My neighbor came banging on the door the other day, breathless, and with bad news: “The cable guy let your dog out. He thought your gate was ours.” I quickly poked my head around the corner to eyeball the culprit, and clearly it wasn’t the cable guy. He was climbing a ladder toward the dish on my neighbor’s roof. With no time to defend the cable industry’s honor, I spent several frenzied moments of pursuit in 98° heat. I managed to capture the speedy little beast, and got the thumbs-up from my neighbor who was observing the chase from her porch. “What’s the satellite guy up to?” I asked. “We just got an HDTV!” she boasted. “He’s putting in an antenna.” My interest piqued, we chatted for a while. The installer was adding the antenna so my neighbor could get the local Denver channels in high-def. She also said that she was on a waiting list for an HD TiVo receiver so she could watch HD programming any time she wanted. I love my neighborhood, but it’s not exactly what I’d call “highly affluent.” So, after depositing my miniature border collie/mutt safely in the house, I fired up the Internet for a little research about HD penetration in the greater Mile Hile City area. The HD TiVo receiver/DVR is now shipping from various DBS retailers. But there’s reportedly a long waiting list for the $999 box in town. Denver’s cable op, Comcast, plans to launch an HD-DVR sometime this year. DVR and HDTV are a match made in heaven, but licensing issues, scaling problems and the fact that current servers don’t support many whole-home SD/HD apps is enough to make my head spin. And I’m not even an engineer. DBS waiting list or not, the competition is offering the service. Every day a cable op waits for network DVR is a day DBS can expand its lead. Laura Hamilton
Editorial Director, Broadband
lhamilton@accessintel.com

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