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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 25, 2010

Comcast to Launch a Slew of TV Networks after Upgrading Customers to Digital

By Trupti Kamath, TMCnet Contributor

Comcast's (News - Alert) California Region will be launching 81 new TV networks for customers in Sacramento, including 61 high-definition networks, 14 international premium networks and six standard definition channels.
The new channel launches will take place in two waves – the first in June and the second wave in August. Twenty communities in the Capital Region will now have access to more than 4,000 HD choices as part of a growing XFINITY TV lineup that has expanded as a result of Comcast's recent digital upgrade of customers from analog to digital. 
"We've heard from customers that they can't get enough HD and multicultural programming, so we're excited to exponentially increase our offering of those networks and give even more value to our customers as part of our digital upgrade," Curt Henninger, Senior VP of Comcast's California Region said. "These channel launches are about delivering on Comcast's promise to customers that by converting to digital, we could offer more of the products and services they want, right away."
Earlier this year, Comcast began a digital initiative offering digital upgrades to Expanded Basic customers to migrate from analog to digital, and converting channels 31 and above to a digitally delivered format. Comcast's digital migration reclaimed analog bandwidth to allow the company to provide more products and services to customers, such as faster Internet speeds, more channels and more ON DEMAND content. 
Comcast has completed the digital migration in the San Francisco Bay Area, but is continuing the project in other portions of Central California, and those areas will receive the new XFINITY TV programming in subsequent phases later this summer.
In addition to the new HD Channels, Comcast continues to deliver more HD content ON DEMAND, so customers can watch HD when they want to watch it. With more than 4,000 HD choices, Comcast is delivering the HD programming that aligns with what consumers want to watch and how they want to watch it.
Customers who do not receive HD channels will have new programming options as well. Six new standard definition networks are launching – college sports channel ESPN (News - Alert) U, art and culture network Ovation TV, The Africa Channel, Nat Geo Wild, CMT Pure Country, and English-language Latino network Si TV. 
In addition to the new networks, approximately 100 additional international and HD networks are changing channel numbers in order to standardize channel lineups across the state, and to group together genres of programming as well as channels that share a similar language or country of origin.
Comcast is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communication products and services. The company recently acquired 51percent stake in NBC Universal (News - Alert), a joint venture with General Electric. The news of this has stirred the market with rivals claiming that the new conglomerate would control too much media. They fear that the $30 billion transaction will give Comcast the sole power to control not just how TV shows and movies are made, but how they are delivered to homes.

Trupti Kamath is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny