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The pitcher-catcher relationship of video-on-demand has just added a new sign to its repertoire: high-definition television.

N2 Broadband said its MediaPath platform is now capable of delivering HDTV programming for on-demand distribution by cable operators.

Pay-per-view and VOD distributor InDemand is the first to use the enhanced system for HD programming, N2 said. In Demand's MSO backers include Comcast Corp., Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable.

In Demand's HDVOD efforts will be paired with plans to launch three linear HDTV channels that will compete for space with Mark Cuban's HDNet. The first of those channels, to be named INHD, is expected to bow September 1, and feature "several hundred hours" of movies, pro and college sports events and general programming in 1080i (interlace) format.

Cablevision Systems was the first U.S. MSO to formally disclose any short-term HDVOD plans. The MSO expects to begin offering HDVOD titles this summer from MSG Network, Fox Sports Net New York, HBO and Showtime.

The more advanced MediaPath system, N2 Broadband said, is outfitted to transfer content files more than five times the size of movies encoded in standard definition. N2's OpenStream VOD platform and Asset Management System also support HD.

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