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Comcast plans to go all digital in Portland

Ben Drawbaugh

Slowly but surely providers all over the country are converting from analog to digital, but not necessarily because of the digital transition in a few months. The main motivation to providers is that by eliminating analog channels, it frees up a lot of bandwidth for other services including our personal favorite: HD channels. Comcast plans to have 20 percent of its footprint all-digital by the end of the year, and at this point it is focusing on the Portland area. The main part of the plan is to utilize Motorola digital terminal adapters (DCT) -- just like Verizon did when it went all digital on its FiOS service. The interesting thing to us is that the 40 or so channels available to those customers with a DCT, won't be encrypted, so you could just use the clear QAM tuner in your TV -- assuming it has one. These DCTs are pretty dumbed down boxes and are only one-way so that means no VOD etc. There seems to be some confusion as to whether the FCC allows providers to charge existing customers for these boxes, but even if there is a charge, it is usually only a couple of bucks.

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