March Madness: Comcast Pushing Digital Cable (and HD, Sort of)

Full-page Comcast ads in some of the MSO's markets are encouraging the jump to both "basic cable and digital cable" as the next best thing for consumers--but you have to scan the ads closely to find any mention of HD, per se.

One full-page ad dedicates nearly half its space to promoting March Madness. "This year, one of the best tournaments is being played in your backyard," reads the headline. But nowhere in the ad is it noted that nearly 40 of those contests will be broadcast, cabled and dished out in HD.

The rest of the full-page ad notes "hundreds of channels" of movies, sports, and other offerings; "over 2,000 shows" that are accessible via VOD; even "45 channels" of commercial-free music; and finally... "more than 10" [ten] HD channels with Dolby Digital Surround Sound. In other words, not even a dozen HD outlets. The ad campaign makes it easy to conclude that HD programming, in the scheme of things, should be only a minor consideration for new DTV consumers, as Comcast and most other MSOs spend a lot of their considerable marketing capital pushing digital cable of the commercial-free SD, VOD and DVR-enhanced kind, into living rooms (including a late deal between Comcast and TiVo on our deadline).

Meanwhile, of course, many viewers with HD sets can always capture high-definition March Madness b-ball games the old fashioned way--over the air with an antenna!