Cablevision Rolls Out HD VOD

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Cablevision Systems Corp. subscribers returning from their Labor Day holiday will receive a new service treat: HD movies available on the MSO's VOD platform.

The MSO quietly launched HD content on its VOD platform last week, with about dozen Hollywood movies, including New Line Cinema's About Schmidt
and two made-for-IMAX features, Journey Into Amazing Caves
and Super Speedway.

At June's National Show in Chicago, Cablevision executives announced the MSO would add HD content to its VOD service this fall. Since then, the MSO has been working with its server vendor, SeaChange International Inc., to iron out HD/VOD integration issues. Cablevision said it will price its HD VOD movies at $6.95, compared with its VOD movies, which cost $4.95.

HD content is available on digital set-tops from Sony Corp. and Scientific-Atlanta Inc.

Most MSOs are looking to follow Cablevision and add HD content to their VOD servers. The biggest issue is handling the transmission of larger file sizes to servers and making storage decisions. High-definition movies take up four times the space of a standard-definition movie.

Given today's small footprint of HDTV sets, most MSOs are looking to start with a small amount of content, then add programming as the HD base grows. In addition to Hollywood movies, Home Box Office and Showtime offer HD content that would be a natural for VOD servers.

In Demand also plans to launch several HD VOD feeds this month.

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