Charter is rolling out an all-digital cable TV network in Glendale and Burbank, a change that means 80 new high-definition channels for subscribers as long as they're connected to a digital receiver.
The two cities join Long Beach in the switch, which will start Aug. 20.
Charter spokesman Brian Anderson said the switch to all-digital programming will reach the rest of the country over the next few years, but Burbank and Glendale were chosen to switch now because around 94% of Charter's residential subscribers in those cities already have digital receivers, compared to 90% nationwide.
"It speaks well to the community's willingness to adopt new technology," he said. "When you look at today's flat-screen televisions, if you look at an analog signal on them, it's not particularly pleasing to the eye."
Right now, Charter broadcasts both analog and digital versions of channels. By the end of October, however, it will only send out digital signals in Burbank, Glendale and Long Beach.
That extra space will go to adding HD versions of existing channels — for a total of 185 HD channels — as well as entirely new channels, including BBC World News and Disney Junior, to Glendale and Burbank, a list of which is viewable at Charter.com/digitalnow.
John Owen, vice president of Charter's southwest region, said the switch is a matter of maximizing value for the company's customers.
"By removing outdated analog signals, we gain back a tremendous amount of bandwidth in our network," Owen said in a statement. "In the space we previously needed for a single analog channel, we can now provide multiple standard-definition digital channels or HD channels."
Anderson said the company's main concern is making sure the transition goes smoothly for the 6% of Glendale and Burbank customers who still use analog receivers.
To help with the transition, Charter is opening a temporary store in Burbank at 3111 Winona Ave., Unit 104, where customers can get digital receivers for free. They can also be obtained at the company's storefront at 6246 San Fernando Road in Glendale.