Market-Driven HD At Showtime

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Market-Driven HD At Showtime

(The Bridge) And then there was Showtime, which is leveraging its HD catalog as a way to impress both subscribers (with a variety of HD content) and distributors (with a bandwidth saving service package).

In addition to pure MPEG2 and, later this year, MPEG4 streams of its six HD channels – East and West versions of Showtime, Showtime 2 and TMC – the network is offering cable operators a single MPEG2 stream containing the three HD channels (either East or West depending on the region) as a bundle. By next year execs plan to have a total off 11 east and 11 west HD channels available, adding Flix, Showtime Next, Showtime Women, Showtime Beyond and Showtime Family to the mix.

“One of the challenges cable faces is how to manage its bandwidth appropriately,” says Showtime’s Senior Vice President of Sales Distribution Michael Tas. “With our bundle the operator can receive the stream at their headend and transfer it directly to the subscriber’s HD set-top box over 6Mhz,” thereby preserving both image quality and bandwidth space. “We can provide operators with a high-quality, cost-efficient stream over 6 MHz, and we’re the only premium programmer offering this service.”

Showtime is also the only one of the three premium programmers that spoke to The BRIDGE to say it plans to offer its entire programming lineup in, get ready HD fans, 1080i rather than the (slightly) lower quality 720p resolution offered by most networks.

The reasoning behind Showtime’s HD investment is clear as day.

“Approximately one out of five basic cable customers have HD,” Tas says. “Two out of five premium subscribers have HD.”
 

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