Cable Boosts HDTV

In anticipation of demand for new digital services, Time Warner Cable says it has committed to purchase 625,000 Explorer digital set-tops from Scientific-Atlanta. Under the agreements, announced last week by SA, TWC says it will purchase a mix of Explorer set-tops and other head-end equipment to meet projected consumer demand for digital cable and interactive TV services such as video on demand (VOD), subscription video on demand (SVOD), personal video recording (PVR), and high definition television (HDTV).

According to TWC, it will purchase 100,000 of SA's new Explorer 8000 home media servers, which feature a hard drive for PVR applications, such as time shifting and program recording, and dual video tuners which will allow subscribers to either watch TV and record another program or to record two programs simultaneously.

To meet the demand for high definition television and the devices that support it, TWC says it will also purchase 50,000 of Scientific-Atlanta's recently announced Explorer 3100HD set-tops. SA says the Explorer 3100HD will decode all 18 ATSC high definition digital formats for HDTV presentation, as well as standard definition digital and analog video services.

TWC says that the rest of the set-top order will be for 475,000 Explorer 2100 digital set-tops, which allow subscribers to access a variety of interactive TV applications, including VOD, SVOD, email, web browsing, chat, and e-commerce.

TWC's Mike Hayashi comments that the cable giant plans to aggressively deploy VOD and SVOD services in all of its major metro areas by the end of next year. "We expect significant demand for these new services as well as for new services such as personal video recording and high definition TV. With our expanded platform of services and set-top offerings, we expect to continue to differentiate ourselves relative to our satellite competitors and to reduce our subscriber churn going forward."