EchoStar Communications launched Discovery Channel HD Theater on Monday as a pay channel for $7.95 per month or $95.88 yearly. The feed will be broadcast in 1080i 24 hours per day which is in stark comparison with PBS who currently has the best looking HDTV programming on either terrestrial or satellite feeds but frequently loops the same content over and over.
Marc Cuban evidently has had an effect on the execs at NBC. Broadcasting and Cable Magazine is reporting that NBC has agreed to air more of its prime time shows in HDTV.
ABC and CBS are ahead of the game in terms of prime time HDTV content although NBC does broadcast The Tonight Show in HDTV and did broadcast the winter Olympics from Salt Lake City in HD with help from Cuban’s HDNet.
An exact list of prime time shows was not released but one would expect more than the one show in HDTV (Crossing Jordan) in coming seasons.
It may not be 24 hours of Showtime in HDTV on DIRCTV but for the content starved HDTV early adopters this is great news – NBC and HDNet will be broadcasting all of the Visa Triple Crown horse racing events this year.
The coverage begins with the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4 at 5 p.m. ET. The HDTV broadcasts will be available on NBC’s HDTV affiliate stations and on HDNet’s channel 199 on DIRECTV. The announcement was made today by Ken Schanzer, President, NBC Sports and Mark Cuban, co-founder and president of HDNet.
Starting April 30, 2002, DirecTV will offer Showtime in HDTV 24 hours a day on channel 543. Showtime is the third network broadcasting in HD on DirecTV including Marc Cuban’s HDNet (channel 199) and HBO (channel 509). Showtime’s cutting edge programming, including hit shows like Queer As Folk, Boxing and blockbuster feature films will be a welcomed addition to content hungry HDTV early adopters and may also persuade new users to setup HDTV and subscribe to a fully loaded DirecTV package.
The Walt Disney Company and EchoStar Communications Corporation have reached a comprehensive multi-year agreement that ensures EchoStar's carriage of ABC Family and ESPN Classic on EchoStar's DISH Network, announced Robert A. Iger, president of The Walt Disney Company, and Charlie Ergen, chairman and CEO of EchoStar Communications Corporation.