Some Comcast customers in Chicago could lose their HD channels as the operator completes an upgrade to its system that requires subscribers use new set-top boxes to access them.
The service provider, reports the Chicago Tribune, is carving out some cable bandwidth to move it over to broadband services, and is on track to complete its “HD Enhanced” system upgrade by midweek. Comcast is adopting the more-efficient MPEG-4 format for its video network, which will enable it to offer faster Internet service.
That broadband enhancement is being driven by consumers’ continuing shift to online video consumption from providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others. Some 56% of U.S. households have at least one such service, and that share is expected to increase as more premium content moves online.
Between 10 million and 15 million U.S. households (HH) currently do not subscribe to a traditional pay-TV service, with more than 4.8 million HH cutting the cord last year. eMarketer expects close to 20% of all U.S. HHs to not have a pay-TV subscription by 2018.
Service providers have steadily been adding broadband subscribers as they’ve been losing pay-TV subs, and also have aggressively been adding bandwidth as streaming services move to the forefront. In fact, broadband speed has been a major focus of expansion.
Charter Communications – which is in the process of acquiring Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks – now says all of its broadband subscribers have speeds of 60 Mbps or more, and have said they’ll increase speeds across the combined networks if regulators allow the deal to move forward.
Comcast’s HD Enhanced system also provides significantly faster broadband speeds and will allow it to deliver more HD channels and Cloud TV services.
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