Acronym Update 07-27-08

Dear Readers,

In these times of rising costs and difficult consumer decisions, Comcast (the cable company for many of you) is doing something to offset the additional fees you’ll need to pay to keep receiving your existing programming.

As you may or may not have known, key channels such as Hallmark, TruTV (formerly Court TV),  New England Cable News (what I refer to as The Common Man’s CNN – and actually better than CNN in my opinion), and CN8 – a Comcast owned talk show based channel …. have all switched over to digital transmission.  You DO NOT NEED TO pay any addition monthly subscription fees to view these networks.  However, you do need to rent a cable box for each television you wish to watch them on.   You may have noticed that you no longer receive these channels anymore since 7/17.

What should you do?   You’ll need to rent a digital cable box at a cost of $3.95 per month (HD boxes cost more).  If you have more than one TV in the house,  you will need to pay a fee of around $6 to $7 per TV, which includes the box. (If you want to know why this fee is more than the 1st receiver, e-mail me!)

However, there is hope in sight.  Comcast is offering a promotion that will allow you to rent the 1st box completely free for one year and on boxes 2 and 3 (if applicable)  you will save $4 to $5 per month depending on where you live — also for one year.     Granted, it would be nice if this promotion last for 2 years and completely covered the cost of the 2nd and 3rd boxes …. but don’t lose sight of the fact that the cable company has to pay for these boxes.   They cost significantly more than those $50 over the air TV receivers I wrote about in the June edition of The Acronym.   By renting your box, you do get to exchange them for FREE any any time if they go bad.  The market price for one of these devices would easily go for $250.

Eventually more and more cable channels will be moved to digital transmission until only the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX), your public access stations, and public interest channels are are distributed via analog signals.    This promotion will be available until 08/15/08.   Hopefully by this time next year, you’ll be able to figure out how to fit an extra $4 to $20+ a month into your TV budget.

Hang in there.