Cable backs Digital TV transition plan
Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: Mi2N - May 3, 2002
The Cable television industry says it's firmly behind voluntary industry
actions to speed the transition to digital television, "as proposed recently
by FCC Chairman Michael Powell" and to make its point, extended an offer
which includes, "cable systems with more than 25,000 subscribers and
activated bandwidth of at least 750 MHz in the top 100 markets."
They say they'll carry the signal of up to five commercial or public TV
stations at no cost to cable operators or broadcasters, or cable networks
that provide HDTV programming during at least 50% of their prime time
schedule or a substantial portion of their broadcast week.
In a letter to Powell, Robert Sachs, President and CEO, National Cable and
Telecommunications, said, "Central ... is our belief that the availability
of high definition television (HDTV) is key to create the market incentive
for American consumers to purchase digital TV receivers. 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."
The 10 cable operators pledging support are AT&T Broadband, AOL-Time Warner,
Comcast, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Adelphia
Communications, Cablevision Systems, Mediacom Communications, Insight
Communications, and CableOn, collectively serving more than 85% of cable
customers in the US.
They may also offer to carry other, "value-added DTV programming that would
create an incentive for consumers to purchase DTV sets," Sachs said. "The
offer to carry qualifying broadcast stations assumes that broadcasters will
deliver a good quality signal to the cable operator. Cable operators will
begin immediately to place orders for integrated HD set-top boxes with
digital connectors and provide these boxes to customers who request them."
He went on that cable operators will support consumers' purchase of HD
set-tops from consumer electronics retailers and will advertise and market
HDTV and any other "value-added DTV programming" they provide, using a,
"broad variety of promotional tools.
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