HBO Takes HDTV High Road


New York -- Home Box Office will take the high-definition
high road, saying that the two channels of high-definition programming it develops next
year will be created using the 1080-interlace format.

HBO, with a long history of technology innovation, said the
decision was made to serve high-end customers who buy digital TV sets and expect the
highest possible quality picture.

Bob Zitter, senior vice president of technology for HBO,
said last week that the 1080i format contains 30 percent more resolution than 720p
(progressive scan), "and the highest possible quality is what people expect from

As for the effect of HBO's move on future digital
cable boxes, Jim Chiddix, chief technical officer for Time Warner Cable, explained that
one of two things can happen: Either MSOs can pass the 1080i signal through the box to a
high-definition decoder in the TV, assuming that a good security method is worked out; or
decode the signal in what he described as "the ultimate set-top box," and hand
it off to the TV.