Three Comcast Networks to HD

The Golf Channel, Versus, E! Entertainment Television to Launch in HD by Year-End

Cable giant Comcast said it will launch three of the programming networks it owns -- Versus, The Golf Channel and E! Entertainment Television -- in HD come December as part of the operator’s broad initiative to increase its slate of HD programming.

Comcast currently provides a hybrid Versus/Golf HD channel that offers a mix of content from both networks and is carried by major operators like Cablevision Systems, along with satellite operator DirecTV and telco Verizon Communications. That channel will be replaced by the Versus HD channel, which will be an HD simulcast of the standard-definition Versus network.

The Golf Channel HD and E! HD, which will also be simulcasts of the SD networks, will have to negotiate for fresh channel assignments with multichannel operators. Comcast Networks hasn’t announced any carriage deals for the new networks, but one could reasonably expect that Comcast cable systems will carry the services at launch.

The HD rampup is not surprising, as Sony announced at the 2008 NAB Show in April that Comcast Networks was buying more than 100 of its XDCAM HD camcorders to support HD field production.