New Era in Cable TV is Coming as RCN Starts Today to Go All Digital in Chicago

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
RCN Corporation logo

Reclaiming 80 Analog Channels for New Standard & High Def Channel Launches

HERNDON, Va. — RCN Corporation (NASDAQ: RCNI), a leading provider of video, data, and voice services to residential, business and commercial/carrier customers, announced that a new era is coming to Chicago Cable TV when the company today starts switching to all digital TV programming.

“This marks a very important step into the future for our Chicago cable customers,” said RCN CEO and President Peter Aquino. “By reclaiming analog channels, RCN will be leaders in delivering HD and customized cable packages in an all digital world. We have converted the first RCN hub and target completion in the entire Chicago market before the end of spring.”

By going all digital and reclaiming this excess spectrum, each analog channel has the ability to be compressed up to 10-to-1 for standard definition and up to 2-to-1 for high definition. With these new advantages, RCN management has recreated its entire cable offering and re-branded its expanded basic offering and digital tier offering as the new Signature and Premiere packages.

The Signature package, formerly with 80 channels, will re-launch with 180 channels for the same price. In addition, Premiere will be more robust with additional HD selections and channel pods to give consumers more flexibility and choice. The channel pods group RCN’s Premiere Channel Tier by genre, such as sports, news & information, children and family, and movies and entertainment. The pods provide customers with the ability to pay only for the programming they want to watch.

In addition, RCN is also upgrading its video on demand platform and adding additional free content, subscription and pay Video On Demand programming to provide even more choices available at the touch of a customer’s remote.

“With the Federal Communication Commission’s mandate that all broadcast channels be transmitted digitally by February 17, 2009, digital is the future direction of the industry,” said RCN Vice President and General Manager Tom McKay. “While RCN’s exciting new services will require televisions to have a digital converter box or cable card, RCN’s all-digital network opens up an exciting world of opportunities and choice for our customers.”

Once converted to all digital, Chicago area customers will need at least a standard digital converter box or cable card to view the new Signature and Premiere line-ups. HD and HD/DVR converters can also be used and are necessary to view Signature and Premiere HD channels.

“RCN’s all digital strategy puts us in the position to make good on the promise of offering approximately 100 HD channels in the future,” McKay added.

He said a concerted effort has been underway to get the word out to RCN customers to make this transition smooth and easy for them. He explained that customers needing a standard, HD or DVR box or cable card have three options:

  • RCN will mail them with quick self-install instructions. It’s as easy as connecting one cable to the box and another to the wall.
  • Customers can pick boxes up at 2640 W. Bradley Place in Chicago.
  • Customers can schedule an appointment to have boxes installed for a flat $49.95 fee, no matter how many boxes are installed.

Customers who want to order a converter set top box or cable card or get additional details should call 312-955-2778.