Cable TV Alternatives

All-Digital Signal

Charter Spectrum® recently switched the cable television signal of Pittsfield to 100% digital signals. In order to operate digital channels, customers will now have to rent a digital cable box. This digital cable initiative was previously established in South County and Northern Berkshire.

The main community access channels in Pittsfield community television are public, government, and education. Once the cable television changed to all-digital, these channels that were previously streaming on channels 16-18, 19-1, and 19-3, would be moved to channels 1301, 1302, and 1303.

In fact, reports say that Charter Spectrum® is digitalizing their cable signal all over the country in order to encrypt the signals. However, this means that Spectrum® customers will not be able to watch programs if they do not have a digital cable box for every television. If they try to watch a program on TV by just connecting it to the cable like before, they will receive just a black screen.

Regarding the encryption, the Executive Director of PCTV, Shawn Serre, said, “What that means is that they are preventing digital signals through their cable system being picked up in the open, so they can only be coded with their boxes. If you were to connect a cable directly to your TV, there were still a bunch of channels that you could pick up, but by putting all of them on a digital signal, they can only be received by a box.”

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On-Demand programming

With this recent upgrade, all the analog signals are removed and the capacity of the cable network is increased. This will allow the users to watch high definition channels, have access to better internet speeds, and enjoy seamless On-Demand programming.

A spokesperson for Charter Communications®, Heidi Vandenbrouck, said that this all-digital upgrade would lead to many future innovations. “The encryption is literally the last step in the process and is about to make sure customers are receiving the programming they subscribe to,” he said.

However, the requirement of additional digital boxes did not go well in the other municipalities of Berkshire. In December, the communities in Berkshire asked the State Attorney General to interfere in their cable box controversy with Charter Spectrum®. However, it is to be noted that most customers of Spectrum® will be eligible for one free digital cable box, at least for a limited period. After that, the monthly charge for Spectrum® cable TV box will be $6.99, and for the customers who have legacy Time Warner Cable® packages, the monthly rental will be $11.75.