Comcast is warning some customers that if they don’t switch their current set-top to a new X1 receiver, they will start losing HD channels, according to @JTakiff of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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The X1 set-top offers a number of new features including voice control and streaming. Comcast, which has invested heavily in the X1’s technology, believes it will help the company keep pace with both its pay TV and Internet-based rivals.

However, some Comcast subscribers still own older receivers in part because, until a few years ago, the cable operator did not offer the X1 to new customers unless they subscribed to a Double Play or Triple Play package. Now Comcast routinely installs X1 set-tops in new customer homes.

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It’s unclear how many Comcast video subscribers don’t have X1 boxes now, but the Inquirer says the company is targeting owners of set-tops with the following models:

DCH3416, DCT6200, DCH3200, DCT6412, DCT3416, DCT6416, DCT5100, DCH6200, DCT3412, and DCT6208.

Those customers are getting letters with the warning to update or else.

“Older boxes like yours can’t keep up with new features and will lose HD channels. So we’d like to give you a new one,” states the Comcast letter.

Customers with the old receivers will start losing high-def channels because Comcast is changing the way it sends out signals; the old boxes will not be able to receive the new signals.

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It’s not known how many channels could be affected, or when customers of the older receivers will begin to lose high-def channels because of the new transmission method.

The Inquirer writes that some subscribers wouldn’t mind switching to a new receiver, but they don’t want to lose the recorded programming that now resides on their old set-top. Comcast does not offer an option to transfer the old recordings to the new receiver, or to a ‘cloud DVR.’

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“East Mount Airy resident Elayne Bender is already mourning the loss of favorite episodes of The Voice and “classic Saturday Night Live bits” that will vanish when she swaps out her current cable box,” the Inquirer writes.

— Phillip Swann