EchoStar Communications said it will offer the New York and Los Angeles CBS-HDTV channels to eligible DISH Network customers across the country.
Michael Schwimmer, EchoStar programming VP and Martin D. Franks, CBS Television executive VP, announced the DBS service would launch the East and West Coast CBS HD feeds by the start of the 2001-2002 television season. EchoStar plans to demonstrate the CBS HDTV feeds at the 2001 Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association convention in Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 2-4.
CBS has agreed to let DISH Network deliver the East and West Coast HDTV feeds into the markets that are served by CBS Owned and Operated stations, representing almost 35 percent of the country. These O&O markets include: New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Boston; Detroit; Dallas; Miami; Minneapolis; Denver; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Salt Lake City; Austin, and Green Bay.
DISH Network customers subscribing to a local channel package from one of these cities will receive the CBS HD signal at no additional charge.
One of the two CBS HD feeds will also be offered to DISH subscribers living in so-called "white areas," which are defined by law as territories that are not served by an over-the-air local CBS Television Network analog signal. Such subscribers who currently receive network TV services from EchoStar will also receive the HD channel for free.
Additionally, DISH subscribers who live in a market served by a CBS affiliate that is not owned by CBS but elects to allow the satellite-delivered HDTV feed into their market will also be eligible. In such markets, those who receive local TV services can have the HD channel at no additional charge.
Additionally, all eligible subscribers living in markets without local TV service on DISH may receive a CBS HD channel for a "nominal" charge.
"We're pleased that CBS is taking a leading role among network broadcasters in helping DISH Network distribute the most HDTV programming choices to its customers," said Schwimmer. "With this partnership, we are speeding the nation's adoption of digital and high definition television. We look forward to working with CBS and its affiliates to bring CBS HDTV to the growing number of consumers wanting the best that television can offer."
CBS has broadcast the bulk of its film-based primetime programming in HDTV for the past two years. Currently, CBS offers 17 out of 18 primetime dramas and comedies in high definition 1080i.
Additionally, the network offers a number of sporting events in HDTV including the U.S. Open Tennis Championships select NFL games including the Super Bowl, the Hawaiian Golf Open, the NCAA Final Four and The Masters Golf Tournament. In total, CBS averages 24 hours per week of HDTV programming.