Cablevision is trying to scare consumers into signing up for basic cable service ahead of the planned transition to digital television. After February 17, 2009, consumers will need a $60 converter box to receive television signals over-the-air. The transition to digital will significantly improve the quality of over-the-air television, but that isn’t stopping Cablevision from funding a scare-mongering campaign to rustle up new business.
The ads from the cable giant read:
We recently contacted you about the federal requirement to convert all broadcast television stations to digital-only broadcasting. If you currently use an antenna or apartment building equipment to receive your TV signal, you may experience a disruption of your TV service.
The Optimum Network has the new digital format already in place, which means Optimum customers will continue to receive all of their television channels in brilliant digital picture and sound.
To make this transition easy and ensure you continue receiving uninterrupted TV service, we have a special low cost offer for you:
Get our Digital Basic Package for just $19.95 a month for a year including FREE installation.
A disruption of our service? Could The Price Is Right cut out before we see who won the Showcase Showdown? Unacceptable!
Starting on January 1, 2008, the federal government will offer $40 coupons to help subsidize the cost of a converter box. The government has also committed $5 million to educate the public about the switch. Of course, England spent $400 million on public education ahead of their transition, but they didn’t have good-natured private companies like Cablevision to help spread the word.
Swindled consumers would pay $240 (plus tax) for the first year of Cablevision’s service, instead of $20 for a converter box. Warn your grandparents that this is not a good deal.