NCTA: HDTV becoming a cable staple
Cable customers in 78 of the top 100 Designated Market Areas (DMAs)—including 18 of the top 20—were passed by at least one cable operator that provides HDTV service as of June 1, according to new research from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
The information shows that 34 markets beyond the top-100 also are being served by a cable operator offering HDTV, bringing the total number of DMAs in which at least one cable operator is offering a package of HD channels to 112 of the 210 DMAs nationwide. In terms of households, 55 million U.S. television households were passed by a cable system that offers HD, growth of nearly 50 percent since the first of the year.
While the mix of HD programming offered by cable operators varies from market to market, NCTA also reported that cable operators are now carrying 190 different broadcast stations that are providing a digital TV signal.
During the same time that cable operators have launched HD service in more markets, cable program networks have also increased the amount of HD programming they are now producing. Networks currently offering HD content include HBO, Showtime, Discovery HD Theater, ESPN HD, In Demand, Madison Square Garden Network, Comcast Sports Net and HDnet. Other networks that have announced plans to begin offering HD content in 2003 include A&E Networks, Bravo and Cinemax.
The National Show this week in Chicago highlights HDTV with a centerpiece "HD Pavilion" display on the exhibit floor. The pavilion is designed to demonstrate the new technology that makes HD work plus showcase the ever-increasing HD content from cable and broadcast networks.