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Any type of transition from obsolete to new technology is usually welcomed by the vast majority of users. However, when some services like Cable decide to make a change, the sheer size of the project can cause some unforeseen issues. When Cable was planning on transitioning from analog to digital services, the Consumers Union issued a paper in which they raised concerns and even allegations. The idea behind these allegations was that Cable is trying to surreptitiously do the transition in order to fleece its customers. The main problem behind these allegations is the fact that there is a clear distinction between migrating to a digital platform and broadcasting digital signals. While these two things have one thing in common (the transition from analog to digital), they are two completely different events.
Before we get to the point of this somewhat small fuss between Cable and the Union, it’s important to point out a couple of things. What most people didn’t realize is the fact that the quality of their hardware isn’t relevant for the transition whatsoever. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether you have the latest CPU coupled with the best tempered glass pc case in the world or the most obsolete GPU you can find – the transition is the same for all users.
The migration away from an analog platform is not as recent as one would imagine. In fact, it started happening in the mid-1990’s. Since then, Cable has spent well over $130 billion to come up with a platform that offers a high-speed internet connection, telephone service, and of course, digital delivery of video. Even though it is a gruesome and exhausting transition, more than 60% of people have already embraced the change and seem quite happy with the service.
The good thing about this particular transition is the fact that Cable didn’t set a date for the transition, but instead, they took a gradual route to the upgrade in order to make it as painless as possible, especially for people who aren’t particularly tech-savvy. However, even the gradual shift is bound to cause some issues along the way, but the thing that should be pointed out here is the fact that the Cable industry has done everything to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
The thing many people didn’t like is the fact that this transition requires the user to get some new hardware, specifically – a set-top box. While this is a completely valid claim and concern, one should also consider the fact that the vast majority of satellite video services also require every user to obtain a similar box. In other words, it’s not something that will drastically change the way one watches TV. In fact, some cable providers decided to retain a certain amount of analog channels in order to cater to people who aren’t keen on getting new TV-reception hardware.
On the other hand, DTV has executed a pretty successful transition by setting a hard date back in February 2009. The reason why it was relatively painless and successful is because they have worked on customer education prior to the update. In other words, they have prepared their clients for the transition, and despite all the concerns surrounding such a massive update, it was a pretty smooth one. It’s important to remember that DTV’s hard set date has nothing to do with cable’s migration, even though the two events started simultaneously.
The best argument for this particular change lies in the necessity. In other words, hundreds of companies around the United States are looking for faster internet speeds, better reception, and cheaper telephone service. All of this can and will be done thanks to the digital update which will free up space that has been consumed by analog signals. In fact, for every four analog channels, the DOCSIS 3.0 system can deliver up to 160mbps which is much faster than current speeds. As far as video goes, for every analog channel delivered, Cable can offer six digital channels. If we look at it from that perspective, analog channels are much more expensive to maintain and it costs quite a lot of money in terms of missed opportunities for better services.
In conclusion, there is no reason to worry about this transition as cable aims to make it as easy and painless as possible. One will have to have proprietary hardware in order to use the new services, but it’s almost identical to the already existing ones that are included with satellite subscription services.