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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 24, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Comcast digital update: Channel changes underway

After mentioning Comcast’s digital switch on Monday, I heard from several “expanded basic” subscribers who said they’re losing channels.

What’s happening, according to spokesman Steve Kipp, is that Comcast has started converting blocks of channels 30 to 70 from analog to digital.

As reported earlier, expanded basic customers will need to have some sort of Comcast converter box to get the digital channels, even if their TV has a digital tuner. Comcast is providing converters or a free set-top box to affected customers.

Comcast hasn’t yet scrambled the digital channels, so subscribers with a digital TV tuner may still be receiving them without a converter device. Subscribers with a non-digital tuner who haven’t yet added a converter may start “losing” channels as the conversion proceeds.

Channels 50 and 61 — Oxygen and CMT — went digital in mid-May under agreements Comcast made with those networks.

On Monday Comcast also began converting more channels in Bellevue and Spokane, moving a block of 20 channels to digital. The remaining 20 will be moved at the end of July in those areas. The conversion is already complete in Everett and some smaller suburbs. The process should begin in Seattle in October.

The same process is going to happen throughout Comcast’s network eventually. Moving from analog to digital will free up spectrum, increasing the capacity of its system so it can add new services such as faster broadband and additional channels.

But it’s still a hassle for customers who have to add a converter.

Here are the blocks of channels being converted to digital. This list was provided by Kipp, who said the block on the left converted Monday in Bellevue and Spokane:

channels.JPG

Comments | Topics: Comcast, Digital TV, DTV

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