Mediacom Communications has announced it is upgrading network technology to provide area customers with a major expansion of its high-definition (HD) lineup, while also eliminating analog reception for Family Cable video channels.
Mediacom’s upgrade will affect the Family Cable channel series local subscribers find on their lineup between 17 and 78. Those channels will transition to a digital-only frequency in May and continued reception will require the use of either a digital converter or a digital adapter. Current customers can receive up to three digital adapters at no cost through June 30, 2015.
Local areas affected will be Adams Lake, LaGrange County, Howe, and the Town of LaGrange.
Company officials describe the digital upgrade as an investment to give customers improved picture and audio quality and larger channel lineups. The upgrade will include adding dozens of channels in the popular high-definition (HD) format to deliver a lineup with nearly 100 HD channel choices.
Mike Dickerson, Mediacom area operations director, explained that analog television technology has been eclipsed by the higher-quality and more efficient digital technology. Currently, he said, most customers use at least one television connected to a digital converter, often referred to as a cable set-top box. The converter box enables customers to receive channels beyond a Family Cable subscription and digital features such as OnDemand viewing and digital video recorders (DVRs).
“Those televisions already connected to a Mediacom converter will not be affected by our digital upgrade, they are ready to go,” Dickerson said. However, he added, other televisions in the home, regardless of age, will each need a digital device to receive channels 17-78.
“Mediacom’s digital adapter is a small, simple device we are widely distributing at no cost to our customers for approximately a year,” Dickerson said. “The adapter connects to the TV and functions as a receiver to recognize the secure digital video signals as they arrive from our network to be displayed on the TV screen.”
The upgrade of Mediacom’s fiber-optic network gives the company the ability to deliver more advanced services that today’s digital consumers want in their homes and businesses, Dickerson explained. With the elimination of each analog channel, network space will be available to potentially carry three high-definition channels or 10 standard-definition digital channels (SD). Dozens of new HD channels and others will be added to Mediacom’s local lineup in June.
The phase-out of analog television transmission for channels 17-78 will begin May 20, but Mediacom is encouraging its customers to get “digital-ready” now. Customer events will be held in four local communities April 9 through May 10. Local service representatives will be on hand at each event to answer customer questions and demonstrate how to connect a digital adapter to a TV.
Local customer service events for distribution of adapters and assistance will be held May 7 a the Ramada Inn, 3855 North SR 127 in Angola, and May 10 at the Lake James Golf Course, 1445W 275N in Angola. Both open houses will be held from 2-7 p.m.
Customers can acquire digital adapters during the Open House events, or by visiting Mediacom’s local offices in Auburn, Kendallville, and Decatur, Ind. They can also order by phone or online and receive free shipping. Order online at www.Mediacom Cable.com/getdigital or call toll-free, 1-800-479-2095.
Customers who choose a subscription to local TV only – channels 2-15 – will not be affected by this upgrade. Mediacom will continue to carry channels 2-15 in both analog and digital formats (including HD channels from local television stations).
Current customers may receive up to three digital adapters at no additional cost through June 30, 2015. When the lease-free offer expires on June 30, 2015, an equipment fee of $1.99 will be applied to each digital adapter. This equipment lease applies to additional adapters beyond three per household and adapters ordered after July 31, 2014.
Digital adapters are not needed on televisions connected to Mediacom digital converters (larger cable set-top boxes).
Phase 1 of the channel conversionbegins May 20. This will be one of two phases to convert channels to digital-only reception. Mediacom will eliminate analog signal carriage for a subset of Family Cable channels.
June 3 will mark the beginning date for channel conversiondigital reception only for channels 17 and above.
Mid-June brings the launch of “Big HD” – Mediacom will add dozens of HD channels to the lineup. These will be automatic additions with no change in subscription price for customers equipped to receive HD channels.