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The High Definition Sweepstakes

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, March 25, 2004

The high definition sweepstakes. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Cable companies around the country have launched a campaign to win the battle for viewers who are upgrading to high definition. At the nation's largest cable operator, Comcast, senior marketing VP Andy Addis has helped launch what the industry calls an education campaign in conjunction with Samsung…one of the leading makers of HD TVs…

"Basically, from a cable perspective, we want to convey that cable is the easiest way to get the content that people really care about. We offer a breadth of channels available in HD. Key to that though is we offer local broadcast HD, without an antenna, which is difficult for our competitors to offer. You can get HDTV over the air with an antenna, but the reception is spotty at best."

That's the advantage cable companies are hoping to exploit over satellite providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network. Samsung vice president for strategic marketing Peter Weedfald says what happened in the sixties when people would see their first glimpse of color TV at a neighbor's home …and then buy….is happening all over again…

"You can purchase a high definition television from 650 dollars all the way up to eight or nine or ten or fifteen thousand dollars. So what I think that is doing is opening up the market for more consumers to participate."

Weedfald says before the end of this year….ten to eighteen percent of households in the U.S. will have high definition screens. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.