Cable One Rolling Out Stand-Alone HD Tier

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Cable One is creating a stand-alone HDTV tier that it plans to roll out to most of its cable systems by the end of March, according to officials.

The Phoenix-based cable operator is in final negotiations to put Discovery HD Theater, National Geographic Channel HD, A&E HD, HGTV HD and Food Network HD on a new HDTV tier, vice president of strategic marketing Jerry McKenna said, adding, “That’s what we’re shooting for. That’s moving along pretty well.”

Subscribers who have one of Cable One’s dual-tuner HD digital-video recorders will be able get the new HDTV tier for $5 per month.

Right now, Cable One digital customers with the HD-DVR already have access to HD programming. They get HD broadcast signals, as well as ESPN HD, TNT HD and Universal HD services, McKenna said. And premium subscribers get the premiums, such as Home Box Office and Showtime, in HD.

Cable One is putting HD services that it has to pay for on the new five-channel tier.

“Our philosophy is that if we can get the programming for free, then we provide it to our customers for free,” McKenna said. “With these networks, we are being charged license fees, and so we put it together as a tier. Someday, we’d love to be able to fold that down and give it to our customers for free.”

Cable One, which has about 700,000 subscribers, has been deploying about 5,000 HD-DVRs per month.

“It’s a pretty good number,” McKenna said. “We’re moving along pretty quickly.”

Cable One has already deployed about 70,000 HD-DVRs in its 220,000 digital homes, “so we’re more than one-third penetrated in our digital households,” according to McKenna.

Current Cable One digital customers can upgrade to an HD-DVR for an additional $10 per month.

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