Ritter Communications will soon complete its conversion to an all-digital television platform, and company officials say that the new technology will provide improved quality of service and new advantages for customers.
“Going all-digital is driven by our commitment to anticipate and satisfy consumer demand,” said Ritter Communications Vice President/General Manager of Hometown Services Jim Roberts. “Our customers want more TV channels, with better picture quality, and they want faster internet. Digital technology delivers all of that.”
One of the main boosts in all-digital performance is simple to understand, Roberts said.
“Before, we had to send two signals—both a digital signal and an analog signal—for every TV program,” he said. “By removing the duplicate analog signal, we regain bandwidth and now we can use it for other things.”
Gains in bandwidth can be used for additional TV channels, more HD TV options, faster internet speeds and other purposes as innovation and opportunity dictate.
The major upgrade to all-digital technology should be complete in the next two months, Roberts said. Before it is fully operational, all customers need to make sure they have DTA boxes for each connected television.
“DTA stands for ‘Digital To Analog’ and what it does is take our all-digital signal and converts it so your television can receive it,” said Susan Christian, Ritter’s vice president of marketing. “These DTA boxes are available and they’re easy to use. But they aren’t optional. They are required.”
The DTA converters will now give customers access to an interactive channel guide. TVs that already have digital cable boxes or an HD or DVR box (digital video recorder, including TiVO) do not need DTAs.
The equipment fee for DTAs is $2.99 per month per box. However, many customers may qualify for two boxes free for two years, and in some cases five years. These equipment guidelines are governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Ritter Communications has been communicating with customers about the conversion since January and is continuing to send reminder messages.
“It’s a very exciting time for Ritter to be going all-digital, and we’re working hard to get the word out and help everybody take advantage of the new digital network,” said Christian.
“After August 31, TVs without a DTA converter will no longer be able to receive a signal,” she said. “Our goal is to make sure everybody is converted and enjoying their favorite programming without interruption, prior to the deadline.”
Ritter Communications, founded in Marked Tree, Arkansas and headquartered in Jonesboro, began providing local phone service in 1906. Today, Ritter serves 59 communities and more than 45,000 customers in northeast and north central Arkansas and west Tennessee with advanced voice and data services typically found only in major metropolitan areas. Ritter invests heavily in the communities it serves by deploying proven, best in class infrastructure and technology while coupling it with a world class customer focused experience. Residential consumer services include local and long distance phone service, cable television and high speed internet. Business services include customized communications systems and services, including, broadband Internet services, Managed Voice, data center services, Ethernet connectivity, customized networking and hosted applications. For more information, visit rittercommunications.com or facebook.com/rittercommunications.