As Super Bowl frenzy reaches a fever pitch, Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), announced it has now deployed more than one million high-definition television (HDTV)-capable Digital Cable set-top boxes in customers' homes, adding more than 800,000 of them in 2004 alone. In addition, Comcast has experienced a 143% increase in the number of customers connecting HDTV sets to Comcast's HD service during January 2005 versus January 2004.
"Comcast is changing the way people watch television with HDTV and video on demand now in customers' homes across the nation," said Dave Watson, Executive Vice President of Operations for Comcast. "Customers are embracing HDTV, and for sports fans, watching events like this weekend's Super Bowl or the upcoming March Madness tournament in crystal-clear HD is the next best thing to being in the front row."
This announcement comes as awareness and acceptance of HDTV is on the rise. In a 2004 HDTV Study conducted by The Leichtman Research Group, Inc., 86% of consumers said they had heard of HDTV, up from 73% in 2003. Additionally, 15% of HDTV owners said that they had more than one HDTV in their household, and 20% of HDTV owners said they plan to purchase another HDTV set in the next year.
The availability of compelling HDTV programming also is driving consumer interest. The Leichtman Research Group study found that current HDTV owners want to watch local broadcast affiliates, followed by movie and sports programs in high definition. In addition, 51% of HDTV owners and those most interested in getting an HDTV set felt that it was very important to be able to record, store and play back HD programs on a digital video recorder (DVR).
HDTV service now is available to more than 93% of Comcast customers. In its 62 markets with HD service, Comcast offers customers an average of 8 to 15 channels of high-definition programming, including the local affiliates of most major broadcast networks that satellite companies don't offer, as well as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, STARZ!, Discovery HD Theater, ESPN, INHD, INHD2 and regional sports networks. Comcast also offers HD-capable DVR service, so customers can view and record their favorite HD shows whenever they want to watch them and recently began making HD movies available as part of its video on demand service.
Comcast Corporation (http://www.comcast.com) is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable networks, and in the provision of programming content. The Company is the largest provider of cable and broadband services in the United States, serving more than 21 million cable television customers and more than 6 million high-speed Internet customers. The Company's content businesses include majority ownership of Comcast Spectacor, Comcast SportsNet, E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, G4techTV, The Golf Channel, International Channel and Outdoor Life Network. Comcast Class A common stock and Class A Special common stock trade on The Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbols CMCSA and CMCSK, respectively.