Charter Starts All-Digital Shift in Michigan

Saginaw Area Is Next Stop in Charter’s Analog Reclamation Tour

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“By removing outdated analog signals, we gain back a tremendous amount of bandwidth in our network,” Dave Slowik, VP and GM for Charter Michigan, said in a statement.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.