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Cable Co. to Speed HDTV

265 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  PlasmaQuestions
By my name you can guess where I usually post, but I ran across this article on Yahoo today regarding the pledge by certain Cable Companies to speed up it's commitment to HDTV. Pretty Intesting stuff:

Cable companies commit to speed digital TV

Wed May 1, 1:32 PM ET

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top ten U.S. cable operators committed Wednesday to take steps to accelerate the transition to digital television, including carrying several high-definition digital channels by January 2003.

Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) Chairman Michael Powell last month set out a voluntary plan to give a push to the transition that has become mired in squabbling among broadcasters, cable providers and electronics manufacturers over what step should be taken first and by whom.

The cable industry is widely seen as a linchpin to the move to higher-quality, crisper digital television because so many Americans watch television via cable. However, consumers have been reticent to buy expensive equipment to receive digital, and available high-definition programming is limited.

"The cable industry's initiative, together with the voluntary actions of other industries as suggested by Chairman Powell, should provide an important boost to the DTV transition," Robert Sachs, president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said in a letter to Powell.

"The success of the DTV transition depends upon the creation of compelling digital programming, the cooperation of the broadcast, cable, satellite and consumer electronics industries, and most importantly, consumer demand," he said.


Cable operators like AT&T Broadband and AOL Time Warner Inc. said they would accept Powell's challenge to carry by Jan. 1, 2003, at no extra cost up to five digital channels, which could include networks, public television stations, cable channels or other value-added programming.

Tracking Powell's plan, the cable companies also agreed to begin ordering the necessary set-top boxes with digital connectors and deploying them to customers as soon as they are available from manufacturers, likely by the end of 2003.

Additionally, the industry will embark on an advertising campaign to market digital television and other value-added programming that may complement services to encourage consumers to buy the new television sets and order the new service.

Sachs said AT&T Broadband, AOL Time Warner Inc., Comcast Corp., Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Adelphia Communications, Cablevision Systems, Mediacom Communications, Insight Communications and CableOne all agreed to take several steps.

Powell's plan also called on the major television networks and premium movie channels to air half of their primetime schedules in digital by the fall season and consumer electronics makers to put digital tuners into some new sets starting in 2004.

Already, two premium movie channels are broadcasting in high-definition, HBO and Showtime, while Viacom Inc.'s CBS network broadcasts its primetime schedule in digital and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC network plans to broadcast half of its primetime shows in digital this fall.

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