Charter releases more details on digital conversion

News-DemocratFebruary 27, 2014 

An all-digital conversion is less than a month away for metro-east Charter Communications customers and the St. Louis-based cable TV provider has identified four locations where St. Clair and Madison county residents can find digital converters.

Existing and future customers will soon be required to have a set-top box installed on each TV set to receive the digital service. Charter spokeswoman Kim Noetzel said customers will be notified by mail and through their televisions of the digital conversion. Depending where customers live in the metro-east, they will have until March 18 to March 25 to make the transition. Those who do not will no longer be able to access Charter's service.

Local customers can expect to be notified soon about the St. Louis-based cable company's transition to an all-digital network, providing high-definition channels and faster Internet speeds. When notified, local customers will be able to go to one of four metro-east Charter stores to receive a digital box, which Charter said they should be able to install on their own.

Customers can now acquire a digital box at the following Charter offices: 1638 Carlyle Ave. in Belleville, 4650 Magna Drive in Belleville, 210 W. Division St. in Maryville and 317 Homer Adams Parkway, Suite A, in Alton.

Noetzel said Charter is making it easy for customers to receive a digital box free of charge for one, two or five years, depending on the customer's programming package and other qualifying factors. Customers should consult with a Charter store representative to confirm their eligibility for set-top boxes.

Noetzel said metro-east customers initially can acquire a digital box is at no cost. Depending on their level of service, most customers will be charged $6.99 a month per digital box in one, two or five years after the conversion. This also will give customers more than 12,000 video-on-demand options, including more than 3,000 in high definition. She said if a customer requires additional boxes beyond what is included in the box offers available, the standard box rate of $6.99 would apply.

"We're giving our customers more options by replacing the analog signal and giving them more HD access," Noetzel said. "We're giving customers better quality and also faster Internet speeds."

Noetzel said customers should consult with a Charter store representative to confirm their eligibility for set-top boxes. She said both limited and basic or expanded basic subscribers are eligible for two free boxes. There are different offers available.

The digital boxes consumers bought to use for their analog TVs prior to this will need the digital set-top box issued by Charter. "Even if it's a new set with an integrated digital tuner, you still must have a box capable of displaying the encrypted signal from our network," she said.

No channels are being dropped and subscribers can expect some additional channels. For expanded basic subscribers, some of the additions include TBN-HD, MTV 2 HD and FX Movie Channel HD. A few of the new basic HD channels include Home Shopping HD, CSPAN HD, WGN America HD, QVC-HD, Univision HD and more. A full channel line-up is available online at www.charter.com/digitalnow.

Charter President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Rutledge said the cable company has invested more than $2 billion nationwide to upgrade its network. Once the upgrade is completed, the company will also double residential Internet speeds at no additional cost.

Charter has already completed all-digital upgrades for customers in Texas, California, South Carolina, Michigan and Massachusetts. The cable company plans to complete the upgrade in all 29 states that its serves by the end of the year.

For more information, call 1-888-438-2427.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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