Mediacom completes digital upgrades

The Albany cable provider plans to expand its TV lineup

ALBANY — Mediacom Communications announced Thursday its full conversion to “all-digital” channel reception for the cable television lineup it delivers to customers in a seven-county area of southwest Georgia that includes Albany, Americus and surrounding communities.

In recent months, area customers received more than 36,000 digital adapters to prepare for a digital conversion that removed the analog component of Mediacom’s dual-signal simulcast. The change results in the entire channel lineup using digital technology in an encrypted format for delivery of secure and enhanced television reception.

By eliminating analog reception that officials describe as “an outdated and inefficient technology,” Mediacom is expanding its channel lineup with 48 new channels to be added to the lineup prior to Christmas. The company also plans to double the speeds of its fastest broadband Internet service.

The upgrade will impact customers in Dougherty, Lee Randolph, Schley, Sumter, Terrell and Worth counties.

Phil Skinner, Mediacom’s area operations director, explained that the upgrade to the company’s fiber-communications network includes enhanced technology to offer cable-modem Internet service with download speeds of 105 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps. The higher-level speed of Mediacom’s Ultra 105 Internet service will be available next month.

“We’re grateful to customers for their patience and cooperation during this upgrade. We know it’s been a significant change for most of our subscribers, and we’re pleased that the benefits of an expanded channel selection will quickly be apparent,” Skinner said.

New channels to be added over the next 10 days include the high-definition (HD) version of 17 channels to expand viewing choices for consumers equipped with HDTV. E! (Entertainment TV) is arriving in both HD and standard definition (SD) formats at channels 867 (HD) and 56 (SD). Oxygen will be added to Family Cable service at channel 55.

A set of 27 Spanish-language channels will be added as an optional subscription tier. The Canales Latinos channel set features Spanish versions of popular cable networks that televise sports, news and informational programming, including ESPN & Fox Deportes, EWTN en Espanol, History Channel en Espanol, and others.

The company says the added channels will be added to the Mediacom lineup by Dec. 23.

“The response to our all-digital upgrade has been incredibly positive, and it’s because consumers understand that they gain much more in the digital world than is otherwise possible,” Skinner said. “It’s a notable milestone to now deliver more than 100 HD channels, and to improve the television experience for all of the big events coming up, including the 2014 Winter Olympics.”

When equipped for HDTV, Family Cable subscribers pay no additional programming costs to receive Mediacom’s HD Family Cable lineup. Similarly, HD channels are automatically included as part of service levels that include premium channels or other optional channel packages.

To view HD channels included in Family Cable, Digital Packages or Premium subscriptions, customers will need to use an HD television connected to an HD digital converter or cable card. When equipped for HD reception, there is no extra cost for Family Cable customers to receive the HD Family Cable lineup. HD Family channels are generally located between 802 and 879 and include HD broadcasts from local television stations.

Consumers with Local Plus or Family TV service will need to use a digital device on any TV that isn’t already connected to a digital converter (or ‘cable set-top’ or DCT).