I finally had a chance to go over some HDTV stuff with the TOP brass at COX. No, not the CSR's, marketing or what not, but, "T-H-E" top of the ol' food chain that makes all the decisions (and knows and likes HDTV), if you know what I mean...
There were lots of HDTV questions - AND answers. Unfortunately, to get the questions answered, there were certain bits of info that I am unable to repeat at this time, due to current negotiations and upcoming announcements.
I do have some good news that I can repeat!
1) NBC status: The fiber link to NBC is active, and it's only waiting on NBC to start sending data. NBCHD has been delayed several times and may be up within a few months.
2)Cable boxes for sale! The boxes in Phoenix are still the older boxes, so there is no reason to go down and try to buy one. Also the CSR's do not have the turn on codes for retail sales - yet. The new boxes seem to have problems with the software and the IPG and should have the bugs worked out within the next 1-2 months. Good news is that they WILL BE AVAILABLE, FOR SALE, HERE IN VEGAS! Retail sales are being setup through Best Buy and Circuit City for SA and possibly Pioneer boxes next quarter. Fot the short term, both leasing and sales of STB's will be allowed in this market.
3) MORE HDTV Channels! Agreements have been made with NBATV carriage, and it's only a short time before HDTV agreements are made for a dedicated free digital package channel (meaning, have digital service, get NBATV free.
Starz HD: Current agreement allows for immediate coverage at launch of Starz HD with NO incremental price. Translated as: if you pay for Starz digital, you get Starz HD included for free (like HBO and SHO).
More channels are in negotiations, but I'm not allowed to divulge that specific info. If you were to compare what HD channel has been available on D* for a long time (with a second ch coming soon)... Basically, there should be no exclusive HD channels on D* that we will not be seeing here on Cox cable - except maybe a few NFL ticket games.
4)HDPVR - Cox LV is VERY interested and VERY well informed with a few different choices available!!! Not allowed to say anything more...
5) Full digital lineup! Talk of remapping Analog to new Digital carriers for digital subscribers . Cox LV is VERY interested and aggressively looking into doing this. Not allowed to comment on current developments.
Also noted was that with current agreements in place, as cable channels go forth with HD, most should be available with their launch. Currently, bandwidth in Vegas is not a problem for rolling out HD.
With the launches and negotiations going on right now, there could be twice as many HD channels available by the end of the year.