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HD promotions pervasive this summer

Helping to stimulate the market for digital TV sets, a number of HD promotional campaigns have been announced that will extend throughout the summer. These include campaigns from Comcast, Cox Cable, Sony and Panasonic.

Comcast has launched an HDTV on-demand service, the first such offering in the nation.

Comcast subscribers, who have an HDTV and an HD capable cable tuner, initially can order two HD films on demand — Antarctica HD and India: Kingdom of the Tiger. However, Comcast and other cable operators are expected to expand their HD on-demand lineups in the coming months.

Panasonic's promotional program will encourage consumers to upgrade to HDTV in time for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games and HD premiering this fall.

Until August 31, consumers who purchase selected Panasonic HDTV models and then either activate digital cable with high definition from participating local cable providers or upgrade existing cable service to high-definition service will receive two $50 cable cash checks that can be used to pay for their HD cable service.

In San Diego, those who buy Sony HD sets receive 12 months of free HD programming from Cox, San Diego’s main cable provider. To give fans a taste of HDTV, the San Diego Padres, whose baseball games are available in HD, has bought 250 Sony HD sets, some of them models that cost more than $10,000, to install in their stadium.

Cox also bought dozens of Sony sets to give away in raffles during Padres games and to place in restaurants near the stadium. Sony, in turn, has placed ads on Cox’s Channel 4, which broadcasts 104 Padres games in high definition. Subscriptions for Cox’s HD service have tripled since the season began in April.

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