HBO will make all 26 feeds of its HBO and Cinemax multiplex channels available in HD.
The rollout will begin later this year, with completion expected by the end of the second quarter of next year, according to HBO chairman and CEO Bill Nelson.
DirecTV already committed to offering some of the new HDTV services. The direct-broadcast satellite provider will begin launching the HDTV feeds of 11 HBO and Cinemax channels nationally in September as part of its HDTV expansion, DirecTV officials said. DirecTV plans to debut up to 100 national HD channels by the end of the year following the launch of its D10 satellite next month.
HBO was the first national cable network to offer HD feeds, with HBO HDTV launching in 1999 and Cinemax HDTV in 2003.
“We have a long history of firsts in technology -- satellite, multiplex and SVOD [subscription video-on-demand]. Such a commitment reinforces our tradition of giving our customers the best programming when they want it and how they want it,” Nelson said in a prepared statement. “This move further solidifies HBO’s leadership in the premium category.”
DirecTV was the first distributor to say it planned to launch some of HBO’s new HD feeds. In addition to the HBO (East) HD channel it currently offers, DirecTV will launch in full-time HD: HBO West, HBO2 West, HBO2 East, HBO Family East, HBO Family West, HBO Latino, HBO Signature, Cinemax East, Cinemax West and MoreMax.
The channels will begin rolling out in September and continue to launch through the rest of the year. DirecTV currently carries each of these channels in standard-definition.
HBO’s all-digital multiplex packages showcase its award-winning original series, films and documentaries and Cinemax’s extensive movie library and blockbuster hits.
The full roster of HBO-branded channels and feeds are: HBO (East/West), HBO2 (East/West), HBO Signature (East/West), HBO Comedy (East/West), HBO Family (East/West), HBO Zone (East/West) and HBO Latino (East/West).
The Cinemax-branded channels and feeds are: Cinemax (East/West), MoreMAX (East/West), ActionMAX (East/West), ThrillerMAX (East/West), WMAX (East), @MAX (East), 5StarMAX (East) and OuterMAX (East).
Each of the 15 multiplex channels has a distinct programming and on-air identity meant to appeal to targeted segments of the network's broader audience, providing subscribers with even more access to the kinds of programs they want to see at no extra cost.