MSNBC HD Trickling Out in Smaller Markets

While cable news channel MSNBC technically began providing its content in 108oi to cablers and DBS firms last summer to match (at least technically) key competitors Fox News Channel HD and CNN HD, carriage commitments for the new HD news/talk venue to find scarce channel slots continue to lag.

Most large and major markets have not yet obtained NBC Universal’s HD news/talk channel from their respective cablers, although Comcast said this week it actively continues to add other HD fare (including MSNBC HD) to some of the outlying areas of the Washington, D.C. market (DMA 9).

Comcast, the nation’s largest pay-TV provider, has launched MSNBC HD (among a total of 45 new HD-channel launches since August) in Charles County and St. Mary’s County in Maryland, known as the Eastern Shore.

A Comcast spokeswoman told HD Notebook this week that her firm also plans to launch MSNBC HD (among other HD networks) in Baltimore County (DMA 26) and Montgomery County in Maryland (part of DMA 9), and Loudoun County in Virginia (part of DMA 9), sometime "before the end of the year."

Other big and medium markets will have to wait until the first or second quarters of 2010 for MSNBC HD to come on-board from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and most other cablers.

(Asked which major/large markets thus far have been given MSNBC in HD since its initial HD availability a few months ago, Comcast had not yet responded by our deadline. Similar calls have also been posted with other major cablers.)