This is a big moment in time for cable TV providers, like Charlotte's Time Warner, and satellite providers, DirecTV and DISH.
The battle is for the HDTV customer, the high end guy, and all the services are lining up their pitches to him.
DISH has recently launched a suite of new HDTV channels, bringing their total to an industry best 38 -- for $20 per month. DirecTV has nine or 10 national channels, depending on package, for $10 per month. DirecTV also offers ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox locals here in Charlotte.
DirecTV will launch more than 70 HDTV channels next month, instantly making themselves the national leader.
Time Warner in Charlotte offers 10 national channels, all the local channels and some HDTV on demand programming. Costs vary per package but a direct HDTV add on with one box is $13.45 per month. Cable is working on a solution called Switched Digital Video that will allow it to expand HD offerings in the future.
I think the ultimate winner will be customers who should get better choice, more channels and hopefully better quality. The satellite networks have been peppered by criticisms over their "HD-Lite" picture quality by viewers and industry insiders. The thinking is the sat companies have to stretch their limited bandwidth and "downrez" their signals. DirecTV won't have those problems in a few weeks.
But here's my question, which service do you guys think is best now, and which do you think will be best in 12 months?