GCI does it to us again with digital TV

Posted: Tuesday, September 02, 2008

By now you have probably heard that our lone TV provider - GCI - has already converted their signal to full digital. This means that you cannot receive a TV signal from them on your older television sets (typically the analog set you have in your bedroom) unless you have a digital converter box.

The good news is, the federal government is sponsoring a program to help you with this conversion. If you go to the Federal Communications Commission's Web site (www.dtv2009.gov/) you can apply for two $40 coupons (so you can watch TV in your bedrooms) that will help you purchase a digital converter box for your older TV sets.

I recently received my coupon and called GCI asking what converter boxes worked on their system. The reply was, "Any that you get will work."

The bad news is, the $60 box I purchased did not work. When I went to the GCI store, I was informed that no commercial box will work and that I had been misinformed.

So, if I want to watch TV on any sets other than the main one in the family room, my option is to rent an additional box from them for $6 per month. It is bad enough that they overcharge us for basic service - now they want more to allow us to actually watch what we are already paying for. Their excuse for not allowing commercial boxes is that they don't want to deal with them when they break.

In that case, why am I allowed to purchase my own telephone and use it on the system? Why can I purchase my own TV and use it on the system? Here it comes again, Juneau - and the rest of Alaska!

I am now looking into ACS phone and satellite TV.

Tim Powers


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