Goto Section: 76.619 | 76.701 | Table of Contents

FCC 76.630
Revised as of
Goto Year:1996 | 1998
Sec. 76.630  Compatibility with consumer electronics equipment.

    (a) Cable system operators shall not scramble or otherwise encrypt 
signals carried on the basic service tier. Requests for waivers of this 
prohibition must demonstrate either a substantial problem with theft of 
basic tier service or a strong need to scramble basic signals for other 
reasons. As part of this showing, cable operators are required to notify 
subscribers by mail of waiver requests. The notice to subscribers

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must be mailed no later than thirty calendar days from the date the 
request waiver was filed with the Commission, and cable operators must 
inform the Commission in writing, as soon as possible, of that 
notification date. The notification to subscribers must state:

    On (date of waiver request was filed with the Commission), (cable 
operator's name) filed with the Federal Communications Commission a 
request for waiver of the rule prohibiting scrambling of channels on the 
basic tier of service. 47 CFR Sec. 76.630(a). The request for waiver 
states (a brief summary of the waiver request). A copy of the request 
for waiver is on file for public inspection at (the address of the cable 
operator's local place of business).
    Individuals who wish to comment on this request for waiver should 
mail comments to the Federal Communications Commission by no later than 
30 days from (the date the notification was mailed to subscribers). 
Those comments should be addressed to the: Federal Communications 
Commission, Cable Services Bureau, Washington, DC 20554, and should 
include the name of the cable operator to whom the comments are 
applicable. Individuals should also send a copy of their comments to 
(the cable operator at its local place of business).

Cable operators may file comments in reply no later than 7 days from the 
date subscriber comments must be filed.
    (b) Cable system operators that provide their subscribers with cable 
system terminal devices and other customer premises equipment that 
incorporates remote control capability shall permit the remote operation 
of such devices with commercially available remote control units or 
otherwise take no action that would prevent the devices from being 
operated by a commercially available remote control unit. Cable system 
operators are advised that this requirement obliges them to actively 
enable the remote control functions of customer premises equipment where 
those functions do not operate without a special activation procedure. 
Cable system operators may, however, disable the remote control 
functions of a subscriber's customer premises equipment where requested 
by the subscriber.
    (c) Cable system operators that use scrambling, encryption or 
similar technologies in conjunction with cable system terminal devices, 
as defined in Sec. 15.3(e) of this chapter, that may affect subscribers' 
reception of signals shall offer to supply each subscriber with special 
equipment that will enable the simultaneous reception of multiple 
signals. The equipment offered shall include a single terminal device 
with dual descramblers/decoders and/or timers and bypass switches. Other 
equipment, such as two independent set-top terminal devices may be 
offered at the same time that the single terminal device with dual 
tuners/descramblers is offered. For purposes of this rule, two set-top 
devices linked by a control system that provides functionality 
equivalent to that of a single device with dual descramblers is 
considered to be the same as a terminal device with dual descramblers/
    (1) The offer of special equipment shall be made to new subscribers 
at the time they subscribe and to all subscribers at least once each 
    (2) Such special equipment shall, at a minimum, have the capability:
    (i) To allow simultaneous reception of any two scrambled or 
encrypted signals and to provide for tuning to alternative channels on a 
pre-programmed schedule; and
    (ii) To allow direct reception of all other signals that do not need 
to be processed through descrambling or decryption circuitry (this 
capability can generally be provided through a separate by-pass switch 
or through internal by-pass circuitry in a cable system terminal 
    (3) Cable system operators shall determine the specific equipment 
needed by individual subscribers on a case-by-case basis, in 
consultation with the subscriber. Cable system operators are required to 
make a good faith effort to provide subscribers with the amount and 
types of special equipment needed to resolve their individual 
compatibility problems.
    (4) Cable operators shall provide such equipment at the request of 
individual subscribers and may charge for purchase or lease of the 
equipment and its installation in accordance with the provisions of the 
rate regulation rules for customer premises equipment used to receive 
the basic service tier, as set forth in Sec. 76.923. Notwithstanding the

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required annual offering, cable operators shall respond to subscriber 
requests for special equipment for reception of multiple signals that 
are made at any time.
    (d) Cable system operators shall provide a consumer education 
program on compatibility matters to their subscribers in writing, as 
    (1) The consumer information program shall be provided to 
subscribers at the time they first subscribe and at least once a year 
thereafter. Cable operators may choose the time and means by which they 
comply with the annual consumer information requirement. This 
requirement may be satisfied by a once-a-year mailing to all 
subscribers. The information may be included in one of the cable 
system's regular subscriber billings.
    (2) The consumer information program shall include the following 
    (i) Cable system operators shall inform their subscribers that some 
models of TV receivers and videocassette recorders may not be able to 
receive all of the channels offered by the cable system when connected 
directly to the cable system. In conjunction with this information, 
cable system operators shall briefly explain, the types of channel 
compatibility problems that could occur if subscribers connected their 
equipment directly to the cable system and offer suggestions for 
resolving those problems. Such suggestions could include, for example, 
the use of a cable system terminal device such as a set-top channel 
converter. Cable system operators shall also indicate that channel 
compatibility problems associated with reception of programming that is 
not scrambled or encrypted programming could be resolved through use of 
simple converter devices without descrambling or decryption capabilities 
that can be obtained from either the cable system or a third party 
retail vendor.
    (ii) In cases where service is received through a cable system 
terminal device, cable system operators shall indicate that subscribers 
may not be able to use special features and functions of their TV 
receivers and videocassette recorders, including features that allow the 
subscriber to: view a program on one channel while simultaneously 
recording a program on another channel; record two or more consecutive 
programs that appear on different channels; and, use advanced picture 
generation and display features such as ``Picture-in-Picture,'' channel 
review and other functions that necessitate channel selection by the 
consumer device.
    (iii) In cases where cable system operators offer remote control 
capability with cable system terminal devices and other customer 
premises equipment that is provided to subscribers, they shall advise 
their subscribers that remote control units that are compatible with 
that equipment may be obtained from other sources, such as retail 
outlets. Cable system operators shall also provide a representative list 
of the models of remote control units currently available from retailers 
that are compatible with the customer premises equipment they employ. 
Cable system operators are required to make a good faith effort in 
compiling this list and will not be liable for inadvertent omissions. 
This list shall be current as of no more than six months before the date 
the consumer education program is distributed to subscribers. Cable 
operators are also required to encourage subscribers to contact the 
cable operator to inquire about whether a particular remote control unit 
the subscriber might be considering for purchase would be compatible 
with the subscriber's customer premises equipment.

    Note: Sec. 76.630: The provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this 
section are applicable July 31, 1994, and June 30, 1994, respectively. 
The provisions of paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section are applicable 
October 31, 1994, except for the requirement under paragraph (c) of this 
section for cable system operators to supply cable system terminal 
devices with dual tuners (as needed), which is applicable October 31, 
1995. The initial offer of special equipment to all subscribers, as 
required under paragraph (c) of this section, shall be made by October 
31, .

[59 1994 FR 25342 , May 16, 1994, as amended at  61 FR 18510 , Apr. 26, 1996]

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                   Subpart L--Cable Television Access

Goto Section: 76.619 | 76.701

Goto Year: 1996 | 1998
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