Cablevision announced today their intention to add 15 additional HD channels to their iO: Interactive Optimum digital service. The additions will bring their total HD lineup to 40 channels. The channels come from their own subsidiary, Rainbow Holdings’ Voom service. In addition, Cablevision says they will eventually have the capacity to deliver as many as 500 HD channels, maybe even by the end of the year.
Cablevision has the ability to do this because they have probably been the most aggressive among MSOs to implement a switched digital video (SDV) architecture. SDV frees up bandwidth, and only delivers the channels being requested at any given time, as opposed to broadcasting all channels all the time. SDV is no stranger to IPTV operators – it’s the foundation of IPTV and allows telecom operators to deliver digital video services utilizing DSL over copper telephone lines. Cablevision is also quite aggressive with HD. It offers it at no additional charge, unlike most pay TV operators. As a result, they have a significant penetration. “The company has deployed more than 1 million high-definition set-top boxes to customers, and had 734,000 HD customers as of March 31 – an 85 percent increase in HD customers over the previous year.”
Or put another way, as may have been heard in some Cablevision board rooms – “take that DirecTV and Verizon FiOS!”