Originally Posted by jimwhite
"I know cable companies want to extract as much as they can from every subscriber, but I would think they would know that if they force every 'basic service' subscriber to go digital, they are going to lose a bunch of subscribers."
how so? when (not if) the locals go digital, they won't have a choice beyond:
1) leasing digital converter box from cable company (same number of channels)
2) buying converter box for OTA locals (far less channels)
3) buying a digital TV (bigger $$$$) for OTA (far less channels)
4) going satellite
5) Do nothing. Cable companies can keep the 'analog delivery system' going for as long as they want (as far as I know). The only thing the cable company will need to do is change the input of their modulators (for the locals) to their digital receivers. They already have the digital receivers for the locals, just hook up a/v output of digital receiver to a/v input of modulator.
If someone has cable split to 3-4 tv's in the house, under the above scenario they don't have to buy a box of any kind for each tv. If the cable company decides to chuck the 'analog delivery system', then a box (or cablecard) is needed for every tv in the house. I don't think they want to give their subscribers reasons to start looking at other options (such as satellite, or realize how good ota can be).
Let's say the 'switch' is going to happen in 1 month-
Cable companies can say- 'Don't worry, if you are a subscriber of Super Duper Cable, you don't have to do a thing. BUT, if you want take advantage of the new Super High Definition Incredible TV Signal, we have a box we can rent you for only......'
The 90% of ota people will wake up some morning, turn on their tv, see a snowy picture, and then call the tv repairman.