To the editor:
I read the recent letter written by Steven West regarding Comcast with interest and concern. I feel it is important to provide clarification around two separate initiatives that are causing much confusion to television viewers around Atlanta: the FCC's mandated Digital TV Transition (DTV) and Comcast's movement of analog channels to digital.
I'd like to offer Mr. West an apology if he was told that the missing channels from his line-up were part of the conversion mandated by the FCC. This is not the case.
The History Channel and TV Guide Channel were moved from Comcast's expanded basic analog service to the Digital Starter package on Nov. 12. Over the past two years, Comcast has migrated channels from the analog line-up to digital as the need for bandwidth continues to grow due to customer demand for additional High Definition TV, ON DEMAND programming and faster Internet speeds. During the past two years, Comcast in Atlanta has added 22 High Definition channels, increased ON DEMAND programming from 3,000 to 8,000 hours and increased the upload speeds for High Speed Internet. You see, the same space required to carry just one analog channel can carry two HDTV channels or up to 10 digital channels. Every channel is important to someone, and these decisions are never easy.
The good news is for the exact same price a customer pays today for expanded basic analog service on the primary outlet ($52.50 per month), they can now receive Comcast's Digital Starter package and continue to receive History Channel and TV Guide. In addition, they will receive 48 digital music audio channels, C-Span 2, Hallmark, MoviePlex (movie channel) Country Music Television (CMT), FearNet, Oxygen, Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters (AIB), plus an interactive program guide and access to our ON DEMAND programming; a tremendous amount of value all for the same price. The cost of the digital converter box required to receive this programming is included in the monthly charge for the primary outlet. Customers can contact 404-266-2278 (404-COMCAST) for special offers if they require additional boxes for their televisions.
On Feb. 17, 2009, by law, full-power television stations nationwide must begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format. Digital television (DTV) is an innovative type of broadcasting technology that will give viewers crystal-clear pictures and sound, and more programming choices than ever before.
Although the television stations will broadcast the signals in digital, Comcast will convert the new digital broadcast signals back to analog at our headends, so there will NOT be a need for additional equipment (boxes) in order to receive the broadcast channels on the basic tier of analog programming.
All of Comcast's customers will continue to receive broadcast channels without interruption after Feb. 17, 2009, on all TV's that are connected to cable.
For those that need to take action and choose their digital broadcast transition (DTV) solution, Comcast is offering low-cost solutions, including free basic cable for 12 months to those who sign up for at least one additional Comcast service.
Comcast is committed to helping consumers get through this transition and is conducting an extensive communications campaign to educate consumers about the transition including TV ads, outbound calling, bill messages, brochures and our Web site www.comcast.com/dtv.
At Comcast, we work very hard to ensure that our customers receive the greatest value in entertainment and communications for their money. We are also working hard to stay on the cutting edge of new technology in order to meet the demands and expectations for HDTV, ON DEMAND, digital video recorders and more.
Area Vice President