Video services

Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) expects to say goodbye to its analog channels in time for the Feb. 19, 2009 digital TV transition. The carrier has picked New York to start the analog phase-out, and expects to have its signals cut over by April 21. (See Verizon Phases Out Analog.)

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

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OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 3:44:02 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels I live in one of the early VZ FIOS neighborhoods. As far as I can tell at best they only have 1 in 10 homes passed with FIOS TV service in my affluent neighborhood. Many more have FIOS Internet service.

Several of my neighbors have converted back to analog cable (TWC) so that they get service to all their TVs at a reasonable price. (most still get FIOS internet as heavy users) The TV service price was much more than they initially understood. (You can get this neat option, Oh we forgot to tell you what it costs, but we can remove it for a fee)

Now there will be an additional monthly charge for each additional TV set when they convert to digital? Making customers really happy. VZ has become to accustom to collecting that >$100 a month ARPU billing.


PS I am on the 'Do not call list', but because I am a VZ phone customer, I get almost daily FIOS sales calls. Thank heaven their Caller ID works.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:44:01 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels
I think you mixed up the words "connected" and "passed" with your initial post. FiOS Internet homes that are in properties that are open for sale for video are all available for video.

OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 3:44:01 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels It was not clear as to whether this upgrade applied to subs of FIOS TV, Fios internet, or to all VZ subs in the area of FIOS TV service or all phone service subs (new digital phone service). I assume eventually in that progression.


This got cut from the preamble of my previous post.
Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:44:00 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels That's an interesting point....those costs could add fairly quickly if customer have lots of TVs that are relying on analog signals. Although analog is "old technology" and eats up lots of bandwidth, some cable ops might be able turn turn their continued deliver of analog signals as an advantage among consumers who simply don't want digital.
Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:44:00 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels My understanding is that the collapse of analog will apply to all FiOS TV subs in NY...and eventually to all FiOS TV areas as the telco phases in the plan.
rwelbourn 12/5/2012 | 3:43:58 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels Verizon is rolling out digital converter boxes in my town, Newton, MA.

I just received my digital converter box -- it's a Motorola DCT700, that I use to hook up my kids' MediaCenter PC. I have to say that it's barely usable -- there's no program guide, and each key press on the remote control takes at least two seconds to register. (But since it's permanently tuned to Nickelodeon, who cares anyway.)

ITVGuy2000 12/5/2012 | 3:43:58 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels I don't think end users care so much if it is analog or digital. So long as they have access to a wide variety of high quality content.
Duh! 12/5/2012 | 3:43:51 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels In addition to the deal with the FCC on the waiver, there is another reason why getting rid of analog channels on the overlay is a good thing.

Optical access systems with an overlay are going to be more or less impaired by Raman Effect. Analog transmission, particularly on Channels 2-6 (if I recall correctly) requires more transmit power, generally complicates system engineering and limits system power budget. I don't recall all the details. There was an OFC '96 paper on the subject.
OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 3:43:50 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels Duhl
Since the digital conversion is better for the cable cos. Does that mean that they should give away the digital adapters and pay their customers for each analog TV for switching to digital??

Phrased another way; Why must I go through the trouble and pay more for digital TV services when it is to their benefit?

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:43:50 PM
re: Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels Rob,
Thanks for the heads up. That reminded me that Moto confirmed in Feb. that Verizon would be giving away DCT700s in tandem with the all-digital migration: http://connectedhome2go.com/20...

Mari's blog post mentions a "scaled down" guide will accompany those boxes, but I'll have to seek out more details about what's available (or not available) with this particular flavor of the DCT700.
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