• Independent Show: Same ol’ gripes, sad to say
By Brian Santo
More than one thousand representatives from 155 independent cable operators from around the country met today for the first day of the third-annual Independent Show, which brings together members of the American Cable Association (ACA) and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC). The Independent Show begins today in Orlando, Fla.
High on the agenda will be how to deal with retransmission fees and negotiations, the pending digital TV transition, and the decreasing market power of independent operators serving smaller markets.
ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said, “This year, perhaps more than any other, the entire industry must pool its collective knowledge, resources and resolve to ensure any one of several issues does not interfere with our members’ mission of serving the millions of cable customers that rely on their local independent cable operator for essential services.”
• Cablevision adds 15 HD channels to lineup
By Traci Patterson
Cablevision has added 15 new high-definition (HD) channels to its iO TV HD lineup, which now features 60 HD programming options.
The new additions are launching across Cablevision's service area this week: AMC HD, Animal Planet HD, Discovery Channel HD, Fox News HD, FX HD, Hallmark Movie Channel HD, IFC HD, Nickelodeon HD, Science Channel HD, Speed Channel HD, Spike HD, The Weather Channel HD, TLC HD, Travel Channel HD and WE HD.
With nearly 2.7 million iO TV customers, more than 85 percent of Cablevision's cable customers are iO TV digital cable customers. iO TV offers customers access to up to 360 channels, including 53 premium movie channels, 48 channels of commercial-free digital music, more than 3,500 titles available on-demand at all times, an interactive programming guide, 60 HD programming services and interactive television (iTV) applications, including News 12 Interactive.
• CMC adds 14 HD channels to HITS Quantum service
By Traci Patterson
The Comcast Media Center (CMC) said that it has signed transport agreements for 14 additional high-definition (HD) television channels, making 20 the current number of HD channels that will be available via the CMC’s HITS Quantum MPEG-2 programming service.
The most recent transport agreements will add channels from A&E Television Networks (History HD); Discovery Communications (Animal Planet HD, Discovery Channel HD, HD Theater, Science Channel HD and TLC HD); Disney-ABC Television Group (ABC Family HD and Disney Channel HD); Fox News (Fox News HD); Lifetime Networks (LMN HD), NBCU (USA HD and SCI FI HD); Outdoor Channel (Outdoor Channel HD); and Travel Channel Media (Travel Channel HD).
These channels join A&E HD, HGTV HD, Food Network HD, National Geographic Channel HD, Starz HD and Universal HD, which launched on HITS Quantum last year. HITS Quantum’s HD channel lineup is delivered via SES Americom’s AMC-18 HD-Prime satellite.
• DirecTV adds 44 new HD local markets
By Traci Patterson
DirecTV has added 44 new high-definition (HD) local channel markets to its roster. And the satellite provider said that by year’s end, it will provide local HD broadcast channels in 121 cities, representing more than 88 percent of U.S. TV households. DirecTV will begin the rollout of the new HD local markets in August, and the rollouts will continue through the end of the year.
The new markets include: Augusta, Ga.; Harrisonburg, Va.; Bangor, Maine; La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wis.; Baton Rouge, La.; Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.; Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; Lincoln-Hastings, Neb.; Boise, Idaho; Macon, Ga.; Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Mobile AL-Pensacola, Fla.; Butte-Bozeman, Mont.; Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C.; Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill.; Norfolk-Newport News, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Palm Springs, Calif.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Peoria-Bloomington, Ill.; Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo.; Richmond-Petersburg, Va.; Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo.; Rockford, Ill.; Davenport, Iowa-Rock Island, Ill.; Moline, Ill.; Rochester, N.Y.; Dayton, Ohio; Savannah, Ga.; Des Moines-Ames, Iowa; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Dothan, Ala.; South Bend-Elkhart, Ind.; El Paso, Texas; Springfield-Holyoke, Mass.; Evansville, Ind.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Toledo, Ohio; Greenville-New Bern-Washington, N.C.; Traverse City-Cadillac, Mich.; Harlingen-Brownsville, Texas; and Youngstown, Ohio
And beginning Aug. 14, DirecTV will launch more than 30 additional HD channels, bringing its total HD channel lineup to 130. DirecTV will also transmit all of its HD programming in the MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) standard by the end of this month, the company said, making DirecTV the first to do so in the industry. All HD programming will also be available in the Dolby Digital audio format, and later this year, DirecTV said that it will begin offering movies in 1080p.
• BigBand names George regional VP of cable sales
By Traci Patterson
BigBand Networks has appointed Susan George to regional VP of cable sales. George will focus on Comcast, Cablevision, Cox and other cable accounts, the company said.
George has worked for more than 13 years in management positions at companies such as Camiant, SeaChange International and Digital Media Studios.
"BigBand is widely recognized as a pure-play digital video market leader, and I'm proud to be joining a winning team," said George. "The innovation, commitment and energy that have powered BigBand's current successes are positioning the company to become a dominant player in the delivery of personalized television."
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