Comcast Now Charging Customers For Formerly Free Converter Boxes

Not so long ago, Comcast customers who had to upgrade to digital set-top boxes were provided up to two free digital-television adapters so they wouldn’t gave to trash their old analog sets. Now, folks who still have those DTAs will have to pay $1.99/month for the privilege.

The charges have already started showing up for customers here in Philadelphia, in the shadow of the great Comcast tower (which kind of looks like a really tall thumb drive), and the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the monthly fee will be rolled out in other markets during the year.

With 23 million of the little black boxes spread around the country, that small-ish $2 fee adds up to a whopping $550 million a year extra in the Kabletown coffers.

The Comcast news comes in the wake of the Time Warner Cable roll-out of its $3.95/month modem-rental fee.

“The industry appears to be diversifying the ways in which it raises prices in an effort to minimize the sticker shock of a single headline price increase,” one analyst explains to the Inquirer. “Whether it is notionally a price increase for DTA converters or monthly broadband service, the real mission is to attempt to recover the soaring cost of video programming.”

Thanks to Margaret for the tip!