Time Warner Cable answers a reader's complaint about his HDTV service

In the February Feedback column, a reader complained about his lack of success getting the local cable company to provide him with HDTV service. The letter was titled, “Is cable preventing HDTV?” Here is a response from Time Warner Cable.

Dear Editor:

Time Warner Cable has led the industry in carriage of HDTV signals in our markets as those signals became available. Additionally, we have been diligent in carrying satellite-delivered HDTV products. Although we do not believe in digital must-carry, we believe that it is in our best interests and our customers' best interests to carry any available compelling digital content. We currently are carrying available over-the-air HDTV signals in over 30 U.S. markets where we operate cable television systems.

We are aggressively pushing for digital carriage agreements with broadcasters to carry their digital programming, once it becomes available, in all of our systems that have been upgraded to the necessary bandwidth capability. At present time, we lead the cable industry with our upgrades at 98 percent completion. Our ability to complete HDTV agreements with broadcasters demonstrates that the marketplace is working and, therefore, no digital must-carry is needed or warranted.

For over three years we have been providing HDTV set-top boxes, for no incremental charge, to our customers with suitable displays. With the drop in pricing of HD displays, the demand for HD set-top boxes has greatly increased. Due to this increased demand, we are experiencing a delivery problem on HDTV set-top boxes, and we are working with our suppliers to correct the backlog. We have a tremendous incentive to eliminate the backlog as we do not want to “leave money on the table” by failing to deliver services our customers are anxious to buy from us, or to lose customers to our satellite competitors.

We stand by our policy of rapid HDTV content deployment, but apologize to the writer and other customers who have experienced frustration with the delay of delivery of HDTV set-top boxes.
Steven C. Johnson
Director, Engineering and Technology
Time Warner Cable
Englewood, CO

I want my DTV station

Dear Editor:

Your February editorial on DTV stated: “What surprised me most was the number of ‘integrated sets’ sold. Of the 1.46 million units sold, almost 100,000 were integrated sets. This represents a whopping 1455 percent increase in the integrated set sales over last year. An additional 196,564 stand-alone STBs were sold in 2001, representing a 434 percent increase over 2000.”

Are you kidding? The fact that seven percent of the sets sold included an integrated tuner is not a vote of confidence for OTA-DTV.
Barry Brown

Recent Freezeframe winners

September Freezeframe:

Name the two companies that in 1982 promoted a hybrid VTR using “attachable VCRs” mounted on standard on-recording ENG cameras.

The only correct answer received was from James Crawford, Frezzolini Electronics. He knew that the companies were Frezzolini with the FREZZI ON-Cam VTR system and PEP.

October Freezeframe:

Name this VTR. The correct answer was “RCA Hawkeye.” Many readers answered the question as “M-format VTR.” While it is true that the Hawkeye used the Panasonic M format recording technology, readers had to supply the manufacturer and model.

Terry Cribbey, Leitch Canada
Brian Rosenau, USAF
George Lynn Franklin, Yahoo! Broadcast