Help with transition to digital cable channels only


I’m totally confused by Time Warner’s recent switch to digital channels only and could use some help.

I live in NYC and last summer Time Warner stopped broadcasting analog signals in favor of digital signals only. I don’t pay for cable and up until now I have simply plugged a coaxial cable from my TV into the line where my internet comes in and received 12-15 basic channels.

I was away when Time Warner made the switch and so wasn’t initially aware of it. When I finally did notice, many of the channels I used to have had a static image saying “if you want this channel back call Time Warner to get a digital adapter”. As far as I could tell, the only channels I had left were ABC and a smaller local network.

I don’t watch a ton of TV and pretty much ignored the problem until recently when I decided it would be nice to be able to watch the Olympics at home, but I didn’t have NBC. I decided not to rent a piece of equipment from Time Warner and instead ordered a digital antenna (the Amazon version of the Leaf).

On the day that my antenna was supposed to arrive I happened to turn on the TV to see the morning news. When I did this, my TV which had been set to ABC, flickered and seemed to reset, suddenly turning on to NBC. I clicked around a bit and it now seems like I have most of the major networks back (in digital format only, the analog channels still show the static screen).

So… I’m wondering:

  1. Why didn’t I have these channels before?

  2. Why do I have them now? Is this a mistake on Time Warner’s part or was I meant to have them all along, but just didn’t for some reason?

  3. Is there any benefit to trying to hook up the antenna or should I just return it?

  4. If I get these channels now, in theory, would I get them in another NYC apartment that’s wired for Time Warner? (If, say, I move at some point).

For the record, I have an HD TV from around 2010 which can evidently play digital channels.

Any thoughts or advice are much appreciated. I have a friend coming over tomorrow who could help me with the antenna, but I just don’t know if it makes sense.


All you need is a set of rabbit ears and you should get all local channels in HD, you don’t even need to plug into the TWC coax outlet.

it could be just a matter of time before you loose them.

your set may have done a scan for cable input.

go to

and ‘click on your address for free tv’

it will show you what stations you should be able to get over the air.

there is a difference between DTV and HDTV for both over the air and cable. over the air if a station has a single virtual channel it would likely be HDTV (you can see nose hairs). over the air if a station has multiple virtual channels then those would be DTV. on cable even digital is a decreased quality picture unless it is a specific HD channel (which might need to use their tuner to decode).

I think if your TV is from 2010, it’s already a digital set and you don’t need a digital adapter. I think what happened is that you finally changed from the analog channels to the digital ones and are now getting a usable signal.

This is true until the KableCo encrypts ALL digital channels. Then you will need a cable box of some sort.