Originally Posted by stump69
For those interested in whether the cable companies were keeping the analog preferred (unscrambled) tier, I received a notice in my cable bill from Comcast last month that had an update on the OTA digital conversion that tried to clear up any misunderstandings concerning cable. They said that they intended to keep their current analog configuration for an ADDITIONAL 3 YEARS following the mandated Feb 2009 conversion. They reiterated that the mandate is for OTA broadcast stations ONLY and does NOT affect cable carriage anyway. So that was good news to me because as a cable user without a STB, I was concerned about the possibility of having to rewire everything to accommodate digital conversion boxes.
Thankfully they will not be needed for those without any scrambled channels! I already have my cable split 8 ways - with the help of a handy-dandy booster from Radio Shack -(1 HDTV, 2 DVD recorders, 3 family member VCRs and a cable modem for wireless internet. Sheesh!
My understanding is that the FCC allows the Cable Cos to eliminate their analog service as long as they provide means for customers to continue viewing the local channels on their analog sets. Unfortunately they do not have to provide the STBs for free but can charge for them. I have COX who is claiming that they will continue to provide analog channels until 2012. I have sets and my 3576 which rely on the analog channels in addition to the clear QAM channels. I expect COX to continue to eliminate premium analog channels to add more DTV.
From Wajo's post below:
Link - http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html#faq25Will cable customers with analog TVs have to buy or rent a set-top box from their cable company? If so, how much will it cost?
First, it's important to know that the February 17, 2009 deadline for the digital television transition only applies to full-power broadcast stations. Cable companies are not required by the government to transition their systems to digital, and can continue to deliver channels to their customers in analog. Cable companies are actually required by FCC rules to continue offering local broadcast stations to their customers in analog as long as they offer any analog service. This requirement will continue for at least three years after February 17, 2009. The Commission will decide in 2011 whether the requirement should be continued beyond February 17, 2012. This means that customers who receive analog cable service (without a cable set-top box) will be able to continue to do so.
However, for business reasons (among other things, digital is much more efficient than analog), cable companies may be interested in transitioning their systems from analog delivery to digital delivery. If a cable company makes the business decision to go all-digital (meaning it will stop offering any channels to its customers in analog), it must ensure that its analog customers can continue to watch their local broadcast stations. This may require customers with analog televisions to get a set-top box. If the cable company provides the customer with a set-top box, any costs related to it will be determined by the cable company. Therefore, it is recommended that analog cable customers contact their cable company to ask if a set-top box will be needed, when it will be needed, and if there will be a cost.
It is also important to note that a cable set-top box is different from a digital-to-analog converter box. A digital-to-analog converter box is necessary only for analog televisions that receive their programming over-the-air using a rooftop antenna or "rabbit ears" connected to the set. A digital-to-analog converter box is not necessary for a TV connected to a paid television service such as a cable or satellite TV provider. Information on any set-top boxes needed for a paid service such as cable or satellite should be obtained from the service provider.