Mediacom is going digital, changes made at Simpson

by Amanda Hintgen

As of March 27, all of Simpson’s TV channels will be digital, due to an upgrade by Mediacom.

“Since the start of the new year, all January and February, we have been trying to inform customers by sending them letters or having some information that shows up as commercials on TV and we had an open house in Indianola,” Communications Director of Mediacom Phyllis Peters said.

The upgrade takes place in two steps. The first upgrade took place on Tuesday, March 13.

“On March 13 channels 23-78 will be (were) switched,” said Nathan Reeves, Simpson’s telecommunications and network technician.

The rest of the upgrades will be completed over the next two weeks.

There are currently two types of television signals, analog and digital.

“With technology, if you are not going forward you are going backward,” Peters said. “Television technology has been going to the digital age for many years and for the past four or five years, Mediacom has provided both.”

Mediacom has decided to offer only digital signal but is taking precautions so that their customers do not have to upgrade televisions.

“Mediacom is providing to its customers a digital adaptor, which is an external tutor,” Peters said. “It is literally the size of a cell phone. If by chance Simpson students came to campus with a bigger hand-me-down TV, opposed to a newer one, they would get this little adapter that connects in between the cable that comes in from the wall and the TV. It takes that digital signal from our network and converts it to the type of reception that the older TV will recognize and display on the screen.”

An analog television without digital service is typically a television with a protruding back and is on the heavier side. A television with digital service is typically all newer flat-screened televisions.

“Since March of 2007, by law, any television manufactured in the United States had to be manufactured to with a digital tuner inside the TV,” Peters said.

This change is due to a government mandate.

“Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released information a few years ago stating that all telecom providers would be required to switch from analog to digital signal, which is a more efficient delivery model,” Reeves said.

By choosing to only offer digital service, Mediacom can utilize the space that analog is currently taking up to provide more options for their customers.

“A digital signal will allow TVs to increase their picture to a 720p-1080p resolution,” Reeves said. “Also one analog channel takes up the same amount of bandwidth as 10 digital channels so this switch will free up a lot of bandwidth capacity. Mediacom will be increasing the channels from 85-123 with basic service.”

This upgrade does not change Simpson’s monthly fees and all current television channels will remain the same.

While most students will not be affected, some to not think this change will be a good thing.

“I feel as if it is discriminating against certain students who can’t afford flat screens,” sophomore Justin Broberg said.

Students in need of a digital adapter should contact Information Services by calling Nate Reeves at 961-1619 or via email at [email protected].