For a while Comcast (and other cable providers) have been converting their systems to "all digital" creating a huge inconvenience for customers. If you own a BOCS system you are way ahead of the game and the change will be very simple for you but lets go through what the change is all about.

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Comcast Digital Cable Converters & you

Why are they doing this to me?

The marketing folks at Comcast happily tell you that it is all to give you better service. Keep in mind that cable competes with satellite providers and there is always a competition to have the most high def channels and the most variety of choice including on demand, premium channels, sports feeds etc. Since every analog "slot" (say channel 40) can carry one standard def analog signal or up to 10 or so digital channels (QAM) including a high def channel. So, to pack in more "stuff" it is in the cable company's best interest to transmit as much in digital as they can. Sound confusing? Just watch the video above for pictures that make it all clear!

You might hear commercials, or online mention of all this - Comcast likes to use the phrase "digital transition", or "Comcast digital conversion", and internally they call it project calvary. A poorly chosen reference to their salvation from the dominance of satellite :-)

Sounds good, then why am I "losing" channels?

You are not really losing them, but you will have to get to them in different way. Much like when the broadcast stations converted to digital and you had to pick up a special converter box to keep getting those broadcast stations, cable will require you to pick up a converter box for every TV. Those "extended basic stations" everything from channel 20 up to 99 that typically carry SciFi, Discovery, CNN, Fox news, Disney, Lifetime, and other popular cable channels will no longer be available on TVs without the upgrade. Not a huge deal, but the convenience that distinguished cable from its competitors - the ability to just plug a wire right into your TV and have 90% of your programs instantly available has now gone away.

Just like the broadcast change to digital, this Comcast conversion digital services will definitely take some work on your part!

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What are my options and what do I need to do?

Comcast's recommendation is that you head down to your local Comcast storefront and pick up a DTA (Digital Transport Adapter - yeah they had to call it something no-one would understand just to mess with you) for every TV in your home that does not already have a cable box. If you have a DVR or cable box (SD or HD) at any TV, it is fine and no change is needed. I can't guarantee anything, but we have heard Comcast typically provides the first two DTAs free and more are available for $4 (ish) per month. Obviously, a much better solution would be to put a mini-Cable Box or two as inputs to a BOCS system - especially if you have a lot of TVs - and share them throughout the home (more on that in a minute)

NEXT PAGE - "What exactly is a DTA?"