Video on Demand to Launch in West Texas

As the first step of a broader expansion that will extend into 2009, Suddenlink announced its plans to launch video-on-demand (VOD) service, starting next week, in its Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland, San Angelo, Snyder and Sweetwater, Texas, cable systems. Existing Suddenlink customers will be mailed more information about the new service this week and next.

Later this year, the new service should be expanded further to Andrews, Big Spring and Plainview, Texas, as well as Clovis, N.M.

Access to the VOD service will be enabled by a new interactive program guide, Macrovision’s i-Guide®, which Suddenlink is pre-loading on set-top boxes slated for delivery to new digital customers. The same guide will be deployed electronically to digital boxes that are already in customer homes.

Once enabled, Suddenlink’s VOD service will offer thousands of viewing choices, including movies, sports, news, music and shows from popular cable networks such as Nickelodeon, NOGGIN, MTV, Comedy Central and Discovery.

An expanded inventory of high-definition (HD) programming will be included in the mix. More than a third of the Suddenlink VOD library will be free. The rest will be available for either a per-view charge or monthly subscription.

VOD allows viewers to order the titles of their choice via remote-control, at any time, and have access to those titles for an extended period; typically, 24 hours. Viewers can also pause, rewind, and fast-forward their choices, much as they do with a VCR (video cassette recorder) or DVR (digital video recorder). In contrast, pay-per-view or PPV service offers a far more limited slate of programming than VOD and makes that programming available only at certain, pre-scheduled times.

“VOD service clearly puts more control in the customer’s hands,” said Dave Gilles, Suddenlink’s West Region vice president. “It lets them view all kinds of entertainment programming, when and how they want to see it.”

Suddenlink’s VOD library will be regularly updated, with about one-third of the inventory changing over each month to make fresh choices available to customers. VOD programs will be stored at a centralized server and delivered across the company’s new, West-Texas fiber ring, completed earlier this year.

Comments

  1. Ryan says

    I assume this is in response to U-Verse launching in Lubbock recently? I’m in Nacogdoches so I’m not expecting VOD for a while, but do you know when we will get an HD expansion? Lufkin, Jacksonville, and Tyler have several more HD channels than we do and we are still waiting for NBC HD.
    You guys have been really good so far. I just wish HD expansion could occur faster. I realize that having to carry analog is hurting your capacity right now and you can’t just launch a new satellite to increase your bandwidth as DirecTV can. Again, you guys have been really good and I haven’t had any major problems. Keep up the good work.

  2. RK says

    Will we be getting higher capacity HD DVRs in the future? I currently have the Motorola 6416 III and HD content fills it up pretty fast. Thanks!

  3. SFYI Editor says

    Ryan — We sincerely hope to be in position to launch VOD and an expanded HD line up in 2009. If we could launch these services/additions in all areas simultaneously, we would — but for many reasons, a staggered approach is necessary. Thank you for being a customer and for your patience as we work to expand services.

  4. SFYI Editor says

    RK — I can’t give you a specific date for higher-capicity HD DVR boxes at this time, but please know we are constantly looking to adopt and deploy advanced technologies wherever possible. I’m also checking to see if it’s possible for customers to purchase a higher-capacity HD DVR at a retail outlet (like Best Buy or Circuit City) and have it work with our systems. Stay tuned.

  5. SFYI Editor says

    RK — following up on my last comment, one of our digital video engineers tells me that generally, yes, a customer should be able to purchase an HD DVR at a retail outlet and if it’s fitted with a “cable card” slot, it should work on our cable systems. So … if you find at retail an HD DVR that suits your needs and are inclined to purchase it, please check back with me first, and I’ll have someone work with you either by phone or email to make sure everything’s compatible before you lay out the money.

  6. RK says

    Thanks for the response. The one thing that makes me hesitate using a cablecard DVR is the lack of two way communication (for ppv). I’m looking forward to Tru2Way to solve this.

  7. SFYI Editor says

    Pat — Video-on-demand could be launching in Georgetown and nearby communities within the next month or so. If you don’t see related announcements in that time frame, please let us know and we’ll check for updates.

  8. lg says

    will i be able to watch any out-of-market NFL football teams in the NFL season.. ..can i choose which NFL game to watch during the season?

  9. SFYI Editor says

    I’m not currently aware of the NFL offering out-of-market games on any cable VOD service, although we’d certainly be open to reviewing such an option, if the NFL were to offer it. In the meantime, I can tell you that nearly 100 professional football games — and up to 470 college games — will be available during the 2008 season on broadcast and cable networks offered by Suddenlink, including many of the highest-rated games. Last season, all of the highest-rated games nationally were featured on networks that Suddenlink offers, including Fox, CBS, ESPN, ABC, and NBC.

  10. Danno says

    Will we ever be able to purchase espn gameplan or buy pay per view games like we could when we were with cox cable?

  11. Danno says

    Also your press release states that VOD is As the first step of a broader expansion that will extend into 2009. What can we look foward to in 2009?

  12. SFYI Editor says

    Phahn — I can’t provide a timeline for Mountain Home yet, but I can tell you that we will expand VOD services to as many areas as quickly as we can and resources allow.

  13. SFYI Editor says

    Danno — We constantly evaluate PPV games and make available what has wide appeal. As I recall, ESPN Game Plan was subscribed to by so few customers that it lost money. That said, we will revisit this offering, to see what’s possible and if circumstances have changed.

    In terms of VOD expansion, we will announce specifics as soon as we can. Thanks for your interest.

  14. Chris says

    Can we (San Angelo) expect to see the Fox, CBS, and ABC HD channels anytime soon to watch those “highest-rated games nationally” mentioned earlier??

  15. SFYI Editor says

    Chris,

    I believe there was a temporary arrangement (either last year or earlier this year) that allowed us to receive and re-transmit a Fox HD signal in your area. However, currently, I understand that neither the Fox station nor CBS station in your area are broadcasting HD signals. And your ABC station is not transmitting an HD signal that’s strong enough to reach our facilities.

    If those circumstances have changed since the last update I received, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, we’d love to provide all three of these local network affiliates in HD, but can’t do so until the stations either broadcast in HD or boost their signals.

    In the meantime, the “highest-rated games nationally” that you mentioned are still available on the analog or standard-digital signals we receive and retransmit.

    Thanks for your interest.

  16. SFYI Editor says

    JP — Though we can’t yet give you a specific date for your area, I can tell you that we plan on expanding VOD further in 2009 and will announce individual communities as they receive the service. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience.

  17. SFYI Editor says

    David — While I can’t provide a specific timeframe at this point, I can tell you that we plan to continue expanding VOD service to more markets in 2009-10, and will make local announcements accordingly. Thanks for your patience, and please stay tuned.

  18. SFYI Editor says

    N.J. — While I can’t currently provide details, I can assure you we will continue to evaluate opportunities for making the 20 Mb service available in more areas.

  19. Kaleb says

    Any idea when the VOD or new guide will be in Central Oklahoma/Stillwater area? I can’t stand this current guide (The Passport DVR) as it is slow and unresponsive.

    Thanks =]

  20. SFYI Editor says

    Kaleb — I’m afraid I can’t currently provide a timeframe for the new guide and VOD in your area — but we will certainly alert local customers as soon as possible prior to launch. Thanks for your patience … and stay tuned.

  21. Brittany says

    So just to make sure I understand.. Will this be like… The guide and you want to watch a movie… You just select it and watch it?kinda like renting movies from the rental store? Will this be the same with network shows? If so it would improve the space issue on the old dvr box. I work overnight so being able to select to watch a network series at 2 am on my day off would indeed be awesome. -britt

  22. SFYI Editor says

    Brittany — you essentially have it right, although past episodes of the network shows will likely be more limited than movies and other such content. I live in a non-Suddenlink territory, but have VOD through my local cable company — and love it!

  23. SFYI Editor says

    Erin — I don’t have a specific timeline, as of yet, but we continue to look at opportunities to expand the range of choices on our VOD service.

  24. Tim says

    I just got the Digital HD DVR box with VOD but when we missed an episode of “Bones” I went to look for it and couldn’t find it.
    It seems that VOD does not include channels like NBC, ABC, CBS or FOX. What gives? Will this be fixed soon?

  25. SFYI Editor says

    Tim — We can only offer on VOD what the networks and movie producers authorize. However, with your DVR, you should be able to record any show on any channel you receive with your Suddenlink subscription, including NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX. I know, in our home, we use the DVR for that purpose often. If you need help setting that up, let us know.

  26. Tim says

    Well, we know how to do that, but in this case we forgot to record it. Do you know where you can go to find out when or if the networks plan to offer VOD?

    • SFYI Editor says

      Tim — I doubt the major broadcast networks discuss their plans publicly, but we are in constant contact with them and as soon as they decide to provide content for VOD, we will look into adding it. On occasion, they do stream episodes of popular, current shows on the Internet. You might try their respective Web sites as a starting point.