Home News Local news Era of Free Cable About to End, Says Innovative

Era of Free Cable About to End, Says Innovative


Virgin Islanders who hook their television sets to cable without paying Innovative for the service will find their screens blank come Friday, when the cable company switches to all-digital service.

The company announced in early February that it will switch to all-digital service beginning April 1.

That means customers of Innovative’s most basic service, which provides a handful of channels by hooking directly to the cable, will have until the close of business Thursday to go down to the company’s office and acquire a cable converter box. For those paying customers, the company will provide a cable converter at no additional fee, according to Innovative’s customer service department.

Under the old, analog system, if the television cable ran from the street to the house, it was possible to connect a television to the existing cable and piggyback on the system without paying, getting the four major networks and sometimes a handful of other stations.

Starting Friday, the digital signal will make that an impossibility.

Calls to Innovative’s business office Tuesday were not returned.

According to the company’s service department, those non-paying piggyback users will have to subscribe to at least the basic service, which costs $13.95 a month, or give up watching television. They will also have to get a converter, which requires an $80 deposit and a $5.95 a month rental, the customer service rep said.

In announcing the changes in February, the company said it is switching to an all-digital network to provide better service and more options, but company CEO Seth Davis said the loss of signal by noncustomers was anticipated.

Over the next four years the company will replace both its television coaxial cable and its copper-wire telephone cable throughout the territory with a hybrid fiber optic system, which will allow the company to provide a host of services it cannot now, according to Davis.

The system upgrade will not cause an increase in rates, he said. Instead, the company expects the new telecommunications, phone and internet services it will provide to create the increased revenue.

Earlier this month the company announced launching high-definition television programming and digital video recording service throughout the territory.

At that time, Innovative’s Cable TV general manager Graciela Rivera said, “High-definition programming and digital video recorders are products that customers have been requesting for quite some time, and we are very excited about these important additions to our Innovative offerings.”

Two new Motorola set-top converters were introduced to Innovative customers. Customers choosing HD/DVR converters will have the ability to record shows digitally to view at their convenience and will also have the ability to pause, fast forward and rewind live TV.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here