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Charter Offering Two HDTV Networks

June 03, 2002|Jon Healey

Playing catch-up to satellite TV and rival Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications Inc. has begun carrying two high-definition television networks on its cable TV systems in five markets, including parts of Southern California.

The beneficiaries are the relatively small percentage of viewers with HDTV sets, which typically cost $1,500 or more. Those households, though, are hotly contested by cable and satellite operators because they tend to spend heavily on TV programming.

The only HDTV channels in Charter's initial lineup are the high-definition versions of HBO and Showtime.

The company is in negotiations with affiliates of the major broadcast networks, spokesman Andy Morgan said, and it hopes to add local stations that provide a "significant or substantial" amount of HDTV.

The five systems where Charter has launched HDTV serve the Glendale-Burbank, Pasadena-Alhambra, suburban Dallas, Miami Beach and Birmingham, Ala., areas.

Satellite operators DirecTV and DishNetwork offer several national HDTV channels. The most extensive offering may come from AOL Time Warner Inc. subsidiary Time Warner Cable, which carries both national and local HDTV programming on many of its systems, including most of the areas it serves in Southern California.

Jon Healey

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