EMMETSBURG - Mediacom Communications announced Friday it is upgrading network technology to provide customers throughout northwest Iowa with an unprecedented expansion of its high-definition channel lineup, while also eliminating analog reception for most Family Cable video channels.
Mediacom's upgrade will remove analog television reception for all but a limited number of basic broadcast channels, which is a change to digital-only reception for channels 23 through 79. Company officials describe the digital upgrade as an investment to give all customers improved picture quality and expanded channel selections, particularly the capacity to double the number of HD channel selection, boosting it to nearly 100 HD viewing choices.
"With digital technology, consumers gain more value and a bigger channel selection than ever before, as well as the superior viewing experience of HDTV," said Mediacom Vice President Bill Jensen. "To make the most of investments in newer technologies, it's a positive step to remove outdated analog bandwidth. Our customers will quickly gain a huge HD boost and can be confident we'll always keep pace with their demand for faster broadband Internet speeds."
Jensen explained that Mediacom's network has been delivering both analog and digital signals to televisions in customer homes and businesses for many years. The upgrade will remove analog signals for the channel series between 23 and 79. As each analog channel is eliminated, he said, network capacity becomes available to potentially carry three high-definition channels or 10 standard definition digital channels (SD). Later in December, Mediacom plans to add more than 50 new HD channels to area subscribers.
The phase-out of analog television signals will require customers using non-digital televisions to use digital adapters to view Family Cable channels. To transition customers to digital television, Mediacom is providing digital adapters on a lease-free basis through December 2013 (for current customers and limited to three adapters per customer).
Less impact to customers using Digital Cable
or digital-ready TVs
Customers using digital cable service or newer televisions with built-in digital tuners (known as QAM) are digital-ready. Those customers will not need additional equipment. Jensen said that more than half of its area customers currently subscribe to digital cable to use interactive features or to view HD or other channel sets. But within that category, he added, many people continue to use analog televisions in secondary locations throughout their homes or offices. The adapters will allow digital signals to display on those older televisions.
"We're not advocating that non-digital televisions go to a landfill," Jensen said. "Instead, we're providing a solution to transition consumers into the world of digital television where they will gain more viewing choices and greater value."
Customers will be encouraged to attend open house events to be held November 1 through 9 in Algona, Belmond, Cherokee, Estherville, Fort Dodge, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Storm Lake. Each open house will provide a setting where additional customer service employees and local network technicians will show customers how to connect digital adapters and provide them with the device needed to extend the lives of non-digital TVs.
Digital adapters can be picked-up at Mediacom's local offices in Algona, Fort Dodge, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Storm Lake. Or, customers may choose to order online or by phone and receive free shipping: www.MediacomCable.com/getdigital.
The phase-out of analog reception will be noticeable to customers on or around Nov. 28. On that date, a subset of 10 Family Cable channels will change to digital reception. Two weeks later (Dec. 12) the transition to an all-digital lineup will be complete.