New satellite service promises more choices for HDTV owners

Sean Mota

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Sep 8, 2003
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Posted at AVSforum: Source

I like your opinion about it. Especially the MOOV channel. I'll post my opinion later.

From this morning's (Cleveland) Plain Dealer newspaper
New satellite service promises more choices for HDTV owners

12/04/03

This is the dilemma of high-definition television: People will buy HDTV sets when there is enough programming, and networks will provide HDTV programming when enough people have bought HDTV sets.

The people at Voom, a direct-broadcast satellite service, are betting they have the solution to the dilemma: 39 HDTV channels, 21 of them unique to the company, which began limited service in October.

Hardware for the service costs $749; programming charges begin at $39.90 a month. Subscribers will not be charged for a subscription until an introductory period ends on Jan. 31, when those 39 HDTV channels will be operating fully.

"We would like Voom to be recognized as the place where HDTV comes alive," said Josh Sapan, president and chief executive officer of Rainbow Holdings LLC, the company that operates Voom.

Originally part of New York-based Cablevision Corp., Rainbow Holdings and Voom have been spun off as a separate company. Charles Dolan, brother of Indians owner Larry Dolan, resigned as Cablevision CEO to head the new venture a week after it debuted.

"We think that the amount of momentum of HDTV has created a unique opportunity for us," said Bill Casamo, Voom executive vice president for sales and marketing. "There is a significant unfulfilled demand for HD content."

In addition to providing HD services from Discovery HD Theater, the NFL and Playboy, which might be offered elsewhere, Voom is producing 21 channels of movies and other entertainment that will be carried only on Voom.

Some of those channels offer content not usually found in the HD or standard-definition world. Certainly the oddest channel is Moov, a mixture of HD video and music. Voom executives said that this is the start of a new medium.

"You really have to see it to understand it," Sapan said. "Think of video-motion art in native HD with music."

Gallery HD offers HDTV tours of museums, art galleries and architecture.

"When you see this stuff on HD, it really is the best you can get without going to the gallery," Sapan said.

The beginning rate of $39.90 per month includes all the Voom exclusive channels, as many as 40 standard-definition satellite channels and one of the subscription-based network packages, such as Showtime, HBO, Cinemax and Starz, which include HDTV and standard-definition channels. (Getting all channels costs $99.50 a month.)

Voom is being sold through Sears stores and by Voom itself. More retailers might be added as the service grows.

Casamo said that retailers have problems selling HDTV because they are unable to show much HDTV programming in their stores. Many network HDTV shows are aired after stores have closed for the evening.

"We think that we have solved a big problem for retailers," Casamo said.

Voom might solve another problem for HDTV viewers. Its satellite dish includes an off-the-air HDTV antenna, and the Voom receiver has an off-the-air tuner. Local HDTV channels are picked up through the HDTV antenna and blended into the Voom program guide.

The other satellite services, DirecTV and Dish Network, have off-the-air tuners in their HD satellite tuners, but Voom is the first to offer an HDTV antenna built into the satellite dish.

Voom's selection of channels should expand next fall, when the new generation of compression formats, MPEG-4, will be used. MPEG-2 is the current video compression used by satellites and DVDs. MPEG-3 is also known as MP3, the compression format used for music, primarily on computers.

Voom could have as many as 80 HDTV channels and 200 standard-definition channels after MPEG-4 goes into effect.

"We want to offer every HD channel from every source," Sapan said. "We're all about HDTV, and we're going to ride the momentum.
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
In addition to providing HD services from Discovery HD Theater, the NFL and Playboy, which might be offered elsewhere, Voom is producing 21 channels of movies and other entertainment that will be carried only on Voom.

Some of those channels offer content not usually found in the HD or standard-definition world. Certainly the oddest channel is Moov, a mixture of HD video and music. Voom executives said that this is the start of a new medium.

"You really have to see it to understand it," Sapan said. "Think of video-motion art in native HD with music."

Gallery HD offers HDTV tours of museums, art galleries and architecture.

"When you see this stuff on HD, it really is the best you can get without going to the gallery," Sapan said.

The beginning rate of $39.90 per month includes all the Voom exclusive channels, as many as 40 standard-definition satellite channels and one of the subscription-based network packages, such as Showtime, HBO, Cinemax and Starz, which include HDTV and standard-definition channels. (Getting all channels costs $99.50 a month.)

This writer needs to do his research before opening his mouth. First, playboy HD will be exclusive to VOOM for two years. NO one else will carry it.

MOOV - I tell you, you don't need to see to understand that it is A BIG WASTE OF BANDWITH.

Gallery, Ultra, Treasure and ANIMANIA need content and I will drop Gallery and Treasure in no time and without thinking. These 21 HD channnels exclusivity is overated. VOOM better start adding more channels.
 

Acerone

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 29, 2003
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Long Island
Voom called me today asking if I would take a survey and of course I said yes. One of the questions in the survey was my thoughts on the programming so far, I told him it was ok but you can do better. The CSR said they are working on the mapping problems all this week and they are adding ESPN, Cinemax, Starz and HBO very soon. I wouldn't mind having HDNet and HDNet Movies again. So far so good :)
 

Stargazer

Supporting Founder
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Sep 7, 2003
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Something that would help them out would be to add at least one or two channels each month to get people thinking and looking forward to more channel additions in the future and they would be less likely to drop the service. Right now they need about a dozen channel additions it sounds like but if they give out about half a dozen and add some each month that may satisfy some of the customers.
 

jabroni

SatelliteGuys Guru
Nov 25, 2003
149
0
As a Direct HD sub, I would GLADLY give up HDNET and HDNET movies for 2 of the premium channels, namely STARZ HD and TMC HD. I have yet to watch an entire show on the two HDNET channels.

HDNET and HDNET Movies are an utter waste of bandwidth IMO.
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
jabroni said:
As a Direct HD sub, I would GLADLY give up HDNET and HDNET movies for 2 of the premium channels, namely STARZ HD and TMC HD. I have yet to watch an entire show on the two HDNET channels.

HDNET and HDNET Movies are an utter waste of bandwidth IMO.

No doubt I would like Starz HD and TMC HD but remember HDnet has very good programs and it is the only 24/7 HD channel. Starz and TMC will be like SHO and HBO - SD & HD content.
 

jabroni

SatelliteGuys Guru
Nov 25, 2003
149
0
HDNET might be 24/7, but I have yet to watch a show from start to finish on this channel.
 

rudolpht

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Supporting Founder
Sep 12, 2003
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jabroni said:
As a Direct HD sub, I would GLADLY give up HDNET and HDNET movies for 2 of the premium channels, namely STARZ HD and TMC HD. I have yet to watch an entire show on the two HDNET channels.

HDNET and HDNET Movies are an utter waste of bandwidth IMO.

Agree. The commitment is good. Dare I also say the TV reruns from film sources are not OAR.... I've watched more Cinema 10+Themes in a couple weeks (and not much of that) than all both of those nets over 9 months. I did however like The Wild Bunch in OAR on HDnetMovies.
 

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