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Can Cable TV Companies Tell What Channels You Are Watching?

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Floogeldy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:01 AM
Original message
Can Cable TV Companies Tell What Channels You Are Watching?
I'm not generally a paranoid person but since they can specifically send to a subscriber a PPV movie, can't they tell what stations you are watching with that cable box?

Okay, maybe I'm a little bit paranoid!

It seems to me the technology is here for cable companies to do that.

Poor Nielsen.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. Yes they can. So stop watching cable news.
ok, I'm not sure if they can or not, but I've asked myself the same question.

so stop watching cable news anyways.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:05 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. That's one reason I didn't turn on the Pub convention!
I didn't want to contribute to their total viewership!
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm curious too! I don't know, but I think they probably can.
I don't think you're paranoid at all. I have 2 digital boxes in our house, and I would think with that technology, that was one way they tracked what chanels to keep and which ones to get rid of.

I'll be curious to see what others respond to you.
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
3. Tivo can if you feed the info into them

But I love my TIVO so much that I don't care.

I just don't rate the programs that Ilike the most on Tivo.
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ChoralScholar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:05 AM
Response to Original message
5. in two-way cable systems
(as most are these days) the technology is there for the taking. Whether or not they use it, who knows?

However, on an old one-directional cable system, it's just a range of frequencies coming down a cable.. you pick and choose at your leisure to view, and no one is the wiser.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Only from their box, though.
Even in the 2-way, broadband cable distribution systems allocate the 'legacy' channels to their prescribed frequencies. This is why the 'box' can be bypassed on a '"cable-ready" TV.
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are_we_united_yet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. unless recorded in the cable box
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Sugarbleus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:09 AM
Response to Original message
7. Paranoid??? Paranoid? PARANOID???????
LOL. Hey I heard this a few years back--I had friends that worked for Phone and Power companies. Don't know if they are doing it yet, but I was told the technology is available. Think of the satellites and surveillence equipment in use today by Feds/military and what it's capapble of doing. A friend of mine who works for a utility company has access to a satellite program where they can zoom into a neighborhood right down to the ground in some other city and read numbers off your house. Think of scanners, fiber optics, microwave tech., and so forth ad infinitum. Almost nothing is impossible. Yikes.

Think about it.
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Floogeldy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. They could put a microphone in cable boxes . . .
. . . or TV sets, or computers . . . . and activate it without your knowledge.

But surely "they" have more important things to do.

:tinfoilhat:
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Sugarbleus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:45 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. One would think so LOL.... eom
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:12 AM
Response to Original message
8. I think they can...
Edited on Mon Sep-06-04 01:12 AM by 4_year_nightmare
I'm basing this on the fact that our cable co. has eliminated channels several different times in the past due to low viewership.
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are_we_united_yet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
9. Technically
it is possible and not very hard. But typically they are interested only as far as they can make a buck from you. (I don't think) it is widespread.
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Floogeldy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Maybe they went by Neilsen
When they eliminated those channels.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
12. Yes and no...

On certain systems, it is possible to track which channels are watched the most, but that doesn't mean this is commonly associated with individual viewership. The cost/benefit ratio of such a thing makes it impractical.

The better question is who, besides advertisers, cares. Television is so sanitized and generic that it would be difficult if not impossible to build a profile of someone for anything other than broad marketing purposes by tracking which stations a household watches most often.

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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-06-04 02:07 AM
Response to Original message
15. I was just discussing this, tonight. We didn't think so,
otherwise they wouldn't need Nielsen or Arbitrion. :shrug:
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