Satcasters set for high-def

SBCA committed to Powell's blueprint

WASHINGTON — The satcasting biz said Tuesday it is well positioned to meet FCC chair Michael Powell’s plan to kick-start the digital TV switch.

Beginning in January, Powell wants satcasters and cablers to begin carrying — at no charge — five TV channels that offer at least half their primetime lineup in high-def.

The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Assn. penned a letter to Powell earlier this week endorsing his blueprint.

“We congratulate you on your vision and leadership during this challenging transition, and are firmly committed to your goal of bringing advanced television services to consumers, in our case via satellite,” the SBCA said.

Cablers and broadcasters have already endorsed Powell’s voluntary plan.

The SBCA said it agreed with Powell’s thesis that consumers won’t be willing to buy digital TV unless there is high-quality programming.

Already, satcasters are offering high-def programming carried on such channels as Showtime, HBO, CBS and Discovery.

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