It looks like South County cable customers will need a new box and a few more bucks starting this Tuesday. Spectrum's service in the Southern Berkshires will be going 100% digital Tuesday and the company says it will begin encrypting its signals, so viewers in Great Barrington, Sheffield, Lee, Lenox, Stockbridge and West Stockbridge will need digital receivers for any TV's not connected to a cable box. Encryption, the company says, is a way of fighting theft of signal.

The move is not setting well with the head of the Five Town Cable Advisory Committee, who told the Berkshire Eagle the plan is nothing more than a money-making ploy.  Charter/Spectrum spokesman Andrew Russell said that most customers would be able to get free receivers for an introductory period, depending on their level of service.

Cable officials are expected to be available for public comment at a December 12 quarterly open meeting of the Five Town Cable Advisory Committee, starting at 6:30 PM at Great Barrington Town Hall.

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