In a well-planned and deliberate effort to add 30 new HDTV channels for its Northeast Ohio customers, Time Warner Cable's HDTV Express has to make an unscheduled stop.
The next group of seven new HD channels to be offered in the TWC NEO footprint did not meet an intended April 29th launch on Wednesday, and we don't have any indication when that group of channels will launch.
But OMW hears that the company is still working on the second wave of new HD channels, and will let us know when the new launch date will be.
We also hear that they expect the other groups of new HDTV channels to be added on schedule.
No, we don't know why there's a delay.
Some of our readers are suggesting problems with the "Switched Digital Video" system that allows the cable operator to make room for large numbers of new channels - a system that has been implemented in at least some limited areas of the TWC Northeast Ohio footprint.
Basically, "SDV" moves groups of channels out of the main bandwidth, and those channels are only transmitted directly to a home when a cable box (or other SDV-compatible device like a TiVo HD/S3's tuning adapter) requests the channel. This "quasi-on-demand" system means there is room for a lot more channels than without it.
But we don't know if that technology is responsible for the current "pause" in the HDTV channel additions.
As it turns out, some of the information we're relaying here is already showing up on TWC NEO's official "programming notices" page on its website, which has just been updated.
About the current "waiting" channels, it says:
The launch of the following HD channels in all areas is postponed with no new date available: Bravo, CNBC, The Learning Channel, Animal Plant, ABC Family, ESPNews and MLB.
But the notices are still listed with "on or after" dates for upcoming, planned channels:
On or after May 26, 2009, the following services will be added to standard HD in some areas: Golf Channel, CNN, FX, Fox News Network, Science Channel
On or after May 26, 2009, the following services will be added to HD in some areas for customers with the Digital Basic Tier: National Geographic.
On or after May 27, 2009 the following services will be added to HD Tier in some areas: Smithsonian & Mav TV.
On or after June 15, 2009, the following services will be added to standard HD in some areas: Lifetime Moves, Travel, AMC.
On or after June 15, 2009, the following services will be added to HD for customers with the Digital Basic Tier in some areas: Versus, Speed and ESPNU.
On or after June 15, 2009, the following services will be added to HD for customers with MLB Extra Innings Package in some areas: Game HD.
(For that matter, we have no idea what "Mav TV" is.)
The programming notices page also reveals that the recently launched WUAB subchannel "This TV" (WUAB-DT 43.2 over air) will come to Time Warner Cable's "digital access" tier "on or after" May 15th.
Also listed are minor channel moves for stations like WIVM-LP/52 Canton and its simulcaster, WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown, the addition of WVIZ'/25's "Create" subchannel to areas without it (and a similiar addition of WGTE/30 Toledo's version of "Create" in its part of the TWC NEO service area), and other changes we've already mentioned here...