60 Million U.S. TV Households Can Receive HDTV Via Cable

HDTV Now Available in 19 of Top 20 Markets Nationwide From Local Cable Operator


Washington, D.C. - 60 million TV households in the United States now can receive high-definition television service from their local cable operator, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) announced today. Cable customers in 83 of the top 100 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) – including 19 of the top 20 – were passed by at least one cable operator that provides HDTV service as of September 1, according to NCTA.

High-definition television is the highest resolution digital television format offering up to 10 times the resolution of standard analog television. HDTV delivers theater-quality pictures and CD-quality sound and has been described as the most dramatic change for viewers since the introduction of color television.

Thirty-nine markets beyond the top-100 also are being served by a cable operator offering HDTV, bringing the total number of DMAs in which at least one cable operator is offering a package of HD channels to 122 of the 210 DMAs nationwide, NCTA said.

The 60 million TV households that are now passed by a cable system that offers HD reflects growth of more than 60 percent since the first of the year.

NCTA also reported that the number of local digital broadcast channels cable operators are offering has increased, with 231 different local broadcast stations now being transmitted in a digital format, up from 190 in June. The selection of national and local HD programming available to consumers varies by cable operator and market.

In addition to the continued nationwide deployment of HDTV service, the cable industry’s commitment to high-definition programming is also evidenced by the increasing number of networks that are producing HD content. With the addition of Bravo HD + this summer, a dozen networks are either currently offering, or will offer later this year, high-definition programming. Cable networks currently offering HD content include HBO, Showtime, Discovery HD Theater, ESPN HD, iNDEMAND, Madison Square Garden Network, Comcast SportsNet and HDNet. Starz Encore, Cinemax, A&E Network and The History Channel have announced plans to provide HD content later this year.

“The steady growth in HDTV deployment will speed our nation’s transition from analog to digital TV,” said Robert Sachs, President & CEO, NCTA. “Once consumers experience the superior picture quality and fantastic sound of HD, they want the product in their homes,” Sachs said.

Since 1996, the cable industry has invested more than $75 billion to upgrade its infrastructure and launch advanced broadband services such as digital cable, HDTV, video-on-demand, high-speed Internet service, and local telephone service. This investment has enabled cable operators to offer consumers a wide array of advanced broadband services like HDTV.

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.