a story about a cable content provider HD-net,a company thathas been around since High Definition Cable TV began, and a cable distribution subscriber service provider COMCAST, the largest networking of cable access in the nation. The situation unfolding now affects millions of Americans.
www.hd.net – www.comcastic.com
A multi-part story follows:
Firstly, get a taste of HDnet's Producers and Dan Rather, in Action. 55 minute video. You should set aside time to see this entire segment, its that good, and it matters in many ways that you fully understand why it matters that HDnet is doing as it does.
THE CONSTITUTION IN QUESTION
There is more – here: http://www.hd.net/danrather.html
Note that critical assessments of consitutional interpretation in executive and particularly BUSH administration is the focus. Its a well crafted and balanced piece of Independant reporting, knowlegeable people with experience are at handthanks to Dan, and Mark Cuban and the dedicated group at HDnet that produces this.
HAS HDNET BEEN REMOVED FROM COMCAST FOR POLITICAL REASONS?
We are attempting to determine an answer. This Article has been revised since initial publication, due in part to the rapid and concerned responses of several editors who were unaware of this situation, and likely during the next days it will expand in content and scope.
Step back to a year ago. Dan Rather launched his new news show on HDnet and it was critical of IRAQ and a variety of other issues that were surely distateful to the republican administration, didnt have the party-spin, but did have plenty of plain and evident facts, and amazingly detailed High Definition Video.
Just after that time HDnet started getting a bit punished by cable provider Comcast who bought up a few million subscribers from smaller or failing cable operators, removed HDnet forover 12million Adelphia cable subscribers. Comcast is the largest cable provider in the nation, and therefore a monopoly in some ways when it comes to wired network access. They add 5 million more news connections per quarter. Huge.
This matters. Comcast controls Cable TV content channels and "last mile" internet access for millions of americans. Theycould have kept HDnet in a premium package offering along with HDnet Movies, the infrastructue was there and already working when theybought into the neighborhoods of america bygobbling up smaller cable outfits. a huge question looms … Why remove HDnet?
Lets first try to figure out Comcast's marketing and seek out where they think digital cable is going to see why they might seek to change the usual cable lineup…when we did that things started looking weird…
This site is advertized on all Comcast channels. Go to www.comcastic.com and see for yourself. Something strange and almost off-the-wall spooky is here in the wierd background music and dissonance of this presentation, its somewhat disturbing. We leave it to the reader to connect the various possible implications of the Puppet Paradigm here.
Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, said, "2006 was simply our best year ever. Powered by our triple play offering and superior products, we added more RGUs* than at any other time in our history and reported terrific growth in cable revenue and Operating Cash Flow… Looking ahead, we are perfectly positioned to continue to offer consumers the best entertainment and communications value proposition available anywhere, and to continue to deliver significant value to our shareholders."
*Glossary: RGU= (Revenue Generating Unit).
So Comcast expanded marketshare in 2006, and they are willing to be weird.Many people didnot selector want Comcast, they got stuck withthem as a result of Comcast acquisition of Adelphia and smaller cable operations and over 12 million subscribers fell into thissituation.Adelphia buy-out deal was about 25% of Comcast's total subscriber-base, carried all HDnet programming. HDNet was (and is) one of thebest video 1080 HDsources for content and quality.
The Comcast claim of"best" and"growth" is a bit hollow when you recognize that they "buyand acquire" as a way into a market-space, and the end consumer is pretty much slammed with a new cable provider.For millions it was Comcast or nothing. Considering that Adelphia was going belly-up at the time (2005) it seemed like a good thing.
But there is more.. should a valuable independant voice be pushed off the information spectrum by a networked monopoly? By what reasoning? Did HDnet pick a fight and deserve this? Cable operations can and do editorialize contentin the form of exclusion.There must be a larger reason …
Why is HDnet excluded from the High Definition lineup of a major cable operation? HD net practically defined HD TV from its inception. Thier tag line is: "The Reason HDTV Was Invented" which is not too far off from the truth since HDnet for years was the the best of a very few channels with 1080 content out there.
HDnet was everywhere on HD cable channel lineups for years. What Changed?
Note, you do not need an HD screen to see HDnet, only an HD capable subscriber set-top cable box and HD in your subscription service. The HD cable box and your TV will scale HD channels to fiton your screen. The picture from an HD source is always far better than any other. Millions of Flat Panel wide-screen TVs are sold and HDnet is built for that. ALL wide screens from 1024 "HD-ready" to full 1080p are able to see it with no sidebar pillarbox. So if anything has changed, it is that there are MILLIONS MORE HD TV's now than ever before, and MILLIONS more properly subscribed HD enabled Set Top Boxes (STBs) out there. The change isthat HDnet should be in more enabled households and in greater demand. There is no lessening of the market going on in the HD world. Removal of HDnet runs fully against the prevailing market forces. It makes no sense to pull HDnetfrom any financial or provisioning standpoint. This obvious factis a clue that other larger than market forces could be in play here.
HDnet is Independant.
HDnet is uncontrollable by greater powers. This is important to absorb, since it impacts your access to information flow. All other large news networks are held by larger holding companies that are influenced by larger corporate goals, if they do not like whats there, it is gone. Even the once fiercely rigrous BBC is now caving in to such forces.The result is a watered down or re-written broadcast spin on reality.At the HQ of HDnet the buck stops at Mark Cuban's desk. This guy is fearless. Nobody owns him.
Headed by the logical and pragmatic, sometimes overheated entrepreneur Mark Cuban, self-made billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Outspoken, very Yankee and solid in his assessments and convictions, he thinks most things through carefully and expresses them openly. In Short, he is one of us, with a lot more clout, and seemingly endless energy. And, along with a brilliant production team, a new show, and Dan Rather, HDnet started speaking out in an unavoidably big way last year, around the same time that HDnet started getting dropped on Comcast. This was a step more forward than film making or random specials. These are Full Production news shows with a respected anchor.
It would seem that Dan Rather and Mark Cuban are the good guys in all this, are they causing HDnet to be punished for speaking out? This is not an accusation, but it is a question that now must be answered. see- http://www.hd.net/nocarry_comcast.html
The furor around the web over the dropping of HDnetgrew dramaticallyat the point of the Dan Rather launch time and was easy to find in researching this article, and now stories like :
The Trouble with Touch Screens – An investigation into the voting machine industry that reveals problems with the latest touch screen technology.
Important stuff.. NOT availableon Comcast cable, (Hdnet is kind enough to provide it in google video.)
We would like to propose to you, our readers, that Comcast and the FCC be informed of our loss in not having HDnet access, and in a larger sense, exposure to well prepared reporting. Even more so, exclusions should be carefully studied and corrected when so many people are upset with the on-goingembargo ofHDnet.
Add yourself to the petition here:
When you see a High Definition video of what is really going on in IRAQ for example, a far more complete picture in far greater detail is available.Mark Cuban has applied his resources to several well crafted documentary pieces on issues that needed attention, and cable networks until recently carried it all.We have reviewed (today Sept 9, 2007)several of the pieces we could access and in our opinion, restraint on the part of HDnet is in evidence, they have been very careful and sensitive to wording and expression of the facts, as opposed to talk show hosts and bloggers that have been inflamatory. Even more imprtantly, the quality of information available to the world is hampered when such worthy reporting is constrained. Its just un-american to have this situation persist, and it sort of feels like Big Brother just came to the house and grabbed the remote.
Call your Local Comcast office and let them know you are NOT A PUPPET or an RGU, but a customer with a problem in having no possible access to HDnet. The HDnet people are us.
1 We are told thet DIRECT TV and Verizon FIOS carry HDnet. Further research indicates that almost all other carriers offer HDnet in some form.
2 Opposing viewpoints are welcomed. Sign-up and voice yourself.
3.For DanRather.. and informal survey amongst noted editors and HDTV owners (NYC/New England)is overwhemingly in support of your current reporting quality and practices.This haseverything to do with reality style reporting of HDNet and the upcoming elections.Many people are indignant that your reports are not universallyavailable to digital cable subscribers. ( IMHO; access to Dan Rather might well be a basic american right in principle, trusted icons are hard to find.)