I had disengaged from this debate since I felt I had already made the point that many of us do not even remotely consider this theft, and now I'm (probably unwisely) wading back in. I appreciate others weighing in to support my view, and I do appreciate your view as well I.P., even if I continue to disagree with you.
Not that chucklesmcgee needs any help from me defending himself, but he did NOT say what you claim (nor did I). Neither one of us has attempted to argue that if you aren't caught or prosecuted, then it's not theft. That would obviously be a fallacious argument. And I don't engage in such unethical behavior and would not advise anyone else to either. We do not believe it is stealing, period, for the other reasons we have laid out, because of our interpretation of the legal statute.
We tried to add weight to our argument by pointing out that never, ever, has a case been brought against someone for this, and what could be a possible explanation for that if it is theft, as you say? Is it because the police are too apathetic, or because they don't have the resources, or any other excuse? Heck, they prosecute thieves all the time where I live. No, I think a very legitimate explanation of why no one is prosecuted in such cases is because it is not illegal.
I'm sure there are tens of thousands of people in my city alone receiving cable television in this way, so there are plenty of easy pickings for criminal cases if it was, in fact, illegal. The cable company could be screaming bloody murder to the local D.A. that they are being ripped off by the millions if they had a problem with it. Yet there are no complaints, so why would that be? It's not like they don't know they are sending me the signal. I've received no "cease and desist" demands either. I got the opposite instruction from the company representative at my home (even if was not from the CEO of the national corporation, as you suggested): "We're turning off your premium TV service, but you'll continue to receive basic cable with your internet signal."
One thing I do agree with you, I.P., is that it doesn't matter what you or I do personally, but I would hope the others reading do not take your alarmist (and not legal expert) interpretation as gospel. I believe you are reading way too much into the statute you cited, but to each his own.