Cablevision Systems said Monday that it will discontinue the analog feeds of basic cable networks that include A&E, TLC, Animal Planet, E!, the Sci-Fi Channel, and Travel Channel.
Those channels will only be available in digital format, after the analog feeds are eliminated in all Cablevision service areas in May or June, according to media relations vice president Jim Maiella. In Connecticut, HSN is also being moved to digital format only.
The move will require customers that already have digital service to acquire additional boxes in rooms where they currently take signals directly from the wall, as analog feeds. Analog-only customers will get one free digital set-top box and a digital navigation fee for one year, “to ease in the transition to digital,’’ Maiella said.
Additional digital boxes are $6.50 a month. The "digital navigation fee" will be $4.95 a month and allows use of videos on demand, interactive TV, digital music and other digital services, according to Maiella.
"Cablevision carries virtually all of the programming we offer in a digital format, and over the last few years we have been eliminating the duplicate analog feeds of some channels, as our customer base has become predominantly digital and the entire nation transitions to digital television,’’ Maiella said, in a statement. “Unlike our competitors, we still offer a robust analog lineup that includes more than 60 of the most popular cable networks and local broadcast stations, and we have offered benefits to our analog customers to ease in the move to digital."
More than 84% of Cablevision’s customers already pay for at least one digital box, Maiella said. Cablevision had approximately 3.1 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2008, according to BernsteinResearch.