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New Comcast ‘Extended Viewing Window’ includes HD VOD

Whether or not you buy Comcast’s marketing approach that it offers more HD than the other guys because it offers more VOD “choices” for HD content (versus fulltime HD channels, per se), the nation’s largest TV service provider said on June 2 it plans to stretch customer HD usage within its On-Demand venue.

Comcast said it is expanding the number of movie titles that it will offer via VOD the same day as the titles’ Blu-ray and DVD release dates — and in some cases double the allotted time permitted to view VOD rentals. (Comcast’s typical new-title HD VOD fee is $5.)

The Philadelphia-based cabler said that “several studios” have agreed to extend the availability of their movie titles from 24 to 48 hours at no additional charge.

Although its percentage of HD content is increasing, Comcast already has been releasing many film titles (more than 50 percent) on a same day-and-date-as-DVD basis this year — largely via deals inked with Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal, Summit and MGM studios. (Although it does not provide specific access numbers, Comcast’s biggest day-and-date HD VOD opening on record was for the movie “Twilight,” whose sequel is about to hit theaters.)

Comcast said it will offer “more value through extended viewing windows” when some titles from Warner Bros. and Lionsgate expand to 2 days. Walt Disney Studios and Summit are expected to also allow 48-hour usage windows starting in July.