The digital transition has been officially here
for some time and while there has been much debate how the cable companies would react to it, Comcast in Chicago has shared some of their plans. As previously predicted the Cable companies are going to use the analog shutoff to move their customers to digital and it is starting in Chicago. Starting in July, customers without a digital STB will only be able to receive local broadcast channels via cable. To help out Comcast will be providing one free STB to every customer, but charging additional fees, for additional boxes. This will open up the bandwidth for other digital services like HD and we expect that when those analog channels are cut off in 2009, that those remaining households will also go dark without a box. There is a chance that Comcast will continue to provide analog versions of the new digital channels,
but we doubt it will happen. Considering that analog channels use the same bandwidth on cable as approximately 2 or 3 HD channels this can only be good news to HD fans.