LUS Director Terry Huval says that LUS Fiber's recently announced upgrade to its digital cable service is coming at a minimal cost to the company. Last week,  LUS Fiber announced new software, called Microsoft Mediaroom, now being installed in all its digital set top boxes. Microsoft Mediaroom replaces the old set top system, developed by equipment provider Alcatel Lucent, called Media Manager. Mediaroom contains several improved features, including Whole Home DVR, which links all a home's set top boxes to the same DVR system, and Picture-in-Picture that allows for better continued viewing of a program while channel surfing

Existing LUS digital cable subscribers can get their set top boxes upgraded at no charge. Huval says the entire system upgrade, valued at $1.6 million, is included in LUS Fiber's existing contract with Alcatel Lucent, the equipment provider and integrator it contracted with at the start of its fiber-to-the-home buildout. "We did not increase the cost of this project due to this upgrade," Huval stresses in an email to The Ind. "Alcatel-Lucent covered many of the costs of this upgrade as part of its obligations in its contract with us for then, undetermined upgrades to our video system at the signing of the contract."

Huval adds the new set top boxes are basically the same as the old set top boxes, the only difference being the replacement of some internal hardware required to upload the new software. "Alactel-Lucent is updating the set top boxes that we are removing for the conversion to Mediaroom," Huval says. "They are doing this at a very low cost to LUS Fiber to cost-effectively facilitate this transition." Huval says LUS Fiber representatives are in the process of contacting existing digital cable subscribers to schedule their upgrade.

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