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Published: Tuesday, 3/11/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Buckeye to upgrade to all-digital cable

Change to improve viewing quality

BY CHIP TOWNS
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Buckeye CableSystem is beginning an upgrade that it says will improve picture and sound quality, allow for more channels and more high-definition programming, and pave the way for other technological advances.

The upgrade to an all-digital platform may lead many Buckeye CableSystem customers to add equipment.

The upgrade will continue through the rest of the year. Brad Mefferd, Buckeye CableSystem’s chief administrative officer, said customers have begun receiving information about the upgrade in their March bills. Mr. Mefferd declined to say how many customers Buckeye has, but it is the largest cable provider in metro Toledo.

When the upgrade is complete, Buckeye customers will need to have a converter box or a High Definition Digital Transport Adapter for each TV in their home. A TV connected directly to the wall plate via a cable will no longer receive cable stations.

Mr. Mefferd said TVs connected directly to the wall are getting outdated analog cable. After adding an HD DTA, those TVs will get a digital format and high-definition signal. Only high-def TVs will get a true HD picture and sound, but Buckeye says even older TVs will get an improved picture.

“TVs currently equipped with a digital converter [cable box, DVR, Gateway Media Player] are already prepared for this digital platform, and nothing more is needed," Buckeye CableSystem President and General Manager Jeff Abbas said in a release. “Our primary concern is for customers with no converter box at all, and customers who have secondary TVs in the kitchen, bedroom, basement, and other areas without a converter. These will be affected.”

Customers have options. One is a multiroom DVR that the company calls Buckeye Media Gateway, which offers a variety of features. It costs $18 a month for the first set and $6 a month for each TV after that. (All equipment prices are in addition to cable services.)

Customers also can use a high-definition converter box that costs $11.95 a month for each TV. That unit does not have a digital video recorder. Another option is the standard definition digital box for $6.95 a month per TV. It does not get a high-definition signal.

The newest option is the HD DTA. A small device — a little larger than a deck of cards —it receives digital TV signals and converts them to a format that customers’ TVs can process.

Buckeye is offering customers use of two HD DTAs free through 2015. Mr. Mefferd said no decision has been made about the price of the units after 2015.

Additional DTAs will cost $1.95 a month.

Mr. Mefferd says HD DTAs are easy to install behind the TV, out of sight.

The HD DTA provides high-definition signals but cannot be used to view Video on Demand or any channels not included in Buckeye’s “standard service,” which does not include channels above 81.

Customers can order HD DTAs to be delivered by mail at buckeyecablesystem. com/​alldigital. HD DTAs are also available at any Buckeye CableSystem office.

BuckeyeCablesystem and The Blade are both owned by Block Communications, Inc.

Contact Chip Towns at: ctowns@theblade.com or 419-724-6194.



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