Charter converting to all-digital platform in Wisconsin

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Charter (Nasdaq: CHTR) is beginning to convert its cable systems in Wisconsin to an all-digital platform, reclaiming bandwidth used for analog channels in order to increase its HDTV channel capacity and offer subscribers advanced products such as a cloud-based interactive program guide.

The Stamford, Conn.-based MSO is beginning to notify subscribers in Wisconsin that they will need to lease digital set-tops in order to continue to receive cable programming. Charter CEO Tom Rutledge announced last fall that the company would convert to an all-digital platform, following a strategy similar to those from Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA).

Charter spokesman John Miller told Central Wisconsin Business that the company began dropping analog channels from its lineup in the last year, moving the networks to digital programming packages. "This is part of the evolution of Charter TV and will be taking place across our service areas through the next couple of years," Miller said.

Rutledge said last month that converting to an all-digital platform could eventually help Charter reduce capital spending on customer premise equipment, since subscribers will be able to use devices such as tablet computers and connected TVs to watch subscription video programming. "We're moving to a world where I don't think we'll have to buy CPE. I think we'll be able to make our product work on the devices people have," Rutledge said at the Deutsche Bank 2013 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference.

For more:
- Central Wisconsin Business has this story

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