We've been subscribing to the HDTV service from Insight in our area for over a year now, and while we haven't had any technical problems, I feel that the content still has a long way to go. There are currently a handful of HD stations available:

  • HBO-HD
  • NBC-HD
  • ABC-HD
  • CBS-HD
  • Discovery HD Theater
  • Bravo-HD
  • PBS-HD
  • HD-NET
  • HD-Movies

And the pricing is a little crazy too. It's $13 a month to rent the HD Digital set top box with DVR (Motorola). When you rent the HD box, you get NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, and Bravo in HD. For an extra $10 / month you can add HD-NET, HD-Movies, ESPN-HD, and Discovery HD Theater. That's $2.50 a channel. HBO-HD will run you another $10 (you get the standard set of digital HBO's as well), and SHO-HD is $13. Essentially, if you wanted to subscribe to every feature available in my area, and rent only one box, your total cable and internet bill would run in excess of $180 / month. Mine currently sits at $117 (digital box, digital subscription, HBO, Starz, internet). If all you were interested in getting were the 11 HD stations, you would be paying:

  • $40 Digital Subscription
  • $13 HD Receiver rental
  • $10 HBO
  • $13 Showtime
  • $10 HD-NET, HD-Movies, ESPN-HD, Discovery HD Theater
  • TOTAL: $86 / month + tax!

That's nearly $8 per channel! Even more discouraging is that there is very little network programming that is broadcast in HD. What you end up with are standard resolution programs that have been upconverted to HD resolution. This looks terrible, as you end up with all sorts of distortion, tracing, jaggies, and artifacts. America's Funniest Home Videos is notoriously bad, as they are upconverting the already poor video from home cameras.

I say all this bad stuff, yet we're still paying for the service. Why? The content that does come in HD is amazing! The difference in picture quality between the standard def CSI and HD CSI is amazing (we love CSI). I'm hoping that we get FOX soon, as I know that they are broadcasting over the air HD, as are UPN and WB. I guess it is all just a matter of time.


Jade Mason