By BEN ROWE
---- — CHAMPLAIN — When Beverly Bechard couldn’t tune in Home Town Cable recently, she remembered a notice she had received back in August.
“I did get a letter from the Time Warner Cable people saying channel 24 was going to be changed, but I didn’t pay attention right off,” she said.
That notice said customers would need to order a free digital adapter to continue viewing local channels, including the one that broadcasts Home Town Cable programming.
It described channel 24 as a public-access channel, not as Home Town Cable.
Calvin Castine, Home Town Cable founder and producer, said he believes that might have been confusing for customers, who didn’t see Home Town Cable listed under the channels that would need the adapter.
“A lot of people didn’t pay attention to it, just another letter from the cable company,” he said.
PHONE CALL AWAY
Home Town Cable offers 24-hour-a-day programming that profiles local businesses, events and attractions, as well as covering local government meetings and sports.
When that channel was switched to digital transmission on Sept. 25, Castine said, he received many calls asking him what had happened to Home Town Cable.
He explained to those callers how to order a free adapter from cable-television provider Time Warner Cable that would give them access to Home Town Cable, along with many other digital-only channels.
Though he was able to help the viewers who called him, Castine said he’s concerned there might still be Home Town Cable viewers who don’t know about the digital switch or the free adapters.
“If they’re sitting there, confused, thinking, ‘Well, Home Town Cable’s not there anymore,’ it’s just a phone call away for them,” he said.
And once they’re set up, he said, they will find Home Town Cable programs on channel 24 again.
Castine also explained that customers with newer digital TVs or customers who already have a digital set-top box do not need the adapter.
This was the case for Rita and Walter Laurin of Chazy, who are frequent viewers of Home Town Cable’s local sports and business coverage.
“It’s the only reason we have cable,” Mrs. Laurin said.
It seemed the programming had gone off the air, but Mr. Laurin was flipping through the channels one day and came upon Home Town Cable — now on channel 97.4.
Castine said he spoke with the Laurins and realized they had a newer digital television that allowed them to access digital channels without the adapter — some TVs bought within the last two years have that ability, he said.
Despite owning flat-screen TVs, Bechard and her husband, Ed, still needed the adapters.
When they found the installation process confusing, they asked a family friend to help them install one and a Time Warner technician to help with the other.
For any Home Town Cable viewers confused by the installation process, “I’m sure Time Warner can assist them,” Castine said, “but if all else fails, they can call me, and I can go down and make sure it hooks up properly.”
Time Warner Cable will provide digital adapters to customers free of charge until Nov. 24.
Call toll-free, (855) 286-1736 or go to twc.com/digitaladapter. In 2015, Time Warner will charge 99 cents a month for the unit. Contact Castine at 298-HOME or 298-4663.