Why Do More Home Theater Fans Retire to Florida?

Last week, Time Warner Cable said that it has successfully tested distribution of a high-definition TV feed from Home Box Office and will soon begin delivering it in the upgraded areas of its Tampa, Florida cable operation using equipment from Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. According to Time Warner, this marks the first time HBO's HDTV signal has been made available to cable customers using a form of signal-modulation technology known as QAM, which allows two HDTV channels to be delivered in the same bandwidth needed for one off-air HDTV channel.

With about 800,000 subscribers, Tampa Bay is Time Warner's second largest system. (The company has almost 13 million subscribers in the US.) The company says that in extensive testing, the HBO signal was delivered to an HDTV set in Tampa via Scientific-Atlanta's Explorer 2000HD set-top, which enables owners of first-generation HDTVs---which receive off-air high-definition signals---to receive hi-def programming via cable.

Jim Chiddix, Chief Technical Officer of Time Warner Cable, stated that "Time Warner Cable is strongly committed to rolling out HDTV. We will soon be able to deliver HDTV programming by cable to our early-adopter subscribers who are hungry to start viewing programs with the powerful reality enabled by this exciting technology. Later this year we'll start delivering HBO's HD programming in Tampa Bay's upgraded areas, and add other channels as they begin broadcasting high-definition programs. We look forward to working with Scientific-Atlanta to bring high-definition programming to our subscribers as this breakthrough technology evolves."

According to Dr. Bill Wall, technical director of subscriber networks for Scientific-Atlanta, "this is a significant milestone in the histories of the cable, broadcasting, programming, and consumer electronics industries. Our work with Time Warner is a first step toward a new generation of advanced digital television viewing. By the end of 1999, high-definition television sets and a new Explorer set-top model are expected to incorporate the IEEE 1394 FireWire standard, which makes newer HDTVs directly compatible with cable."

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