By SHAWN PIATEK
Atlantic Broadband has announced that it has expanded the number of high-definition viewing options for its customers in the Johnstown region.
Customers will now be able to access High Definition Video on Demand to rent the latest movies released on video.
The HD movie rentals are $5.99 each. To access the films, customers need an HD receiver available through the cable company for $9.99 a month.
Satellite TV companies the Dish Network and DirecTV offer similar services. Comcast cable said it does not yet offer HD movies on demand.
Atlantic Broadband also recently added two new HD channels – NFL Network and Fox Sports Pittsburgh. Those channels are included as part of the regular HD package.
Fox Sports Pittsburgh is scheduled to broadcast 35 Pittsburgh Penguins games in HD this season.
“We additionally have some proposed HD launches for the first quarter of next year,” said Dave Dane, vice president of Atlantic Broadband’s Pennsylvania operations.
“We’re evaluating what’s out there and what is interesting to our customers. But the Penguins and the NFL we viewed as pressing needs since the seasons are under way.”
Among the NFL Network’s games to be broadcast in HD is the Pittsburgh Steelers game Dec. 20 vs. the St. Louis Rams. Broadcasting decisions made by the NFL have created local controversy.
The Dec. 20 game will be available on CBS affiliate KDKA of Pittsburgh in addition to the NFL Network.
But Dane said last month that the NFL Network told KDKA its signal may not be retransmitted in secondary markets where it is now carried, including the Johnstown/Altoona/State College market.
That means that Atlantic Broadband and Comcast cable customers in Johnstown, Somerset, Altoona and Clearfield who do not subscribe to the digital level of service will not be able to view the game.
“We are again asking them to reconsider their decision to broadcast the game for free in the Pittsburgh market alone,” Dane said.
“We are making a contingency plan in case it doesn’t go our way, but we are continuing to pursue this matter with the NFL in hopes ... (of) some sort of settlement.”