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Charter Starts All-Digital Shift in Michigan

Saginaw Area Is Next Stop in Charter’s Analog Reclamation Tour 9/05/2013 7:20 AM Eastern

As predicted by CEO Tom Rutledge in early August, Charter Communications has begun the process of going all-digital in Saginaw, Mich., where it will reclaim all of its analog spectrum and clear out room for more than 70 high-definition TV channels, including Disney Junior, Hallmark Movie Channel, DIY Network, ESPN Goal Line and CBS Sports Network.

This wave of the all-digital upgrade, which aims to  expand Charter’s HD lineup to more than 170 channels, is targeting several mid-Michigan markets, including Saginaw, Zilwaukee, Albee, Bridgeport, Buena Vista, Carrollton, Maple Grove, Kochville, and Spaulding.

“By removing outdated analog signals, we gain back a tremendous amount of bandwidth in our network,” Dave Slowik, VP and GM for Charter Michigan, said in a statement. “In the space we previously needed for a single analog channel, we can now provide multiple standard definition digital channels or HD channels. It’s a great opportunity for us to maximize value for our customers.”

For this phase, Charter will be issuing two-way, VOD-capable set-tops with CableCARDs to fuel the transition. More than 90% of Charter customers in the area have digital and at least one TV in their home. Charter’s working on a next-gen, more cloud-based video platform that will rely on new boxes that support the company’s coming downloadable security system.

Charter is expected to complete its all-digital transition sometime in 2014. Charter polished off its first migration, in North Texas, in June, and has similar projects underway in Ashville, N.C.; and Southern California.

September