COLUMBIA - Mediacom customers shouldn't worry when some of their favorite cable channels disappear at the end of this month. The channels aren't really gone, they've just gone digital.
Mediacom will start phasing out its analog service in Boone County, Jefferson City, Holts Summit, and areas of Cole and Callaway Counties at the end of October.
Mediacom customer David Melegrito isn't panicking. In fact he has looked forward to the digital switch. But he doesn't plan on making the change himself.
"I'm going to give it to my granddaughter," Melegrito said. "She's more knowledgeable than me."
What his granddaughter will be doing is installing digital adapters onto Melegrito three TV's that still use analog cable service. Analog service uses coaxial cables, normally thicker than the fiber cables used by digital service, that can degrade over time which degrades the picture quality as well.
The switch will only affect customers who, like Melegrito, don't already have a box or have a TV older than 2007 that plugs directly into a cable outlet. Those customers can pick up to three digital adapter kits from Mediacom lease free until January of 2014. If you haven't bought a newer TV by then, the adapter will cost you 99 cents per month. The adapter kit comes with everything you need to set up, along with a new remote for the TV.
Mediacom says the switch allows for more HD channels that can use the bandwith that dropping analog frees up. The drops will begin in groups of channels, starting with Family Cable channels, and will progress until the entire Mediacom lineup is digital.
Bryan Gann, Mediacom Area Manager, says that switching to HD will help with picture quality and a faster internet.
"HD is such a big, it's so popular these days and we just want to continue to add more HD channels," Gann said. "So it's a more efficient way to deliver our services. It's kind of moving into the digital age."
Most Mediacom users, 79 percent according to the company, already have digital cable. But they could have TVs that still use analog in addition to their digital packages. Those extra TVs still need an adapter.
Mediacom will be hosting an open house in Jefferson City and Columbia on October 27th but customers can pick up adapters at Mediacom offices during business hours.