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Free upgrade to digital cable for Comcast users
Comcast California Director of Communications Bryan Byrd shows off one of the digital conversion units that will be provided to customers so that they won’t be affected by the switch to all-digital cable coming at the end of March. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

The old TV in the garage is about to get a whole new set of channels.

Between now and the end of March, Comcast will be actively advertising their new “World or More” campaign aimed at customers that may have one or more ancillary television sets that aren’t receiving a digital signal.

After that period expires, televisions that are running off only a cable will be prompted with a menu instructing them on how to receive the new digital signal through a small, almost handheld device that connects to both the incoming cable supply and the television.

Converting up to three televisions over the new digital signal won’t cost a dime.

“All that people have to do is either visit our website or call the phone number that we have setup for this program, or they can come into a local payment center and pick up the kits that they may need,” said Comcast Director of Communications Bryan Byrd. “We think that this is something that a lot of people are going to enjoy taking advantage of.”

Because analog signals take up so much bandwidth – carrying an average conversion rate of 12 digital channels to every analog equivalent – Comcast launched the new program as a way to free up bandwidth in an attempt to both increase Internet speeds and expand their current digital cable offerings.

Customers who are only receiving the limited basic cable channels won’t be affected, but channels 15 through 22 and 27 through 66 won’t be visible without one of the conversion kits – which includes a special IVR extension cable that will allow for the box to be placed where it’s most convenient without affecting the remote control that is needed to change channels.

Almost 30 new channels will be available once a user has hooked up to the new system, and all will carry the same sharp digital signal intended to enhance the total viewer experience.

While 90 percent of Manteca is receiving some sort of digital cable service, Byrd stresses that the new kits are only for televisions that are running off of only a pre-run cable somewhere in the house.

And the offering extends beyond just the basic conversion boxes that will enable users to watch their normal television shows.

Households requiring more than one digital conversion kit are eligible to receive a standard digital cable box that allows the user to access Comcast’s OnDemand service as well as the interactive guide. Users can also purchase pay-per-view movies and events through the unit.

The smaller digital conversion boxes don’t carry those same capabilities.

“Here in the Central Valley we have a diverse mixture of people, and this will allow us to cater our programming to people in a specific language,” Byrd said. “In any given language there are so many channels out there, and freeing up this bandwidth will enable us to look into providing those to our customers.”

Additional information on the digital cable boxes can be found at, or by calling 1-877-634-4434.