Hallmark's digital movie channel to debut in Jan 2004

MUMBAI: The Hallmark Movie Channel, which is Hallmark's first digital service, is set to debut in January 2004. Crown Media Holdings Inc., which operates the Hallmark Channel worldwide, has selected Scientific-Atlanta's PowerVu Digital Distribution System for the transmission of its upcoming digital movie channel.


The channel has reportedly lined up a broadcast of Hallmark Hall of Fame Collection movies as also the original movies and miniseries' from the Crown library.

The library has about 700 titles, including Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck and Patrick Stewart, The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All with Cicely Tyson, Anne Bancroft, Diane Lane, Donald Sutherland and Blythe Danner and the winner of four Emmys and Storm in Summer, which is a two-Emmy winner featuring Peter Falk, Nastassja Kinski and Andrew McCarthy. It will also buy movies from other providers.

This new channel will join the Hallmark Channel, which was launched in August 2001 and is broadcast to about 110 million cable and satellite households worldwide. In the US alone, it reaches about 56 million of the 92 million cable or satellite households.

The news of this deal with Scientific-Atlanta comes in the wake of Crown Media announcing a distribution deal with Comcast, the largest cable company in the United States. That deal is expected to give the Hallmark Channel access to an additional 10 million to 12 million US households.

"We've been very pleased with the PowerVu digital system which we use to deliver our east and west coast feeds," said Hallmark Channel vice president of operations Bob Young.

Added Richard Buchanan, senior vice president of operations and business development, "In our planning, we examined various delivery systems for the digital movie channel. Our prior experience with Scientific-Atlanta's PowerVu system worldwide provides a great amount of confidence that the capabilities of this technology solution will enable us to move forward rapidly with our launch of the Hallmark Movie Channel."

Scientific-Atlanta Inc. is a leading supplier of digital content distribution systems, transmission networks for broadband access to the home, digital interactive set-tops and subscriber systems designed for video, high-speed Internet and voice over IP (VoIP) networks, and worldwide customer service and support.

Currently, more than 400 Scientific-Atlanta digital video compression systems are said to be transmitting over 2,000 channels of digital programming.

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