You’ve probably seen the ads from Comcast about the transition to digital TV where Comcast proudly claims they’ve got you covered.
Well leave it to Comcast to pat itself on the back and wink at you. Turns out it isn’t true, at least not anymore.
In the State of Washington, Seattle area at least, Comcast is going nearly all digital in 2009. Brier Dudley from The Seattle Times blogs about the DTA boxes everyone with an analog TV will soon need there if they want to be able to watch any of the channels they pay for.
Channels 2-29 will remain analog, however any channel above 29 will be digital and encrypted. That means even if you have a TV with QAM tuner or you only subscribe to so called Expanded Basic tier, channels 29-99, you will need at least DTA converter box. This will also be happening in South Florida!
According to the article Comcast will be giving two free boxes to any customer who needs them. More than that and it will cost you $1.99 per box per month.
Another downside to the DTA box are that Windows Media Center systems do not always like it.
Also the box will only work with the remote that comes with it. No universal remotes available, at least at the moment.
In our area, at least in Broward, Comcast already simulcasts the basic tier digitally and has done it for a while. You can see the macroblocking typical for digital channels if you have a cable box or DVR.
Around January 14 2009 Oregon will be getting the swith. I think it’s safe to say that our area is not far behind and every customer here with expanded basic tier will need the DTA box.
You can check Brier Dudley’s article out for the extensive Q&A with a Comcast rep if you want to know what to expect when Comcast switches the system in our area to all digital and encrypted.