Before the end of this year, Comcast will be completing its transition into all-digital broadcasting, which means that many of their customers may need to get a new box if they want to keep watching local and public channels on their TVs. In the beginning of next week in certain cities and regions, Comcast will begin digital delivery of more than 30 channels previously delivered as analog.
According to Bryan Byrd, a Comcast spokesman, Comcast can deliver 6 digital channels for the bandwidth needed to deliver on analog channel. Switching to delivering only all-digital signals allows more space to be used to add more high-definition channels and faster Internet access, as well as additional future products that can provide a new source of revenue for the company.
In order to receive the soon-to-be digital stations without a box, a TV needs to be outfitted with a Comcast digital tuner. The old way of connecting a cable wire to the back of the TV will no longer be effective once the change is put into place—if viewers try to tune in to the channels without a box, all they will get is a black screen advising them to get a box.
The digital transition will begin on Sept. 12 in Daly City, California. The complete transition to nationwide digital is planned by Dec. 5 of this year.
The boxes needed to receive the digital broadcasts vary by subscription level. Basic cable customers can get up to 3 digital tuners, with additional boxes costing only 50 cents a month. For Comcast customers who subscribe to the more extensive pay TV packages, additional tuners that can accommodate all the premium channels will cost $2 a month.
If you are a Comcast customer and you’re not sure if you’re ready for the transition give them a call and ask their representative if you may be affected. It’s better to be safe than sorry—because what’s the point of paying for TV you can’t even see?