Free Cable = More charges for cable company?

While discussing what happened to tanookie in this thread, a question came up.
In the thread she talks about how the cable company came out to put a trap on her Cable line becuase she was recieving the tv signal and not paying for it (they had forgotten to do it during the install and tanookie did not even have a tv hooked up to cable, and in fact didn’t even know it was on).

So the question came up - Does it cost the Cable company anything because someone (Legally or illegally) is recieving free cable?

As I mentioned in the other thread, it was another Doper who commented on that. He had worked (or still works) for a cable company, and he explained where all the charges come from. It was probably a Pit thread, one that he didn’t start, and was probably 1-2 months ago.

That’s all I remember.

Well, as far as distribution goes, it doesn’t cost them any more, because the signal is going to your house anyway (up to the trap), so they incur signal losses due to the extra tap whether it’s trapped at your house or not.

But in that other thread, more abstract costs like royalties were mentioned. Someone who’s an expert in this will have to comment, but I don’t see how that makes any sense. In order for anyone to demand royalties for the signal you’re watching, wouldn’t they have to know you’re watching it? If the cable company doesn’t know you’re watching it, how does anyone else? The only explanation I can see is if the cable company has to pay a certain amount of royalties etc based on estimates of how many people could be using the signal without paying (in which case, your specific act of stealing cable doesn’t directly contribute to their costs, but the fact that people steal cable at all does).

I think that this is the thread that you’re referring to tdn (please correct me if I’m wrong).

I wondered if this might be the post that you recall -

In that case, they do get charged per customer but not for a person who would be accidently hooked up or stealing.

Poorly made splices can degrade the signal for other customers, which could cost the cable company time and money to investigate the problem. That shouldn’t be a problem if everything is done right, though.