Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels
Verizon, along with dozens of other TV service providers, was awarded an "omnibus" waiver from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for integrated security set-tops on the condition that it goes all-digital by the transition date. (See Verizon & Others Get Their Waivers.)
The transition is easier for Verizon because most of its 1 million-plus FiOS TV customers already receive digital programming with digital set-tops. The telco doesn't break down subscriber numbers by market, but a Verizon spokesman says only a "very small number" of its New York video customers subscribe to the analog programming tier, which is already being simulcast in the digital domain.
To ensure that customers can continue to obtain video signals following the cut-over, Verizon is giving those customers one free digital-to-analog adapter. Customers will have to pay $3.99 per month for each additional device, a company spokesman said, noting that the new adapter will provide those customers with more channels than they were getting via the analog-only programming tier.
Those subs will also have the option to "upgrade" to more traditional digital set-tops (made by Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)) that can feed in a wider range of video services, including high-definition channels, video-on-demand, and an interactive program guide.
According to a Website dedicated to the transition, Verizon set-tops and digital adapters are not eligible for the DTV Converter Box Coupon Program, which provides up to two $40 vouchers per home for special over-their-air digital-to-analog converter boxes. (See Retailers Answer DTV Converter Call .)
Verizon has not released many technical details about its new converter boxes, but last summer the telco put out a major request for proposal (RFP) on "next generation" set-tops. (See Verizon Set-Top RFP Could Be Worth Billions .)
To spur a digital migration of its own, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is said to be pursuing a simple, $35 Digital Terminal Adapter. (See Comcast Pursuing $35 Digital Dongle.) Among other cable ops, RCN Corp. is using its temporary waiver for the Motorola DCT700 to drive its digital cut-over in Chicago. (See RCN's 'Analog Crush' .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News