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DTV Transition: Comcast Swoops In

Comcast today announced that it has set up DTV “Rapid Response Teams” to help customers “confused” by the June 12 analog shutoff to switch to cable.

The nation’s largest cable operator is looking to increase its subscription base by focusing its marketing efforts on those last minute consumers unprepared for the DTV transition. It says its “fast and easy solution” for those consumers still using rabbit ear antennas, includes signing up for “free” basic cable for 12 months for new customers who sign up for at least one additional Comcast service (customers who decline such services will be charged $10 a month for basic cable). Comcast says it can get basic cable installed within 24-48 hours.

In announcing the service, Comcast emphasized the potential problems over the air consumers could have in setting up their DTV converter boxes and getting a reliable digital signal. “We make sure consumers can continue watching TV, for as little as free,” said Derek Harrar, senior vice president and GM of video for Comcast. “Whether they’re daunted by what they have to do, or they’re having reception issues with their new digital receiver or digital TV, call Comcast and our Rapid Response Teams will ensure their TV service works perfectly.”

Comcast—which has more than 24 million video customers—has said it anticipates it could pick up to an additional 2 million subscribers because of the transition.