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· Charter Gold Club Member
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22,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Cable and satellite - and even the telcos - each have their
advantages in the battle for HD subscribers, but cable...
appears to have the edge for now."


One thing is as clear as high-def: cable and satellite operators had better be ready to
accommodate a surge of HD upgrades when customers unwrap their new HDTVs this
holiday season. While industry analysts are warning that the ill-prepared should embrace
for higher churn, slower subscriber growth and higher spending, the well-equipped HD
providers will reap the benefits.

So between the cable, satellite and telco companies all offering HD, which is in the lead?
According to Bernstein Research's Craig Moffett, at least temporarily, cable does. "Cable
and satellite - and even the telcos - each have their advantages in the battle for HD
subscribers... but cable operators would appear to have the edge for now," he said.

Unlike satellite, it's cable that offers all the local broadcast channels - which in addition
to the primetime lineups, also dominate the sports landscape - in virtually all their markets.
By contrast, DISH offers HD locals to about 47 percent of U.S. markets, and DIRECTV (after
recently expanding its local footprint) reaches about 65 percent. Of the startup telcos,
Verizon has an edge but is available to only 1.2 million households (less than one percent).

For national HD, Moffett gives the nod to DISH which offers 30 HD channels compared
to the average cable operator's offering of about 20. DIRECTV, the analyst said, is by far
the weakest of the big guys only offering 7 national channels. But don't count the nation's
largest satellite provider out of the race, he said, because DIRECTV is poised to take the
lead with new satellite capacity slated for next year - bumping the company's total offering
to a promised 150 channels of national HD.

"That programming doesn't exist yet," Moffett said, "but when it does, DIRECTV will likely
have more of it than anyone else. It will take the cable operators a few years - and new
technologies - to be able to match DIRECTV's 150 by the end of the decade."

As far as equipment is concerned, Moffett said by most accounts (and without going into
specs), EchoStar's may be the best but costs the most with an upfront charge in its leasing
agreement. Cable operators like Time Warner and Comcast provide similar units that have
less intuitive user interfaces - and don't require any upfront fees. Moffett also said DIRECTV
has struggled the most with its equipment, which goes a long way toward explaining why HD
penetration is so much lower given the company's high-end demographics.

www.SkyReport.com - used with permission
 

· Hall Of Fame
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2,014 Posts
Having had Dish HD, then Comcast HD and now DirecTV HD I'll offer the following:

As long as you don't want or need a good DVR, Cable is probably your best bet.

I'll qualify:

Dish and DirecTV have kick-ass DVR's, bugs and all because of one major factor - recording capacity. Comcast's best DVR I could get in Atlanta, GA had a 120gb hard disk.. which is puny if you want to record HD. The ViP622 via Dish will have expandable capacity and DirecTV's HR20 already does via SATA - a major factor, at least for me. If you can pony up the bucks for a S3 TiVo methinks that is the best way to go.
 

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890 Posts
If you consider, the channels that you actually watch, I agree that Cable is in the lead. I have both Dish HD and Cable HD. I will not repeat the 30 Dish HD Channels
but cable gives me NY ABC HD, NY NBC HD, NY CBS HD, NY FOX HD, (All on Dish)
NY PBS HD, NJ PBS HD, NY CW PBS HD, INHD, INHD2, Wealth, SNY HD, YES HD, MAX HD and TMC HD (not on Dish). Both Dish and Cable give me ESPN HD, HDnet, HD Discovery, HBO HD, Starz HD, Encore HD, Universal HD and TNT HD. Dish also
gives me ESPN2HD, VOOM, Food, National Geographic and HGTV. If I had to choose
between the two, the cable channels of NYPBSHD, SNY HD, YES HD, NY CW HD and
INHD are watched much more than the Dish channels. The only advantage Dish
has right now over my cable provider is ESPN2 HD.

When Verizon starts with service in a couple of months in my area, Verizon's HD
lineup will be superior to both Dish and Cable because it will include Sportsnet
Philadelphia HD, YES HD, SNY HD, ESPN2 HD, PBS HD, CW HD and MY HD.
Dish will be unable to compete with Verizon's HD lineup in New Jersey. After
having HD for 33 months, I look to my multi video provider as solely an HD
provider. The channel lineup is going to attract the subscribers.
 
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