Why do Cable operators shuffle channel numbers?


Channel line up is probably one of the most essential aspects of your cable TV plan apart from the cost. It is therefore essential to go through the channel list carefully before you make your mind to subscribe to a particular cable TV plan. In fact, well-reputed cable TV providers pay greater attention to the number and kind of channels they are offering to their users. If you look at the Spectrum channel line up you can’t help but get hooked to that cable TV plan by finding most of your desired channels on the list in a good balance. You will find channels covering all genres including drama entertainment, news, sports, kid entertainment, and whatnot.

But generally speaking, we do see cable providers playing their tricks and placing the more popular channels in the more expensive high tier plans to sell them along the channels that do not interest the users. The cable providers at times compel their users to buy their costly plans to access the most wanted channels as they use them as baits. On average, a viewer might watch 10 to 15 channels regularly, out of the 100 channels in the basic package or 200 to 300 channels in the high tier cable TV plans. It is just like going to a fruit shop to get a dozen bananas but you are told to purchase at least 5 dozens of them.  And from there arises the problem of overcrowding and difficulty in searching for your channel. This becomes even more difficult when the cable companies keep changing the channel numbers. With so many channels and changing channel numbers, it does get annoying to search for your favorite ones.

Usually, the big cable companies notify their consumers before making changes in the channel numbers. In the case of Comcast for instance, it is making improvements to cope up with the increasing demands of high definition and on-demand programming. The addition of analog or digital channels causes reshuffling. Often cable companies require analog channels to be placed between HD channels. The idea behind might be to add a greater degree of choice and value for the users but it might ultimately result in a reshuffling of channels and changes in the channel line up.

Before the transmission of a local broadcast on cable, the cable provider would adjust the retransmitted signal in the existing mapping. Since the channel numbers would overlap with other transmissions. Thus, the cable operator would select a different channel number for its retransmission to avoid repetition. In the US, virtual channel mapping is allowed, therefore the cable operators can virtually map them.

It is also preferable by the cable providers to keep the same type of channels closer to each other. For instance, your cable operator might want a new cooking channel to be placed in a nearby vacant channel number where other cooking channels are present. If you know the channel shuffling that has occurred, it might prove to be more convenient for as a viewer to find channels of the same niche closer to one another. Though that is not standardization and your cable operator can place or shuffle the channels wherever they want.

Sometimes, the cable channels pay the cable operators for a lower channel number in order to increase their viewership. Certainly, the channels with a lower channel help in getting attention from more viewers. After all channel numbers are on the hands of a cable provider. In case you have many cable providers in your area, the channel number of the same channel might not match up. Similarly, the same provider may have different channel numbers and channel lists for different regions. Thus, there is no specified channel number for a particular channel so cable operators out the channels wherever they fit.

Wrapping Up,

The channels do not have any discrete channel numbers. The channels are shuffled and channel numbers differ from area to area. Usually, the cable providers inform before the channels are reshuffled. You can get detailed information about the channel line up and channel numbers from your cable provider before you subscribe to a cable TV package.


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