Thursday, February 19, 2009

Digital Transition

So I work for a cable company and I have a lot of inside info into the digital transition so I thought it would be nice of me to share. I can't "copy and paste" the documents I have into public posts like this, but I can share what I know.

Before February 17th, and even still now, some cable and all antenna televisions get analog reception. The analog signal clogs up the airwaves for government and emergency communications and it is also unhealthy to have all that stuff floating around and microwaving our brains, so The Man (the FCC) has mandated a switch to digital which stays confined to the wires.

The date for the switch was February 17th, but the government ran out of converter box coupons and they just felt like being nice to people so they postponed the switch to June 12th. Pretty much everyone was ready for the February switch anyway, so companies will be switching over any time between those dates and even after that date some companies will leave a "night light" analog signal on for a while to throw a bone to everyone who isn't prepared.

Important Facts:
*If you are plugged in to cable through a cable provider with a digital tv set your service will not be interrupted. You do not need a converter box.
*If you have an antenna or basic cable you may still be able to receive an even more limited lineup at the charity of the provider for a limited time.
*Analog-only TV sets should still be able to receive the upgraded signal but at low power "Class A or translator television" lineup.
*You cannot make your antenna work with a converter box. You need to plug into cable.
*Some areas will lose Closed Captioning and TV Guide features in the basic lineup.
*Some areas will see their picture in a wider format with black bars on top and on bottom of the screen. This is not a cable provider issue, but the actual channel broadcaster's.

For more information, go to www.charter.com/localtv or www.charter.com/digitaltransition.

Crappy Channels

I just had a funny experience. A customer called and in a relatively upset tone he said,
"Hey, what's going on with my TV!?"
"I don't know. What is going on with your TV?" I said.
"Well, channel 4 is coming in crappy and channel 2 has been coming in crappy for weeks now and a few other channels are getting crappy reception..."
"Well," I said, "Let me get you to the Crappy Channel Department."
His frustration turned into a laugh and I sent him to technical support :)