Comcast Cites HD Options for Its Healthy Numbers

Comcast, the largest TV service provider in America, had a lot to smile about after its first-quarter numbers registered a jump of about 6 percent in earnings as the multimedia firm showed relatively healthy growth in telephony, broadband and digital subscribers.

Contributing to the earnings was a jump in HD users as the digital transition passed one almost-deadline in February and presumably nears it final one in June. HD and other viewers noted the current recession with their button fingers by going more for Comcast's mostly free on-demand program services and taking advantage of HD DVR boxes, rather than PPV.

The HD DVR units were especially busy during first-run show periods in the current TV season when some of the highest-rated series often air opposite each other (i.e., the season's top-rated "American Idol" on Fox versus highly rated "NCIS" on CBS on Tuesday nights). Comcast typically leases the HD DVRs for approximately $10 a month. Series episodes in HD (albeit largely limited to CBS shows for now) often are available on-demand at no extra cost within about 24 hours of their first-run network airing on Comcast's Channel One.

Despite the more prudent use of services by many subs, Comcast said they are not experiencing any widespread cancellations of HBO or other premium channels.