Cable provider Comcast Corp. is offering a new tier of service in the Twin Cities that could be seen as a sign of the times: Digital Economy.

In offerings and in price -- $39.99, or $29.99 for customers who also have Comcast Internet and/or phone service -- it falls somewhere between bare-bones basic cable and Comcast's standard Digital Starter tier, which is $57.50.

Among the 20 channels offered in addition to basic cable's broadcast and public-service channels: A&E, Cartoon Network, Discovery, Disney, Food Network, Hallmark, History, Lifetime, USA and the Weather Channel. For news junkies, Fox News and CNN are included, CNBC and MSNBC are not.

Digital Economy also does not include some higher-cost channels such as ESPN, TNT and TBS.

It's "educational, family-oriented channels," said Nick Kozel, Comcast's vice president of marketing and sales in the Twin Cities.

"This particular customer group typically likes them all, so what we've done is tailored what's available to what a portion of the population really likes."

The new package will be available in the Twin Cities market starting Dec. 16.

A digital receiver with remote control is included in the deal, but on-demand or pay-for-view movies are not.