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Look around | 07/17/2018 | 8:15 pm The cable connection is going digital: what you need to know now

TV reception via antenna or satellite has been completely digital for some time. There were exceptions in the cable networks. But the German cable operators have been switching off their analogue offer for some time and instead expand the digital program offer and Internet transmission via cable.

Cable customers are usually informed in advance when they are about to switch. Nevertheless, many are unsure whether they will soon no longer have TV reception, whether they will need new devices or whether they will have to pay more after the changeover. We clarify the most important questions.

How can I tell whether I am still receiving analogue or digital television?

The number of programs that you can receive is between 20 and 35? Then your TV reception is probably still analog. If, on the other hand, you can choose between many more programs, then your cable reception is already digital.

If you have a tube television or an older flat screen that does not yet have a DVB-C tuner, then only use the analogue programs in the cable and you have to do something to be able to continue receiving television in the future. However, if you do not get any more programs with the device, then the connection has very likely been changed and is now exclusively digital. See the next section for what you can do now.

Do I need a new TV?

That depends on the features of your television. If it has the DVB-C standard, you will have no problems with digital cable reception. Usually this is the case with all newer devices. If in doubt, check the instructions for use or the manufacturer's product information on the Internet. You would then only have to switch the device to DVB-C mode and perform an automatic station search.

If your device is not DVB-C compatible, you have two options, for which you will have to pay some money.

Option 1: You can get a DVB-C receiver, also called a cable receiver. This additional device is connected between the antenna cable and the television and turns your television into a digital receiver. The costs for a receiver are currently on average between 30 and 60 euros.

Option 2: If you've been thinking about buying a new TV for a long time and you've been affected by the cable switch, now would be the right time. Current models are usually ready for digital cable reception. To be on the safe side, check whether there is a DVB-C symbol on the device or the packaging, for example as a sticker, or ask the sales staff.

How do I find out when I will switch and what to look out for?

You will usually find out by post from your cable operator the day on which you will be making the changeover. If you also get Internet and telephone via the television cable, you must expect that you will not be able to make calls or access the Internet during the changeover. It is important that you do not switch off or reset the router during this time. You can find out more details about the specific changeover from your cable provider or on the website digitaleskabel.de

Do i need new cables?

No, the TV signal still comes from the cable TV socket in the wall to the TV set via the usual antenna cable.

Will it be more expensive after the switch?

If you are technically able to receive DVB-C, you should be able to see all the programs that you have already seen after the changeover. To do this, however, a new automatic station search is necessary if the DVB-C-compatible device has not already carried out this independently. In addition, you can now watch other digital programs. You will continue to pay the previous cable fee for this.

Whether it gets more expensive depends on your needs. The public service programs are already available in the basic offer in HD quality, while the private broadcasters are only available in SD. Costs apply if you also want to see the private ones in HD or Ultra HD resolution. Expanding the range of channels on offer can also entail additional costs, especially if you book pay-TV packages.

The thing with the radio

Not only television programs, but also a whole range of radio stations are supplied via the cable. With the changeover, these VHF transmitters are no longer available in Saxony, Bavaria and Bremen. In these regions or with this network operator, a digital radio receiver is then required for radio reception. If you don't want that, you can receive radio via antenna via DAB + or FM or via the Internet.

You can ask your cable operator for even more information on changing cables or look for it on the internet at digitaleskabel.de.

To ask?

If you have any questions about the changeover, please contact your cable provider or call the MDR technical hotline. You can reach our employees from Monday to Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at 0341 300 95 95.