Cox Scores Multicast NCAA Games

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Cox Communications digital-cable customers in Rhode Island will be able to watch up to four 2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games simultaneously under a deal the system cut with the local CBS affiliate.

Beginning Thursday, Cox subscribers with digital set-tops will be able to view multiple regional games from the tournament simultaneously.

Channels available on Cox from local CBS affiliate WPRI-TV -- owned by station group Lin TV -- include the main analog channel, an HD channel and two additional digital channels that are being used in the early rounds of the tournament to distribute multiple games at the same time.

The additional basketball coverage gives Cox a competitive advantage over incumbent Rhode Island cable operator Full Channel TV, which hasn’t yet agreed to carry the additional games.

“Full Channel is currently in retransmission negotiations with Lin TV,” Full Channel director of new media Levi Maaia said.

Several CBS affiliates have cut deals with cable distributors in recent years to distribute multiple NCAA basketball games on digital-cable channels.

While TV stations with digital-broadcast channels could directly reach viewers with multicast channels from over-the-air signals, few consumers own antennas and digital-broadcast receivers required to view the programming.

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