Digital Cable TV Upgrade Information

Get ready for digital quality

Get ready for digital quality

We are excited to announce that the Direct Communications Cable TV signal was upgraded at the end of 2014 from analog to full digital. This project was completed on November 4th.

What does this mean for you? If you have a digital TV, this transition should be seamless and you can immediately begin enjoying your higher quality digital content. If you have an older analog TV, you will need a set top box to convert the digital signal or upgrade to a digital TV. This article will give information to help you determine whether your TV is ready for digital.

With a digital signal, you will experience a clearer, higher quality image with less interference, so get ready to say goodbye to “snow” or “static.”We are committed to providing quality services to our rural areas and truly appreciate you choosing Direct Communications for your services. Please read carefully through this information, and call us if you have any more questions about whether your TV is ready for digital.



To provide improved picture quality, increase bandwidth capacity and comply with federal mandates, Direct Communication is converting our cable TV signal from analog to digital in two Phases beginning at midnight, October 21.
Phase I:  October 21 at Midnight

  • Channels 26-84 will be broadcast digitally.
  • Analog transmissions of Channels 56-84 will cease.
  • Analog Channels 26-55 will continue to broadcast even though being transmitted digitally as well.  Customers will see duplicate channels until Phase II.

Phase II:

  • Analog transmissions of Channels 26-55 will cease.
  • Head end (tranmitting equipment) will be moved to a new building.

  • 2005:  The Digital Transition Act of 2005 mandated analog transmissions cease by 2/17/09.
  • 2/11/09:  Obama signed legislation extending the conversion from analog to digital for major broadcaster to 6/12/09.
  • 6/12/09:  Major broadcasters (defined as “full-power stations”) converted to digital signals.
  • 9/1/2015:  Smaller broadcasters (defined as “low-power stations”) and rural transporters like Direct Communications have had several deadlines to move to digital transmissions that have been pushed back repeatedly since 2010.  However, the FCC and US government have set a hard deadline of 9/1/2015 to cease analog transmissions.

  • Pre-2004 TVs will be analog.
  • TVs shipped from the manufacturer after March 1, 2007 had to be digital
  • TVs sold after 5/25/07 were required to be digital or have a warning label indicating if they were analog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Why are we changing to digital? To provide improved picture quality, increase bandwidth capacity and comply with federal mandates, Direct Communication is converting our cable TV signal from analog to digital in two Phases beginning at midnight, October 21.
Phase I:  October 21 at Midnight

  • Channels 26-84 will be broadcast digitally.
  • Analog transmissions of Channels 56-84 will cease.
  • Analog Channels 26-55 will continue to broadcast even though also being transmitted digitally as well.  Customers will see duplicate channels until Phase II for these channels.

Phase II:

  • Analog transmissions of Channels 26-55 will cease.
  • Head end (tranmitting equipment) will be moved to a new building.
How will the customer be affected in Phase I?
  1. Digital TV customers will only have to auto-program their TVs through the TV’s menu to pick up the new digital channels.
  2. Analog TV customers will lose channels 56-84.  These customers will need to upgrade to a digital TV or get a set-top box (converter) which will convert the digital signal to analog.
How will EXISITNG analog TV customers get the new digital content if they don’t want to buy a digital TV?
  1. Direct Communications will provide up to two set top boxes per account at no charge.
  2. Bulk accounts will be handled on an individual basis by our business sales representative, Daniel Parrish.
How will NEW analog TV customers get the new digital content if they don’t want to buy a digital TV?
  1. The customer can purchase a set-top box on their own.
  2. The customer can include a TIVO with their services for a monthly charge that will act as a converter.
  3. Direct Communications will provide a set-top box (converter) for $6.95/month.
How can a customer determine if their TV is analog or digital?
  1. Pre-2004 TVs will be analog.
  2. TVs purchased after 5/25/07 will most likely be digital but the customer should verify this.
  3. The customer can check the owners manual.
  4. The ID tag or serial number plate located on the back or side of the TV may indicate analog or digital.
    • Any of the following means the TV is digital:
      • DTV
      • HDTV
      • ATSC
      • Digital Tuner
      • Integrated Digital Tuner
      • Digital Tuner Built In
      • HDMI (digital interface)
  5. Visit the manufacturer’s website for the TV make and model listed on the serial number plate.
What advantages does digital have over analog?
  1. Clearer, higher quality image.
  2. Less interference such as “snow” or static”.
  3. The signal takes up less bandwidth making the signal more reliable.
Can the customer elect to keep the analog signal? No.  The analog transmission will cease and be replaced by the digital signal.   We are excited about this conversion which will improve the customer experience with our service.
How does a customer get a set-top box? At the request of the customer, the Customer Experience Rep will put their name on a project spreadsheet by city.  The technician assigned to their area will contact them to install the set-top box.  Installations will be in made in the order the requests are received.
Existing customers may receive two (2) set-top boxes at no cost.  Additional set-top boxes may be purchased at their local electronic stores.
If I have a TiVo, will I automatically be digital-ready? Recently installed TiVos are digitally compatible. However, older TiVos may need to have an M-card installed in order to receive the digital signal.

Customers who need an M-card have been identified and will be contacted by Direct Communications to schedule this installation.

What will happen with the free digital (bonus) channels 100-195? These channels are digital versions of the current analog channels.  When the analog channels are turned off, these digital versions will be moved up in the channel line up to replace them.  They will be broadcast in all areas without interuptions.
How will this digital conversion affect the Digital Plus package? The Digital Plus package line-up (Channels 309-491) will not change.  These channels will not become available through the conversion in the basic or expanded packages unless they are already part of those packages.  These channels are available only through subscribing to the Digital Plus package.



digital TV 1 digital TV 3 not digital TV 4

Here is the new channel line-up. Although you will continue to see duplicates of analog channels 2-23, rather watch the digital versions of these channels, which will be in HD Digital quality. (For example, instead of watching channel 5 (KSL NBC), tune to channel 5.1 (KSL NBC HD) for a better viewing experience.
Basic Analog Cable Line Up
Channel Station Call Letters Type
2 RFD-TV RFDTV Public Interest
7 Quality Value Convenience QVC Shopping
13 FOX 13 FOX13 Local
16 WGN Superstation (Chicago) WGN  Local Super
17 The Weather Channel TWC Weather
18 Fox News Fox News News info
19 CNN CNN News info
20 Discovery Channel  Discovery Educational & Learning
21 Learning Channel TLC Educational & Learning
22 Lifetime Lifetime Family
23 Travel Channel Travel Travel
Digital Expanded Cable Line Up
2.2 RFD TV 24.1 ESPN U HD 64.1 NBC Sports HD
3.11 KIDK-CBS HD 25.1 ESPN News HD 65.1 NFL Network HD
4.1 KTVX-ABC HD 26.1 ESPN HD 66.1 CBS Sprots HD
4.2 MeTv 27.1 ESPN 2 HD 67.1 Golf HD
4.3 Weather 28.2 ESPN Classic 68.1 FX HD
5.1 KSL-NBC HD 29.1 ROOT Sports HD 69.2 Spike
5.2 Cozi TV 30.1 TNT HD 70.1 Tru TV HD
5.3 Ksl Wx 31.1 TBS HD 71.2 BBC America
6.11 KPVI-NBC HD 32.1 A&E HD 72.1 Disney JR HD
6.12 Cozi TV 33.1 History HD 73.1 UP HD
7.1 QVC HD 34.2 Cartoon 74.2 OWN
7.11 KUED HD 35.2 Boomerrang 75.2 C-Span
7.12 KUED World 36.2 Family 76.2 HEADLINE
7.13 KUED  V-me 37.2 Disney 77.1 ION HD
8.11 KIFI-ABC HD 38.2 Nickeloden 95.2 CNBC
8.12 Telemondo 39.2 TV Land 96.2 MSNBC
8.13 CW 40.1 Gameshow HD 97.2 LOCAL
8.14 ABC News Now 41.1 DIY HD 98.2 CHAT TV
9.1 KPIX-Fox HD 42.1 HGTV HD 99.1 TV Guide HD
10.11 KISU-PBS HD 43.2 MTV 99.2 TV Guide
10.12 KISU Plus 44.2 GAC
10.13 KISU Create 45.2 VH-1
10.14 KISU World 46.2 CMT
11.1 KBYU-PBS HD 47.1 USA HD
11.3 KBYU Inter. 48.1 Syfy HD
12.1 KUWB-CW HD 49.2 E!
12.3 Retro TV 50.2 Comedy
13.1 KSTU-FOX HD 51.1 Food HD
13.2 Antenna TV 52.1 Bravo HD
14.1 KJZZ-IND HD 53.2 Animal
15.1 BYU TV HD 54.1 Nat Geo HD
16.1 WGN HD 55.2 Hallmark
17.2 Weather 56.2 WE
18.1 FOX NEWS HD 57.2 AMC
19.1 CNN HD 58.2 TCM
20.2 DISCOVERY 59.2 Movie Plex
21.2 TLC 60.1 Fox Movies HD
22.1 LIFETIME HD 61.1 FS1 HD
23.1 TRAVEL HD 62.2 Sportsman
63.1 Outdoor HD
Digital Expanded Cable Line Up (if Using Tivo/DVR/Digital Box)
102 RFD TV 140 Gameshow HD 177 ION HD
104 KTVX-ABC HD 142 HGTV HD 179 5.3 Wx
105 KSL-NBC HD 143 MTV 180 4.3 Wx
106 KPVI-NBC HD 144 GAC 181 4.2 MeTV
107 QVC HD 145 VH-1 182 13.2 Antenna TV
108 KIFI-ABC HD 146 CMT 183 5.2 Cozi TV
109 KFXP-FOX HD 147 USA HD 184 6.3 Cozi TV
110 KISU-PBS HD 148 Syfy HD 185 8.3 CW
111 KBYU-PBS HD 149 E! 186 Retro Tv
112 KUWB-CW HD 150 Comedy 187 8.2 Telemondo
113 KSTU-FOX HD 151 Food HD 188 7.3 KUED V-me
114 KJZZ-IND HD 152 Bravo HD 189 11.3 KYBU Inter.
115 BYU TV HD 153 Animal 190 10.2 KISU Plus
116 WGN HD 154 Nat Geo HD 191 10.3 KISU Create
117 Weather 155 Hallmark 192 10.4 KISU World
118 FOX NEWS HD 156 WE 193 7.2 KUED World
119 CNN HD 157 AMC 194 ABC News Now
121 TLC 159 Movie Plex 196 MSNBC
122 LIFETIME HD 160 Fox Movies HD 197 LOCAL
123 TRAVEL HD 161 FS1 HD 198 CHAT TV
124 ESPN U HD 162 Sportsman 199 TV Guide HD
125 ESPN News HD 163 Outdoor HD
126 ESPN HD 164 NBC Sports HD
127 ESPN 2 HD 165 NFL Network HD
128 ESPN Cassic 166 CBS Sprots HD
129 ROOT Sports HD 167 Golf HD
130 TNT HD 168 FX HD
131 TBS HD 169 Spike
132 A&E HD 170 Tru TV HD
133 History HD 171 BBC America
134 Cartoon 172 Disney JR HD
135 Boomerrang 173 UP HD
136 Family 174 OWN
137 Disney 175 C-Span
138 Nickeloden 176 HEADLINE
139 TV Land

Direct Communications Upgrades Cable Network to new DOCSIS 3 System

Direct Communications Cable in Idaho completed a system-wide network upgrade over the course of the Summer of 2014 that will allow residents in all cable franchise towns served by the company to receive up to 20 megabit-per-second internet speeds.

The towns served by Directcom Cable include AberdeenBancroftDowneyFish HavenGeorgetownGraceLavaMcCammonMontpelierParis and Preston

More speed means more fun online.

More speed means more fun online.

The network upgrade was specifically a change from the old Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 1.0 to a newer DOCSIS 3.0 network specification. The DOCSIS 3 equipment allows an increase in data transmission speeds (both upstream and downstream).

Brian Black, Senior Network Administrator for Direct Communications, explained that the upgrade required a complete equipment swap in all of the fiber huts. “We had to purchase three new CMTS’s to support DOCSIS 3, which cost about $50,000 each.” (Cable Internet delivery includes two primary components: a cable modem, located at each customer premises, and a cable modem termination system (CMTS) located at the Cable TV headend.)  

For existing customers, anyone requesting speeds above the previous top speed of 10Mb would need a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. All new customers automatically receive a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem at the time of install. 

Black said: “The real difference between a DOCSIS 3.0 system and the old DOCSIS 1 system is that a DOCSIS 3.0 modem can connect to multiple channels at once, whereas the old modem could only connect to a single path. So in theory, customers will now have four times the bandwidth available to them at any given time. Right now each of our customers are set up to connect to two downstream channels, and to four upstream channels, but once we have completed the next planned system-wide upgrade to all digital cable TV, each customer with be connecting to four downstream channels, and to four upstream channels.” 

This explains part of the motivation for the company to migrate to an all-digital cable TV system, because besides improving the quality of the picture and number of available TV channels, moving to all digital TV delivery will also free up more bandwidth for the growing customer demand for faster internet speed. 

Brian Black, Senior Network Administrator for Direct Communications in Idaho

Brian Black, Network Administrator for Direct Communications in Idaho

“What this upgrade to  DOCSIS 3.0 means now for all customers is basically more bandwidth available for everyone, and more consistent speeds, especially during peak hours in the evenings when everyone wants to get online at home to stream video, or catch up with their friends on Facebook,” said Black.

“In theory, I suppose we could deliver speeds up to 50Mb or 100Mb to a single customer now on the coax cable network, but really our goal with this upgrade is to make sure we can deliver the speeds we have already sold to customers, and keep up with the customer growth. We feel pretty good about being able to deliver a solid 20Mb to everyone in town, so we want to keep an eye on that and see where the growth takes us before we start selling even higher speeds. “

Direct Communications has experienced three straight years of over 20% growth per year in customer subscriptions, as residents in small towns in Idaho adopt high-speed internet in increasing numbers, and keeping up with the demand has kept Black and his co-workers busy. Black is very pleased with how the new DOCSIS 3 network is performing.

“It’s been a huge change, and I am very happy with the results. The network is just much more stable, and people have responded by using their internet service a lot more already. We have seen internet usage double in some towns like Preston since we did the upgrade, which is great because it means people trust their internet more, have higher expectations now, and are turning to their internet service more for things like entertainment.”

“Our next step is to obviously move the Cable TV service to an digital head end, which will hopefully happen by the end of this year, free up more channels, and then keep improving our network through deploying more fiber nodes throughout the neighborhoods, and splitting up the network to make sure we can always stay ahead of the demand for bandwidth.”

Note: Aberdeen has not yet been upgraded to Docsis 3, but is on Docsis 2.0.