Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Annals of Corporate Communication #1: WideOpenWest

While I was in Fairfield, Wide Open West (WOW) sent us a letter about their "upcoming digital conversion."

What this means is that WOW is dropping the remaining analog channels, primarily the broadcast channels. For most channels this happened four years ago, and I documented our experiences here and here and here. I found this letter an amusing and sometimes confusing example of corporate-speak for several reasons:

  • the word "analog" is never used. It now seems to be taboo. The DTA (digital to analog) converters are now called Digital Adapters.
  • "The Digital Adapter will convert all of your current channels to digital signals so you can view them in the new digital format." That's flat-out backwards, AFAIK. The Digital Adapter will convert the digital version of those abandoned analog channels back to analog so that your old analog TV can still receive them. This is nothing new.
  • the letter states more than once that my TV must have WOW! equipment connected to it to receive these channels. Fortunately this is not true:
  1. Many DVRs will have an S-video output, which many analog TVs will accept. In fact this is how my analog TV currently operates, and I'm able to use a third-party DVR because WOW does not encrypt basic cable.
  2. Any digital TVs directly connected to the WOW cable won't be affected. They're already using the unencrypted digital version of the basic cable channels.

I was forced to read this letter several times to be certain of its meaning.