.com/boxes).
But since the free digital adapters RCN's handing out only deliver a standard-definition signal, the minority of viewers who used the QAM tuners in their HDTVs to receive basic-tier channels will now need to pay $9.95 a month for an HD box if they want to keep a high-def picture.
The last item in RCN's FAQ suggests it knows this won't please customers: "I can get my video content from other sources. Why do I need RCN cable?"