The cable industry is boasting again about its deep commitment to the digital TV transition. In a filing with the FCC earlier this week, the NCTA said cable operators now offer a package of HDTV services in 184 out of the 210 TV markets throughout the U.S., up 28% from 143 markets in December 2003. Of the 108 million U.S. TV households today, 92 million are passed by a cable system offering HDTV programming, up 31% from 13 months earlier.
The NCTA also said cable systems now carry the digital signals of 504 local broadcast stations, up about 66% from 304 stations in December 2003. The total is also up 50 from 454 stations in September.
Plus, some 18 cable networks now serve up at least some HD programming during the day. The NCTA made the filing as part of its campaign against a proposed digital multicast must-carry rule, which would force cable operators to carry all of the multiple digital signals of local broadcasters.