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Cablevision Launches National Satellite Service

The high-definition package puts the firm in direct competition with EchoStar and Hughes.

October 16, 2003|From Reuters

Cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp. on Wednesday launched a nationwide high-definition satellite television service with a package of 21 commercial-free channels including a horror movie channel, a fashion channel and a music channel.

The new service, called Voom, puts the New York-based cable operator in direct competition with established satellite television companies, EchoStar Communications Corp. and Hughes Electronics Corp., which operates DirecTV.

"We believe that high-definition television is shortly to become the way most Americans expect to watch TV," Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan said.

In addition to 21 proprietary channels created by Cablevision satellite division Rainbow DBS, such as Animania, News Bytes and World Sport, Voom will carry exclusive programming from better-known cable channels such as the Disney Channel, A&E, FX, Playboy and Hustler.

The launch is the next step in Cablevision's high-stakes attempt to trump both its cable and satellite television competitors in the race to offer high- definition television to consumers.

The service transforms Cablevision from a regional cable operator into a company with a national satellite broadcast infrastructure -- but as yet no customers.

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