March Madness for Voom


There will be a channel boom for Voom in March.

Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Rainbow Media Enterprises subsidiary said its HD direct-broadcast satellite service will expand to more than 70 HD channels in March from its current total of 39.

Voom will use 16 transponders on SES Americom Inc.’s “AMC-6” satellite, which Voom refers to as “Rainbow 2.”

Programming transmitted by both “Rainbow 1” and Rainbow 2 will use a new encoding system from Harmonic Inc., initially configured to run in MPEG-2 (Moving Picture Expert Group) and software-upgradeable to MPEG-4, Voom said.

Rainbow also announced in a Federal Communications Commission filing that it recently completed a contract with Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems under which the aerospace company will construct five Ka-band satellites for Voom.

"The increase in Voom’s HDTV channels from 39 to more than 70 will allow us to continue to provide more high-definition video services than any other cable or satellite provider," Rainbow Media Enterprises CEO Tom Dolan said in a prepared statement. “Our plan is to simultaneously add nearly 200 standard-definition channels."

Dolan added, “All Voom customers have been provided with set-top boxes capable of receiving the MPEG-4 signal, and we remain committed to offering more than 400 full continental U.S. channels before the end of 2005."