Agreement covers Sunday, Wednesday movies

NEW YORK — CBS Corp. said Tuesday that Samsung Electronics America has agreed to cover costs associated with converting the network’s TV movies to high-definition format.

The agreement covers the CBS Sunday and Wednesday movies — about four hours a week of programming. It follows a similar deal CBS inked in July with Mitsubishi Digital Electronics for the high-definition conversion of most of its primetime series starting with the new TV season in September.

Mitsubishi has also agreed to pay for high-definition coverage of the U.S. Open semifinals and finals on CBS in a few weeks.

Elsewhere as well

Other networks are clinching similar deals. ABC is working with Panasonic to broadcast its Monday night football games in high definition starting this fall. That arrangement is likely to cost Panasonic about $100 million.

Electronics makers have an interest in such pacts despite the cost since they manufacture digital, or high-definition, TV sets, which few will buy without the appropriate programming being available.

There are believed to be some 50,000 digital TVs in the U.S. now. The FCC has given broadcasters a series of deadlines by when they must roll out shows in high definition, starting with the biggest markets.

CBS said 18 of its owned and affiliated stations covering about 38% of the U.S. are broadcasting in digital format. By Nov. 1, the network expects to be transmitting digital programming across 35 stations and 50% of the U.S.

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