Some Mediacom customers will need additional equipment soon

Date Published: 
January 24, 2014

Mediacom officials this week reached out to the Bethany Beach Town Council as part of an upcoming campaign to inform its television customers that they may need additional equipment to receive some channels starting in April.

As of April, they announced at a Jan. 17 council meeting, those with older televisions that aren’t equipped with digital tuners who want to keep receiving channels above 17 and don’t have a digital cable box will need to get a digital transport adapter (DTA) from Mediacom that will bridge the old analog technology with Mediacom’s new all-digital technology.

Channels 2 through 17 will remain analog, they noted, allowing those with those older televisions — some of which may have been relegated to kitchens or guest rooms — to still get some basic channels on those sets without any additional steps.

For those who want to ensure they can still get all of their channels on the older TVs, Mediacom is offering free DTAs until April 2015, at which time those who still need them will be able to rent them for 99 cents per month for a standard-definition unit or $1.99 for a high-definition unit with an HDMI output.

Televisions purchased from 2008 forward were required by the FCC to have a digital tuner, which is already compatible with the new digital signal used by broadcasters and other television providers, so those who have televisions that were sold after that point won’t need any additional equipment to deal with Mediacom’s upcoming shift to all-digital.

Mediacom customers who have legacy television units with only an analog tuner and no digital cable box can opt to upgrade to a newer television, make do with only channels 2 through 17 on those sets or rent a DTA from Mediacom.

Representatives said they would be sending out letters to customers in the next few weeks, describing the change and what it means for customers. But they expressed concern that some won’t open the letter, confusing it with junk mail, and will be taken by surprise when some of their channels disappear in April.

The letter will include the address of a special website where customers can order up to three DTAs, along with a special toll-free number they can call to do the same. Customers can also go to the Mediacom office in Dagsboro, where additional staff is expected to be on duty to help deal with the transition, including on weekends, when part-time residents may find it more convenient to stop by to get a DTA.

Those part-time residents are especially being encouraged to get their DTAs now, rather than waiting until summer, with the time between now and April a bonus period of free rental for the DTAs before Mediacom begins charging to rent them in April 2015.