Cable operators are making high-definition-TV programming available to
one-third of all U.S. TV households in 90 markets, the National Cable &
Telecommunications Association reported Tuesday, a few days before industry
leaders arrive in Las Vegas for the International Consumer Electronics Show.
In a press
release, the NCTA said at least one cable operator in 62 of
the top 100 markets is providing HDTV, although the trade group did not discuss
pricing and packaging issues.
Cable operators are also providing HDTV in another 31 markets outside of the
top 100, including such remote locales as Fargo, N.D., and Twin Falls,
Last May, the 10 largest cable operators said that by Jan. 1, 2003, they
would offer to carry up to five HDTV services, cable and broadcast, on their
high-capacity systems in markets where they had at least than 25,000
An NCTA spokesman said the HDTV-carriage commitment made to Federal
Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell was clear in stating that
cable MSOs would 'offer' HDTV carriage before the Jan. 1 deadline, but that
actual carriage might take longer to achieve.
The NCTA's release noted that Comcast Corp.
president Brian Roberts, Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glen Britt and
Cox Communications Inc. president and CEO James Robbins would all attend the CES, where
HDTV products are among the most highly featured on the exhibitor floor.
The show starts Thursday.
Last month, top MSOs reached a deal that would allow the
manufacture of cable-compatible HDTV sets that consumers could use without cable