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Why Go All-Digital?

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Operators who made a firm commitment to go all-digital in the near future got special consideration from the FCC on CableCARD waiver requests. But there’s another reason to push digital penetration rates to 100%. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is now floating a proposal to mandate that cable companies transmit so-called “must carry” channels in both digital and analog format after February 17, 2009. Martin’s argument is that homes still tied to analog cable systems will not have access to the digital must-carry channels, which consist primarily of local, public television content.

Of course, the cable industry isn’t thrilled with this proposal given the bandwidth implications. Ultimately everyone wants to go all-digital as a way to reclaim bandwidth. But while that transition takes place (tens of millions of customers still have to make the digital switch), cable companies could find themselves facing even greater bandwidth pressure.

11 Responses

  1. Not sure I understand what you mean here Mari. For each analog channel converted to digital, cable can fit ~30 SD channels. Sure HD must carry might hurt, but even so, you can fit 3 HD channels in the space of one analog, so either way they are better off.

    The real issue for cable companies is convincing customers not to switch providers now that everyone requires they use a STB to get the channels they want. Not to mention providing those STBs for next to nothing.

  2. Yes, they’re better off once they go all-digital. But in the meantime this proposal would mean they have to transmit the must-carry channels in digital *and* analog. The analog part is the problem.

  3. […] [Via ConnectedHome2go.com] […]

  4. […] Why Go All Digital: Connected Home 2 Go […]

  5. […] wrote last month about the “must carry” debate going on between the FCC and the cable industry. Now there’s more to add to the story. The NCTA […]

  6. […] Santo over at CED has a great article up on the bandwidth implications of the DTV transition. Specifically he outlines why cable hasn’t gone all-digital already (cost of adding in CableCARDs […]

  7. […] we needed standard-definition and high-def products, DVRs and non-DVRs, analog-digital set-tops and all-digital set-tops. While we were at it, we also created a new external set-top design. It was a massive […]

  8. I think the prices for cable TV are very high. But so is everything today. Do you think that Dish Network is a better value?

  9. […] we needed standard-definition and high-def products, DVRs and non-DVRs, analog-digital set-tops and all-digital set-tops. While we were at it, we also created a new external set-top design. It was a massive […]

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