Comcast Launches HDTV
Comcast Cable Communications, Inc., today announced the launch of its HDTV services, which will give more than 1.3 million customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware access to high-definition broadcasts of ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO and Showtime in November. Comcast is the only company in the region to offer such a robust lineup of high definition programming.
"We are always working to provide our customers with the latest and best in television technology," said Michael Doyle, president of Comcast Cable's Eastern Division. "The company has invested millions of dollars in the complete upgrade of our fiber optic cable network, in order to provide our customers with cutting-edge services including digital cable, high-speed Internet and video-on-demand. HDTV, the most sophisticated form of television commercially available, is the next step in this process."
Since most commercial television sets do not have built-in HDTV tuners, Comcast will make set-top tuners available to customers. Comcast digital cable customers who have an HDTV-ready set will now be able to rent or purchase a set-top box similar to their current digital tuner, which will allow them to view channels broadcast in high definition. Customers will also be able to continue to view standard analog and digital stations on their HDTV sets.
With the launch of HDTV, Comcast becomes one of the first major cable providers in the U.S. to offer the service, which features a wide-screen picture with a width:height ratio of 16:9, identical to that of most cinema; more than two million pixels per picture; and color resolution that is twice that of analog. The HDTV picture is up to six times sharper than the analog picture.
Beginning November 1, Comcast customers in parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware will have access to high definition programming broadcast by their ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, as well as HBO and Showtime. Over the next several months, the company plans to offer HDTV service to customers in parts of central and northern New Jersey.
HDTV was first widely broadcast in 1998, when ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and PBS affiliates nationwide broadcast Senator John Glenn's return from space in high definition. Currently, ABC, NBC and CBS are broadcasting portions of their lineups, including selected movies, primetime programming, and special events, in high definition. HBO's HDTV lineup, broadcast throughout the day, includes movies, special events, and original programming such as The Sopranos and the miniseries Band of Brothers.
Customers who subscribe to Comcast digital cable, in addition to being eligible for HDTV, may receive more than 270 digital channels including: 45 premium movie channels, 45 commercial-free music channels, all 12 Encore themed movie channels, five Discovery channels, six MTV and VH1 channels, more than 30 additional pay-per-view channels, a variety of sports packages featuring 8 NHL and 12 NBA pay-per-view channels as well as college sports, and an interactive on-screen program guide.
Comcast's HDTV package includes the rental of an HDTV decoder and will be available to digital cable customers for $10.95 per month. For those wanting to avoid a monthly charge, decoders can also be purchased at cost for approximately $300.
For more information about Comcast HDTV or other Comcast products and services, please call 1.800.COMCAST or visit our web site at www.comcast.com.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSK; CMCSA), (www.comcast.com), a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Comcast Cable is the third largest cable company in the United States. Providing basic cable, digital cable and high speed Internet services, Comcast Cable is the company to look to first for the communications products and services that connect people to what's important in their lives. The company's approximately 18,000 cable division employees serve more than 8.4 million customers in six geographic regions.
Comcast Cable serves more than 3.1 million customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut. Comcast, whose Eastern Division offices are located in Oaks, PA, employs more than 5,000 people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut.