Comcast Corp. claimed that it isn't carrying CBS' HDTV signals because the
broadcaster has failed to make them available "at no cost," according to the
MSO's filing with the Federal Communications Commission this past week.
The "Tiffany Network" denied that it's seeking cash compensation for the HDTV
signals of its owned-and-operated TV stations. Rather, CBS said, carriage of its
HDTV signals is tied in with retransmission-consent talks with the mega-MSO.
In a June 23 letter to FCC Media Bureau chief W. Kenneth Ferree, Comcast
described how it is trying to expedite the rollout of HDTV in its major markets
as part of cable's voluntary commitment to FCC chairman Michael Powell.
Comcast's letter also noted that the MSO is only carrying the HDTV signal of
one CBS owned-and-operated TV station, WBBM-TV in Chicago.
The operator said that with the exception of WBBM, "CBS has not yet made its
owned-and-operated stations available for carriage 'at no cost,' as is
specifically contemplated in the Powell plan. Accordingly, Comcast is not
currently carrying the HDTV signals of CBS' O&O stations other than
Powell has been encouraging a cost-free launch of HDTV, at least at
Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Moyer declined to comment on what specific
compensation, or "cost," CBS is seeking for its HDTV signals, or if it was tied
to retransmission consent, as the broadcaster claimed.
CBS owns 16 TV stations, in markets such as New York, Boston, Baltimore,
Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and Denver.