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MSNBC debuts D.C. HD Studios as Dish Launches 1080i Newser

MSNBC, the NBC Universal property which leaped to HD (1080i) in late June, has now begun using a new HD set at its Washington NBC News Bureau studios for all its capital-based programming, which notably includes the weeknight "Hardball" in prime time with Chris Matthews.

The news cabler's other primetime weeknight fare (typically featuring Keith Obermann and Rachel Maddow) usually originate from the network's other new HD news set at NBCU headquarters in Manhattan.

The start-up of the new MSNBC studios in Washington this week coincides with the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court—which is receiving extensive live coverage on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News Channel.

Meanwhile, Dish Network has become the first DBS or cable service to begin carrying MSNBC HD (ch. 209) nationwide. Most other providers said they plan to add the new HD news outlet between now and fall, although Time Warner Cable and DirecTV could begin carriage before the end of July. Cox Cable says it will add MSNBC HD before summer's end, while Comcast has not revealed its plans yet.