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Charter clears deck for all digital in Southern Calif.

Fri, 07/26/2013 - 12:16pm
Mike Robuck

Charter Communications is gearing for its next all-digital conversion project. Next month Charter will start clearing out analog signals in Long Beach, Glendale and Burbank in order to offer its subscribers 185 HD channels by the time the conversion is finished in October.

“By removing outdated analog signals, we gain back a tremendous amount of bandwidth in our network,” said John Owen, vice president of Charter’s Southwest Region. “In the space we previously needed for a single analog channel, we can now provide multiple standard definition digital channels or HD channels. It’s a great opportunity for us to maximize value for our customers.”

Disney Junior, Hallmark Movie Channel, DIY Network, FX Movie Channel, CBS Sports Network and FOX Soccer are just a few of the new HD channels that will be available.

The end game of all-digital conversions is to free up bandwidth for more HD channels and VOD offerings, as well as for DOCSIS 3.0-based data services. Unlike other cable operators, namely Comcast, Charter isn’t using digital transport adapters (DTAs) for its all-digital upgrades.

With digital set-top boxes, Charter said its customers will gain VOD access for every television in their homes. Charter has 10,000 VOD options, including more than 1,800 HD titles.

“More than 93 percent of Charter customers in California have adopted digital devices for at least one television in their home,” said Jean Simmons, vice president and general manager for Charter in California. “Now, we can give customers in Long Beach, Glendale and Burbank even more of what they want – a superior digital image, better audio and a diverse selection of HD programming.”

Charter, the nation’s fourth-largest cable operator, is working towards having all digital in place across its entire footprint by the end of next year. Its first major all-digital conversion took place in North Texas earlier this year. 

In May’s first quarter earnings report, Charter CEO and president Tom Rutledge said the all-digital conversions, along with cloud-based user interfaces, were Charter’s top priorities this year.

During the earnings report conference call, Rutledge said the CableCard waiver from the Federal Communications Commission worked in tandem with Charter’s all digital initiative.

“The waiver furthers our goal to end up with a network and product infrastructure that allows boxes from multiple vendors and smart TVs to connect to our network with downloadable security software,” Rutledge said.

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