[mythtv-users] Datapoint: Bright House Tampa Bay to retain analog tier

Alen Edwards allen.edwards at oldpaloalto.com
Tue Jun 24 15:12:27 UTC 2008

Kevin J. Cummings wrote:
> Alen Edwards wrote:
>> David Brodbeck wrote:
>>> Jay R. Ashworth wrote:
>>>> Bright House Tampa Bay is sending around an email to it's customers
>>>> telling them how they're "already covered" for the DTV cutover next
>>>> year, just because they had the good sense to be BHTB subscribers.
>>> Comcast is saying the same thing in their ads, here, but there are
>>> already rumors that they're planning on switching to digital-only in
>>> some markets.
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>> They can't switch to digital only in the US.  It is against the law.  
>> They can in a few years if the exemption isn't extended.  It is part of 
>> the ATSC law.  I don't remember how long they have to stay analog but I 
>> posted a message about it a few weeks ago.
> Apparently, there is a loophole in that law that says that a cable 
> company is not allowed to drop their analog broadcast *UNLESS* they drop 
> *ALL* of their analog broadcasts and provide *ONLY* digital services.
> (Or so I have read in a thread over at AntennaWeb.com.)
> Many cable companies are seeing this as a way to rent more converter 
> boxes if they drop all of their analog support as most customers don't 
> yet have all digital TVs, customers will need the converter boxes to 
> continue using their old analog TVs.
> I'm not sure of the details, but as I stated in another thread, RCN in 
> Massachusetts has already started their conversions process.  Town by 
> town.  The first ones should be complete early next month.  RCN is 
> (occasionally) running adds on their network that claims that after the 
> cut-over in your town, if you don't have a digital converter box on your 
> TV, all you'll see is *SNOW*.  From what I can tell (I don't live in one 
> of these areas), this may only apply to the areas where RCN only 
> provides a subset of its services, and not the entire channel line-up it 
> does in other towns.  I'm just not sure, and RCN isn't making it easy to 
> find out.
>> Allen
I stand corrected.  Here is the official FAQ from the government that is 
relevant.  I mis-remembered it.

    *Will cable customers with analog TVs have to buy or rent a set-top
    box from their cable company? If so, how much will it cost?*

    First, it's important to know that the February 17, 2009 deadline
    for the digital television transition only applies to full-power
    broadcast stations. Cable companies are not required by the
    government to transition their systems to digital, and can continue
    to deliver channels to their customers in analog. Cable companies
    are actually required by FCC rules to continue offering local
    broadcast stations to their customers in analog as long as they
    offer any analog service. This requirement will continue for at
    least three years after February 17, 2009. The Commission will
    decide in 2011 whether the requirement should be continued beyond
    February 17, 2012. This means that customers who receive analog
    cable service (without a cable set-top box) will be able to continue
    to do so.

    However, for business reasons (among other things, digital is much
    more efficient than analog), cable companies may be interested in
    transitioning their systems from analog delivery to digital
    delivery. If a cable company makes the business decision to go
    all-digital (meaning it will stop offering any channels to its
    customers in analog), it must ensure that its analog customers can
    continue to watch their local broadcast stations. This may require
    customers with analog televisions to get a set-top box. If the cable
    company provides the customer with a set-top box, any costs related
    to it will be determined by the cable company. Therefore, it is
    recommended that analog cable customers contact their cable company
    to ask if a set-top box will be needed, when it will be needed, and
    if there will be a cost.

Sorry for any confusion my earlier post may have caused.


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