Cablevision Systems will send MLB Network up to the plate in both standard- and high-definition format when the rookie service takes its first cut on New Year's Day.
The top operator in the New York metro area will position MLB Network on channels 149 and 400 in standard and will add the HD version of the service to its roster of 68 free enhanced networks on channel 790.
For its part, Charter Communications said it will position MLB Network on the digital portion of its expanded basis lineup.
Cablevision said its HD customer base has grown by 50% over the last year, as more than 1.3 million iO TV customers have at least one high-definition television and HD-enabled set-top box in their homes today.
MLB Network, which has been in free previews on Cablevision systems the past two weeks, is set to officially debut Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. The network, headed by former CBS Sports executive Tony Petitti, will bow in some 50 million homes, making it the largest launch in cable history.
“Cablevision is thrilled to bring MLB Network to fans of America’s pastime as we countdown to spring training and the 2009 MLB season,” said John Trierweiler, senior vice president of product management,” in a statement. “iO TV delivers customers the best in sports, movies, entertainment and more as well as truly-free HD without the extra equipment costs or programming package fees charged by our competitors.”
Added Petitti: “We are looking forward to launching MLB Network on Cablevision. MLB Network will be the ultimate destination for baseball fans, offering an insider’s perspective on the sport that has never been seen before. This partnership helps us expand our reach and accomplish our goal of bringing MLB Network to as many fans as possible.”