The Time Warner Cable office on Fair Lakes Road in DeWitt. The company is transitioning all of its cable television systems to all-digital networks.
Syracuse, N.Y. — Time Warner Cable customers will soon no longer be able to plug their cable line directly into their televisions and receive service without a set-top box or digital adapter.
The cable company recently notified customers in the Hudson Valley that it will be going "all digital" starting March 15. Time Warner said the move will free up system capacity so it can provide dramatically faster Internet speeds, but will also require customers to use a set-top box or adapter on all of their televisions.
Nathalie Burgos, a spokeswoman for the company, said the change will affect Central New York customers, too, but that the timing of the switch here has not yet been finalized.
Time Warner Cable customers will soon need a set-top box or a digital adapter like the one pictured above on all of their televisions. The switch is part of the company's transition to all-digital service.Time Warner Cable
Currently, customers in Central New York can receive about 70 channels by plugging their cable lines directly into their televisions, without routing the cable through a set-top box or adapter. All of the channels, except for a few local broadcast stations, are in standard definition, even if the customer subscribes to one of the company's digital packages.
The company has always required customers to use a set-top box to receive its digital packages, which feature more than 200 video channels, many in high definition, and nearly 50 music channels. Currently, those boxes cost $11.75 a month to rent — more if the boxes include a built-in digital video recorder.
However, many subscribers to its digital packages only use a set-top converter box on one or two televisions in their homes and get by with reduced service on their other sets by plugging them directly into the cable line.
Time Warner said customers also have the option of renting a digital adapter, a smaller, simpler box that will allow them to receive the same approximately 70 mostly standard definition channels they now can get without any box.
In the Hudson Valley, customers who order one or more adapters by Oct. 23 will get them for free until June 30, 2017. After that, they will have to pay the prevailing monthly fee, which is currently $3.25.
Time Warner said the switch is part of "TWC Maxx, " its multi-year plan to transform its cable systems across the country to an all-digital format that does away with analog signals. About half of all Time Warner Cable customers have already been transitioned to all-digital service, including those in New York City, the company said.
The company said all-digital service provides better picture and sound and frees up capacity in its networks to deliver faster Internet speeds, and more channels and on-demand content. It also permits the company to offer advanced services such as digital video recorders that can simultaneously record up to six different programs and save 150 hours of high-definition programming on their 1TB hard drives, twice the storage of the largest prior model, it said.
Time Warner said it will begin transitioning its Internet service in the Hudson Valley to higher speeds in the spring, with no change in monthly plan prices.
Residential customers who subscribe to Time Warner's standard Internet plan will see their speed increase from 15 Mbps to 50 Mbps. Those with the company's "extreme" plan will see an increase from 30 Mbps to 200 Mbps. Customers on the "ultimate" plan will go from 50 Mbps to 300 Mbps. The company said some customers will need to switch out their Internet modems to receive the faster speeds.