Comcast sees gold in DTV conversion


“Get Ready” for the digital television transition in February by eliminating the need for an antenna and converter box or new TV. Just sign up for cable is the pitch from Comcast.

The cable giant figures there ought to be some people among the estimated 13 million US households who will lose television service come February 17, 2009 unless they do something to replace or modify their analog TV set hooked up to an antenna. Comcast says its “Get Ready” initiative is the easy answer, so why wait? Go ahead and get ready for the DTV transition today by replacing that rabbit ears antenna with cable service.

“The simple fact is that basic cable is the easiest path through the digital transition and now consumers can get it for free. With one call to 1-800-COMCAST, we can professionally install basic cable service on every cable-ready TV and will deliver more channels with no new boxes, no new remote, no antennas and no reception issues,” said Derek Harrar, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Video Services for Comcast. “DTV is a landmark event in the history of television and we’re doing everything we can to help,” he added.

Free? Did he say free? Yep, here’s the deal. Sign up for at least one additional Comcast service, such as broadband Internet, and get free basic cable for 12 months. New subscribers who don’t sign up for anything but basic cable get a rate of $10 per month for 12 months.

We daresay Comcast is not the only one looking to sign up new subscribers and make a buck or two from the DTV switchover. DirecTV and Dish are also offering themselves as alternatives, as are FiOS, U-Verse and the various cable MSOs. And, of course, eletronics retailers are happy to sell hot, new digital TVs to anyone who wants to upgrade to the new technology.