Insight Going All-Digital In Lexington, Promises 100 HDs
MSO Will Distribute DTAs As Part Of The Cutover
Todd Spangler --

Insight Communications will kick off an all-digital conversion in its Lexington, Ky., system in early May, a project that will let it deliver around 100 HD channels, a 50-Mbps broadband service, and multiroom DVR, CEO Michael Willner wrote in a blog post Friday.

As part of the cutover, Insight will be distributing digital terminal adapters, low-cost, limited-function devices.

"What this means is that every TV set in Lexington will need either a digital tuner or a mini digital transport adapter (DTA) in order to continue seeing your favorite channels after the digital cable upgrade," Willner wrote.

Willner did not indicate which vendor or vendors Insight is using for the DTAs. Insight did not respond to a request for more information.

In Lexington, Insight expects to provide one or two DTAs for free to analog-only subscribers, and one DTA to digital cable subs. The MSO will charge a yet-to-be-determined monthly fee for additional DTAs.

The Federal Communications Commission has granted waivers to several DTA vendors, including Cisco Systems, Motorola, Pace, Technicolor and Evolution Digital, of its integrated set-top ban. Those waivers allow MSOs to deploy DTA devices that have integrated security functions, which are less expensive than CableCard-based set-tops.

Last October, Insight as part of its Digital 5.0 initiative completed a digital-simulcast upgrade -- to deliver its entire channel lineup in digital format -- while continuing to deliver a lineup of 61 to 69 analog channels, depending on market.

After the all-digital conversion is completed, "we will be working on our biggest upgrade ever - Digital 10.0," Willner said.

That upgrade will deliver around 100 HD channels, a 50 Mbps broadband service, and multi-room DVR. "Those improvements will become a reality due to the bandwidth savings that an all-digital cable system creates," Willner wrote.

The Lexington digital conversion will "take a number of months to complete," after which Insight plans to convert all other markets later in 2010 and into 2011, according to Willner