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Mediacom strikes again

September 3, 2011
Estherville Daily News

To the Editor,

Until 2009 all TV stations transmitted an analog signal. The United States Government mandated that the stations exclusively transmit digital free over-the-air television programming. For full-power stations the date was June 12, 2009.

One would think that they would be receiving a digital signal upon that date but no. Mediacom would take that digital signal and dumb it down to an analog signal. If you wanted digital television you had to pay for a digital converter/receiver. I was told that was because most people had television sets in their home that were not capable of receiving a digital signal.

The Daily News reported on August 18th that the Estherville City Council received a letter from Mediacom informing them that Mediacom is in the process of transforming its TV channel line up to all digital. That means channels 23 through 80 will be moved to a permanent digital home (what?). Customers with TVs manufactured before 2007 or those that do not have a Mediacom digital receiver will need a digital adapter in order to continue to see the content on these channels.

Almost all homes have some televisions manufactured before 2007 or have a digital television but do not subscribe to the more expensive digital packages viewed via a digital converter/receiver. That means Mediacom will charge for an adapter for each of those televisions. I have 8 televisions so I will be charged for an adapter for each one. Will that be a one-time charge or a monthly charge?. How much room on a kitchen counter or bedroom dresser is needed for the adapter?

Prior to this time, if you wanted to receive a digital signal you had to pay a monthly charge for a digital converter/receiver. Then you could elect one of multiple packages that included additional channels like HBO or on-demand programming for what I consider to be an excessive charge. I never wanted HBO or on-demand programming nor was I willing to pay a monthly charge for a cable converter/receiver.

The letter from Mediacom did not provide enough information. There are questions that the Estherville City Council or the Estherville Cable Commission should be able to answer. I expect them to get more information from Mediacom asap and report it to Mediacom customers. Is the charge for an adapter a one-time or a monthly charge or both? If you will be receiving a digital signal and you have a digital television is there any need for an adapter? Again is there a one-time or a monthly charge?

I understand if I want to continue to use a non-digital television I would need an adapter. I would consider purchasing new digital televisions but not if I will still be charged for an adapter or receiver for each television. I have always been able to watch television in every room in my house without an "additional monthly charge". It appears that Mediacom is using the change from analog to digital as another excuse for gouging its customers.

Mary Sicard,




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