Changes at Metrocast

Update Dec 18, 2013.  Things are being switched around, but it’s hard to keep up.  I recently got the two free DTAs from Metrocast and they work fine on my older analog sets.  The channel numbers are automatically mapped.

For my HD TV with the QAM tuner, I’ve given up on trying to keep up with the channel changes.  When I picked up the free DTAs, I got a HD DTA for $4/month.  Works great and maps all the channels according to the guide.  It tunes and unscrambles the HD channels on the 7xx numbers, which otherwise would not be available in HD.  All in all, $4 is not a bad price to add HD, but I am looking into some kind of economical device that will accept a cable card.

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We all received notification from Metrocast that they were going to migrate to a mostly digital broadcast.  If you have an older TV set that is directly connected without a cable box, you will need a digital converter.  Metrocast will provide up to two converters free to each subscriber, and charges only $2 bucks/month for extras.

Subscribers with TV’s connected through cable boxes or DVRs  probably won’t notice any difference.  Those devices will be reprogrammed to use the new channels as changes are made.

Right now, Metrocast seems to have begun transmitting the digital SD signals on the QAM-5 channels.  So for instance channel 4 is analog, 4-1 (4.1) is HD and 4-5 is digital SD. Here’s how the basic channels seem to be broadcast today:

Analog Digital HD Digital SD
2 WGBH 2 2-1 2-5
3 NECN 3 3-1 3-5
4 WBZ 4 4-1 4-5
5 WCVB 5 5-1 5-5
6 WFXT 6 25-1 25-5
7 WHDH 7 7-1 7-5
8 Guide 8 8-5
9 WMUR 9 9-1 9-5
10 WLVI 10
11 WENH 11 11-1 11-5
12 Metrocast Ad 12 who cares?
13 WGME 13 13-1 13-5
14 N/A
15 WCSH 15 6-1 6-5
16 HSN 16 16-5
17 Not Available
18 WSBK 18 38-1 38-5
19 C-Span2 19 88-21
20 COZI 20 62-1 62-5
21 ION 21 21-1 21-5
22 C-SPAN 22 22-5
23 QVC 23 23-5
24 Wolfeboro 24 24 99-1
25 Wolfeboro 25 25 99-2
26 Wolfeboro 26 26 99-3
TBS formerly 14 34-5

There doesn’t seem to be any HD channels readily available for extended basic.  They must be scrambled.  The SD channels continue to be available, though somewhat moved around, and if you have a relatively small high-def TV, the clarity of the digital channel is probably fine.  On the other hand, if you have a large TV, you may want to pop the extra bucks to go digital with HD, a substantial increase that also requires cable boxes to get the HD.

I don’t know what is going to happen on Jan 1, but my hope is that they will start broadcasting the base channels in digital, so if I tune say 52 (Comedy Central), I will get the clear digital version and not have to go to 75-5 as is the case now.

I’ll figure it out and post it sometime in January, meanwhile I have to get some of those free DTAs for my non QAM tvs.

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