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Cable customers may need adapter box

Comcast launches full digital delivery system in Roseville
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The Digital Revolution is upon us and Comcast is taking part.

The television, Internet and phone company is moving to a full digital delivery system in the greater Sacramento region, starting with Roseville. The transition has already begun and Comcast is now launching its final stage in an effort to have all local customers go digital by Aug. 9.

“The whole world has gone digital,” said Comcast spokesman Bryan Byrd.

The “digital migration project”

The project involves transforming Comcast’s Limited Basic channels (roughly channels 2 to 34) from an analog to digital format. To do this, customers who have Limited Basic cable in their homes will need a digital transport adapter.

Beginning in June, Comcast representatives have installed one of these adapter boxes on the television set of any customer who set up a new account or had a service call, as needed. But many more people still require one of these free, small, easy-to-install boxes.

Reasons for the transition

Analog takes up a lot of bandwidth. Ten digital channels or three high-definition channels can fit in one analog channel, and cable television providers are looking for ways to free up that space.

“Everyone is transitioning because it allows them to provide more networks and more signals,” Byrd said.

The benefits include better picture and sound quality, and 12 new channels. An earlier phase of the project resulted in Comcast launching 100 new channels.

“People are clamoring for more,” Byrd said. “(And) everyone wants high definition.”

More high definition content is achieved by freeing up more bandwidth space. Opening up the extra space will also create faster Internet speeds for customers.

Impacted customers

Every customer will receive a letter and bill insert explaining the digital migration project.

The people primarily affected include Limited Basic customers, which represent about 10 to 12 percent of Comcast’s clientele in Roseville. These are people who do not already have a digital cable box connected to their television.

But some other customers may also need a box. To find out if you need a digital transport adapter, Byrd suggests asking yourself: “Do I have a box on every television set in the house?”

If yes, then you’re fine. But if you have three TV sets each with a box, and one set without a box in the garage that you use only to watch golf on the weekends, you will need to add the adapter to this set.

“Most people aren’t going to need anything,” Byrd said.

The details

Limited Basic customers will receive three free digital transport adapters. Each additional box will be 50 cents a month. Current digital customers who already have a traditional set-top box plus Limited Basic on additional outlets get two free boxes, and each additional one cost $1.99 a month.

If a customer fails to take action soon, he will lose access to some of the channels he currently receives: “Aug. 9 is the day in Roseville when people will plop down on their couch and turn on the TV and get a screen that says you didn’t pick up your free equipment,” Byrd said.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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How to get the new Comcast equipment

• Call (877) 634-4434 or visit www.digitalnow.comcast.com

• Pick up the box from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 1850 Douglas Blvd. Suite 100 in Roseville