Charter goes all-digital in Walla Walla Valley

The change means customers will have to have a conversion box for each TV.


Switch your TV to digital

The digital set-top boxes for Charter customers are available at the local Charter office, 1145 Abadie St. The office operates 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Expanded hours Saturdays will run Feb. 24-March 15, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Customers can also call 1-888-GET CHARTER (1-888-438-2427) to arrange for professional installation, or visit

This article has been updated since its original publication.

WALLA WALLA – Charter Communications is making a switch to an all-digital network, and that means customers will have to make some changes, too.

The broadband communications company — the nation’s fourth largest cable operator — will begin an all-digital upgrade March 11 through Walla Walla, the Tri-Cities, Milton-Freewater and Hermiston. The upgrade is expected to roll out over three weeks, the company said. Customers must have digital set-top boxes for each television. Those who don’t will lose access to Charter on TVs that don’t have the boxes, said Charter spokesman Jack Hardy.

Hardy said the first box will be free. After that, boxes will cost $6.99 per month each. There will be no additional charge for the upgrades, but the billing starts at pickup and is included in the next billing cycle, Hardy said.

The changeover — part of a more than $2 billion investment in the company’s network — is expected to provide access to more than 200 high-definition channels, better picture quality and faster Internet speeds, the company said.

“By removing outdated analog signals, we regain bandwidth in our network, enabling us to provide more HD channels and open the door to faster Internet speeds and future innovations,” Charter President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Rutledge said in a prepared statement.

Charter’s residential Internet speeds are expected to double after the upgrade from 30 megabits per second to 60.

The company is offering packages with one or more digital boxes at no cost for one, two or five years, depending on programming packages and other qualifying factors.

The boxes can be professionally installed for a charge of $29.99, or customers can receive self-install kits with a set of simple instructions for doing it themselves.

“What some people don’t realize is if they have a cable that comes out of the wall and goes directly to the TV, they need to have a box,” Hardy said.

With the transition period running over the month of March, he said the boxes should be in place before the transition period begins.

After the transition, customers will have Video On Demand access for every television in their homes.

The company has completed all-digital upgrades in several markets, including in Nevada and California. The total upgrade is expected to be complete across its 29-state footprint by the end of the year.

This article was modified on Feb. 19, 2014 at at 7:54 a.m. to reflect the following correction:

Due to inaccurate information supplied to a reporter, the article's description of how billing occurs for extra converter boxes was incorrect. Customers will be billed starting at pickup and will see charges reflected in the next billing cycle, rather than being charged for the first full month they have the box.


schuelaw 1 year, 9 months ago

I'd like to see the paper do a more critical analysis of this move by Charter. This is another big step backward for consumers. It was nearly impossible to buy your own VCR (you must rent one from the cable company). This move will make it even harder (you'll have to buy a converter box for your old VCR).

It is now required that you pay a small charge every month for every TV (and old style VCR) in your house in the form of one of these digital to analog converter boxes. These electronic devices are extremely cheap to manufacture and are likely paid for by the first month or two of rental fees. After that, the fee amounts to a sneaky rate hike. Customers should have option of buying these boxes outright to avoid rental fees.

Or better, Congress should force cable companies to open up their digital transmission standards so that TV manufacturers can return to the days of making "cable-ready" TV's and VCR's. (Like that'll ever happen with this Congress.)


jkhowell0803 1 year, 9 months ago

Charter will just blame it on the government anyways. At lest that was their reasons why everyone has to go to digital and that for some odd reason ,even your new t.v. require the digital box. Yup, feels like we ate going backwards, not forward with technology.


jace12 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree with Schuelaw...Charter says they have a lot of choices. The only choices I see are expensive, more expensive and extremely expensive. Rate hikes all the time. How about those boxes you now have to have... started out from $4.99 to $5.99 to now $6.99. and don't forget to read all the fine print!


gene.dahl 1 year, 9 months ago

"Charter’s residential Internet speeds are expected to double after the upgrade from 30 megabits per second to 60."

Interesting. I am only getting 2 - 6 Mb speed while paying for 30. Does that mean I may get 4 - 12? Do I have to pay extra for the "upgrade" in speed?


Vperry 1 year, 9 months ago

They already went digital last year. This is a ploy to encrypt the signal so that we will need to pay for a box to unscramble the signal. Nice move Charter?


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