Mediacom expanding digital service, customers may need box - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mediacom expanding digital service, customers may need box

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

One of Iowa's largest cable providers is going all digital.  Right now, Mediacom customers receive both a digital and analog signal.  But starting Tuesday, customers in 12 counties will lose the analog signal for channels 23 and above.

(The affected counties are:  Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Grundy, Hardin, Tama, & Winneshiek)

Mediacom says this change is all about staying competitive, by offering more digital and high definition channels.  And it's possible to offer those extra stations by eliminating the analog signal for many cable channels.  So some customers will now have to make changes to keep seeing those stations.

You may now be seeing a white screen on some of your favorite Mediacom stations.  It's a warning that as of November 15, you'll need a small, digital adapter to view several of your channels if you've got a TV made before 2007.

"Basically what we're doing is moving a set of analog signal channels to digital in order to free up more bandwidth.  And when we shut down the analog, that will allow us to put provide more HD channels and better content variety," said Thais Carnall with Mediacom.

But some customers have been confused since they didn't need an adapter from Mediacom when the nationwide digital transition happened two years ago.  The difference now is that the company is going to quit providing a simulcast of both analog and digital signals.  That not only provides room for extra high-def channels, it will also improve picture quality and sound.

"The thing to remember here is it's just moving toward improving technology to add the bulk of the 32 more HD channels," Carnall said.

The same digital switch was made in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City earlier this year with no added cost to customers.  And right now, the company isn't planning on fee hikes down the road to cover the cost of making this digital transition.

If you have an older TV, you can call Mediacom or stop by one of the company's local offices to pick up a digital adapter.  Up to three boxes are available per household for free.  After January 2013, boxes will cost 99 cents a month each.  If you have only basic cable, your service won't be changing and there's no need for an adapter.

Mediacom's new high definition channels will be available to customers starting November 22.  After the digital transition is completed here, Quad Cities area customers will undergo the same switch.

To learn more about Mediacom's digital switch or to request an adapter box, call (855) 230-2225 or visit www.mediacomcable.com/getdigital.

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