Comcast Launches HDTV on Demand in the DC. Metro Area

HDTV is not only here to stay, it is becoming a phenomenon. As a result of testing HD-VOD services in selected markets, Comcast has made the service available throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The current HD-VOD schedule in Washington consists of about 15 titles, including some feature films. The majority of the offerings are documentaries which were first seen in IMAX theaters. Future plans include the addition of more hit feature titles.

The use of IMAX documentaries raises the question of how the IMAX aspect ratio is displayed on the 16:9 (1.78) HDTV raster. IMAX, which is 65 mm film run sideways, has a native aspect ratio of 1.35, very close to SD TV's 1.37 (4:3).