Now that the switch is official, Charter Communications customers in central Wisconsin will need a digital receiver to watch TV once the changeover from analog to digital is complete. Charter will be initially providing free digital receivers for each TV, which usually costs $5.99 a month.
The changeover to all digital broadcasting should be completed between 12 to 18 months. Charter’s communications director John R. Miller said, “Even if you have a digital TV, you will need a digital receiver from Charter…Over the past year, Charter has begun removing certain analog signals from our channel lineup. This is part of the evolution of Charter TV and will be taking place across our service areas through the next couple of years,”
Fans of public access TV shouldn’t worry that Charter’s all-digital initiative will affect them. Tom Loucks, the public coordinator at River Cities Community Access in Wisconsin Rapids, opined: “I don’t anticipate this affecting public access television. As long as they don’t move our station (location), this probably won’t affect much.”
Though most people have digital TVs, it’s the elderly who are most likely to have analog TVs. The digital conversion will most likely affect this demographic the most, and may cause some financial hardship. Said Dam Kummer, director of Marshfield Public Access: “People know they’ll have a better picture on a digital (television), but a lot of elderly people are the ones who have the old analog TVs. It’ll affect the elderly more so than anyone else.”
However, the switch to digital comes with many important benefits that will keep Charter competitive with other pay TV providers. This means that the company can start offering more than 10,000 Entertainment on Demand options, DVR service, and parental controls to customers who previously had analog. Though the switch can be disruptive to some people, the transition should be welcomed because of the advantages and added value to the service.