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Another Satellite TV Service...From a Cable Company?

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Another satellite TV service... from a cable company? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Never mind the war between cable and satellite TV providers. The largest cable TV company in the New York metropolitan area... has begun sales nationwide of its own satellite service. Voom... is focused on what the company calls the growing, underserved high definition market... .with a package of 21 commercial free HD channels. Are enough consumers interested in high definition for the business succeed? Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan...

"Oh I'm sure of that. We have at this early stage, somewhere between six and eight million high definition sets already in circulation in the country. It is predicted that number will double by the end of next year."

And will reach 40 million by the end of 2006. But The Voom service requires a 750 dollar investment in hardware. That's higher than what rivals DirecTV and Dish Networks charge. They have far fewer HD channels available so far... and Dolan argues content is the key. There's plenty of skepticism on Wall Street about the venture that has cost half a billion dollars so far. About that, Dolan says...

"That's understandable and there's nothing new about it. Thirty some years ago we started a cable system in Manhattan... and everybody was skeptical then."

Dolan isn't saying how many subscribers the venture needs to make money. The service is being sold around the country, so far, in Sears stores. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.