Time Warner’s May HDTV Channel Wave

The latest group of new HDTV channels has arrived in most local Time Warner Cable service areas in Northeast Ohio.

OMW readers report that the HD versions of the Golf Channel. CNN, FX, Fox News Channel, and Science Channel have shown up as of earlier today. Digital Basic subscribers should also have the HD version of the National Geographic Channel.

By tomorrow, HD Tier subscribers should see the history-oriented Smithsonian Channel, and Mav TV.

To the best of our understanding, the channels are available to Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio subscribers in all areas that have already seen Switched Digital Video turned on. If that’s not you, you probably also don’t have the channels that had been promised for late April…which are also now available in the SDV areas.

We wish we could pinpoint all the areas with and without SDV.

Generally, the Akron/Canton/Youngstown area “legacy” TWC systems seem to have the new technology, and much of the Cleveland-based former Adelphia systems also seem to have converted, including the one which serves OMW World Headquarters next to the Bat Cave. (We are getting all the new channels, including the ones released earlier today.)

We’d say the former Adelphia/Western Reserve Cable system out of Macedonia doesn’t appear to have SDV “turned on” yet, but we can’t be 100% sure. Other readers in areas like Conneaut and Bainbridge also appear to be without SDV and the two most recent HD channel groups.

But OMW hears that some of that work…to open up the SDV system and let the HD channels flow…could be done by the end of this coming week.

The addition of Smithsonian Channel and Mav TV to the HD Tier comes just days before two stalwarts in that extra cost tier go away.

Multichannel News and many other sources report that HDNet and HDNet Movies, the all-HD services operated by NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, will exit Time Warner Cable lineups nationwide on May 31st.

Quoting national TWC spokeswoman Robyn Watson in the article:

“There’s a limited appeal for the programming. In a world with more than 100 HD channels, being in HD is not enough. We are adding other channels in HD to give our customers more choice.”

Cuban disputes that contention, and says his viewers shop providers just to get the two channels. (“Drop me, and they’ll go to satellite”?)

But it’s pretty clear that while Cuban’s two channels do offer some unique programming, they were much more vital to cable providers when there were only four or five other HD channels available…and most of them not 24/7 HD operations…

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