Canada: Rogers HD Subs Hit 200,000

Rogers Cable has hit the 200,000 benchmark for HD subscribers in Canada, which it says is double the number of HD households of a year ago.

By New Year's, it plans to add more channels on its HD tier--including National Geographic HD, Showcase HD, WGN HD and HD on demand. Rogers said it now offers the most free HD content of any media venue in Canada (if a monthly cable fee doesn't count), and will expand HD services steadily throughout 2007. According to the cable firm, about one-third of its HD subs rent HD boxes with DVR capabilities.

The Canadian government held two weeks of hearings recently on the state of broadcast services in the country, and what the immediate future may hold. The CBC, the national public broadcaster, testified at the annual event that "no business model" yet exists for HD, and complained that broadcasters are being forced to pay for an expensive transition without hope of recouping their losses.

Also, some Canadian academicians charge in a new book that HD will tip the already-heavy balance of future programming choices by Canadian viewers to American shows, and thus HD poses a threat to the "cultural sovereignty" of Canada (HD Notebook, Nov. 29, 2006).