HDTV: Cable or Satellite? (1 Viewer)

Sean Mota

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Sep 8, 2003
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I guess, Philip Swann coudn't see the $0 offer in his cristal ball, but he has some good points about D* and E*.

DIRECTV and Echostar may be losing new high-def owners to cable TV -- and for good reason.
By Phillip Swann

Washington, DC (Feb. 26) -- You just purchased an expensive new High-Definition TV. Should you subscribe to cable TV or buy a satellite dish? Which one offers the best high-def lineup?

The answer used to be satellite. From 2000 to 2003, both DIRECTV and Echostar offered more high-def channels than its cable counterparts. However, in the last year, the cable TV industry has raced ahead and is now the clear leader in providing HDTV programming.

(Note: Voom, the new satellite TV service from Cablevision, offers more than 30 high-def channels. However, the cost of Voom's dish and receiver is nearly four times that of its satellite rivals. Consequently, Voom has yet to make a dent in the market.)

Why do I say this? In many markets, cable TV now provides:

* High-def feeds of Cinemax, HBO, Starz, Showtime, ESPN HD, HDNet, Discovery HD Theater and InDemand. Cable operators have added these channels while the satellite TV industry has sat on its butt. DIRECTV, for instance, has not added a high-def channel since July 2003. (The satcaster did add local HD feeds of CBS in selected markets.)

* High-def feeds of the local channels, such as ABC, NBC, PBS and CBS. However, DIRECTV and Echostar only offer high-def feeds of CBS -- and in just a few cities. If you're a satellite viewer, you will likely have to install an rooftop antenna to receive your local digital broadcasts.

In addition, over the last year, DIRECTV and Echostar have failed to keep promises when it comes to HDTV services. For instance, DIRECTV announced in January 2003 that it would offer a HDTV recorder from its partner, TiVo, by year's end. However, the satcaster has not only failed to release the product, but it hasn't even announced a launch date yet. In addition, DIRECTV and Echostar say they plan to increase their HDTV lineups this year, but have not offered any specifics or timetables.

DIRECTV and Echostar are making a major mistake by failing to respond to the growing audience of HDTV owners. If they don't change course -- and soon -- the cable TV industry could dominate the HDTV industry for years.
 

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