Bright House customers: if you don't have a cable box or DVR, you'll need a digital adapter to continue watching TV.
For months Bright House has been telling customers that it is switching over from an analog signal to an all-digital network, meaning that the cable signal coming into your house will be high-definition and provide additional channels. It will also be encoded, or scrambled, to prevent theft.
"We're transferring from an analog signal to a digital signal here in Central Florida,” said Donald Forbes, senior director of Corporate Communications for Bright House Networks. “In order to get that digital encrypted signal, you're doing to need that digital adapter."
Beginning April 29, Bright House will start switching off the analog signal in areas that have already been upgraded. More neighborhoods will follow once they are ready and eventually all of Central Florida will be digital. Other cable companies in Central Florida are also making the change.
The digital adapter will be required even on new TVs that plug directly into the wall and are not connected to any type of box already. The adapter will descramble, or decrypt, that signal.
"This is for those folks that have the TV in their garage or out on the porch that is built straight into the wall,” said Forbes. “You're going to need some kind of digital adapter, and we're providing 2 of these for free for the first year."
After the first two adapters, each additional one will cost $2 per month per box.
Forbes would not say how much the boxes will be next year, only that the price hasn't yet been determined.
At the Bright House Networks service center on All American Boulevard in Orlando, people were pouring out with bags in hand, filled with digital adapters.
"My husband's been after me to come over and get it,” said Miriam Mata. “So this morning I decided to come go get it.”
"I say this is the biggest bunch of garbage that has ever been bestowed on the public in this county,” said Kenneth Harter. “Because I have $1,000 worth of TVs at home with built in features, they have intentionally designed this system so I can't use it, to where at the end of 12 months they can collect revenue on this equipment."
New flat-panels, even though they have built-in digital tuners, will still require a digital adapter because the TV's internal tuner cannot decode the encrypted signal.
"I say that Bright House has always been committed to providing the finest in internet, TV and phone, and this is just another way to do that, bringing the all-digital conversion to Central Florida,” said Forbes.
The adapter is palm-sized and can be installed behind a TV and only requires an electrical outlet. An infrared eye can be attached to the top or bottom of the TV so an included remote relays the infrared signal to the adapter hidden behind the TV.
Click here to see a map of when Central Florida neighborhoods will transition.
For more information on how to order a digital adapter, click here.