Predictably, the first movers in hi-def were the networks with the content most pleasing to the HD eye.
ABC, CBS and NBC started introducing HD programming as early as 1998. Fox plans to begin this fall offering the format for at least 60 percent of its prime-time content and about six football games each week.
HD movies debuted on premium nets HBO and Showtime in 1999 and 2000, respectively, while Starz! fired up its HD service last year. Discovery HD Theater launched in 2002, followed by ESPN HD and Bravo HD+ in 2003, and TNT in HD in May of this year.
Here are snapshots of what’s likely to come next:
NBC Universal Cable Networks is developing HD strategy for the newly combined company and expects an HD launch of some sort early next year.
E! is building the facilities needed to produce and edit content in HD within two years.
Turner officials said to expect additional HD offerings, particularly involving Turner Classic Movies.
The four Scripps Networks lifestyle channels will produce two specials each in HD this year.
Comcast is considering launching full-time HD versions of Outdoor Life Network and Golf Channel.
A&E is evaluating the possibility of launching a 24-hour HD channel that would draw from its special productions and other big series. In addition, the company is increasing the amount of content shot in HD on A&E and History Channel.