Pebble Beach, CA --
The cable television industry has offered to add its advertising resources to those of the broadcast and consumer electronics industries to promote the digital television transition. The offer was made today by Robert Sachs, President and CEO, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), in remarks to the Futures Conference of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Pebble Beach, CA.

"Cable operators want to provide additional value to consumers, and help advance the digital transition," Sachs told broadcast industry executives at the conference.

"We commend NAB and CEA (the Consumer Electronics Association) for the DTV advertising campaign they recently launched in four markets - and offer to add our advertising resources to promote digital television where MSOs are providing HDTV."

The pledge is the latest in a series cable industry efforts to advance the "digital transition." Sachs detailed the cable industry’s $55 billion investment to upgrade its infrastructure for advanced services as digital video, high speed Internet access, cable telephone service, and HDTV programming.

Sachs noted several recent examples of his industry’s efforts to spur the digital transition:
  • Time Warner Cable’s launch of high definition television (HDTV) tiers in 42 markets that it serves;
  • Comcast’s launch of an HDTV tier in Philadelphia to 1.3 million customers, and recent announcement to offer HDTV in Washington, D.C., Detroit and Indianapolis;
  • Charter Communications’ announcement today that it will launch HD tiers in seven of its markets, including Birmingham, Alabama; South Miami, Florida; and St. Louis, Missouri.
"We believe that compelling high definition digital programming will drive DTV sales up and bring prices down to a range more consumers can afford. And for the DTV transition ever to succeed, this has to happen," Sachs said.

"As the Time-Warner, Comcast and Charter HDTV launches demonstrate, broadcasters who offer any significant amount of HDTV programming are more and more likely to find receptive cable operators. Over the coming months, you’ll see still more cable operators launch HDTV," Sachs told the audience of broadcast industry executives. "Cable operators are looking to add services that bring the most value for consumers."

Sachs noted areas of common interest between the cable and broadcast industries and encouraged the two industries to join forces to advance the digital transition. For example, Sachs said the cable industry shares the broadcast industry’s desire to protect copyrighted digital video from being pirated. He said the cable industry’s R&D consortium, CableLabs, is participating in inter-industry working groups to ensure that broadcast digital copy protection mechanisms are fully compatible with cable technology.

Sachs also pointed to the work the cable industry has done to ensure the technical compatibility of broadcast HDTV signals with cable systems. "Cable compatibility is not an issue," he said. "The fact that cable operators like Time Warner and Comcast currently are providing cable customers with high definition broadcast and cable programming should put this question to rest."

NCTA is the principal trade association of the cable television industry in the United States. NCTA represents cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks, as well as equipment suppliers and providers of other services to the cable industry.

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