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Voom HD Networks was a group of 15 original high-definition television channels owned by Rainbow Media, a subsidiary of Cablevision. The channels were produced in true High Definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and were the largest suite of HD channels in the world. These channels were available on Dish Network until May 12, 2008, and were removed from Cablevision in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on January 20, 2009.

History

The Voom HD Networks were originally part of the Voom DTH satellite platform launched by Cablevision and were operated by its subsidiary, Rainbow DBS Company. The original Voom HD was primed as a competitor to the established DirecTV and Dish Network systems. Its goal was to become the first television provider with a lineup consisting mainly of high-definition TV networks in addition to conventional Standard definition channels. As part of this endeavor, Voom launched in 2003 twenty-one original channels that were completely in HD. In 2004, the organization promoted itself by advertising that it had more high-definition television channels available than its competitors. One of its channels, High Definition News (HDN) managed by veteran news director, William Wright, was responsible for many HDTV firsts, including incorporating Emmy Award winning television journalist Bob Tur's transmission codec, allowing the backhaul of news content via the internet. Today Tur and HDN's novel use of the internet is now used by content creators across the globe.

Service was broadcast via the Rainbow-1marker communications satellite, which was built by Lockheed Martin and launched on July 17, 2003. The satellite is currently still in orbit, and has been made part of the Dish Network fleet and rebranded as Echostar XIImarker. It operates from the 61.5°W orbital location, over the Atlantic Ocean. As the sole transmission path for Voom, however, the satellite's low position in the sky on the west coast often made the service more difficult to receive than those of its competitors.

In early 2005, Voom's parent company Cablevision announced it would seek "strategic alternatives" for Rainbow Media Enterprises, the business unit that contains its Voom satellite service, leaving the future of Voom questionable. After a bitter dispute in the boardroom, Charles Dolan (the founder of Cablevision) ousted three board members who pushed for the extinction of Voom, on the condition he had until March 31 to arrange for Voom's assets to be purchased. When that deadline passed, Cablevision's board proceeded to shut Voom down: The service ceased on April 30, 2005, and Rainbow-1 and VOOM's spectrum allocations were sold to EchoStar. The day before, EchoStar's Dish Network announced that they would be adding ten of Voom's original 21 channels to their lineup starting May 1; the remaining channels were added on February 1, 2006.

Unlike most discontinued direct broadcast satellite systems in the United States such as PrimeStar and AlphaStar, the Voom set-top boxes are still useful even though the service is gone; they can be used to receive ATSC off-air signals. Voom set-top boxes have commanded prices upwards of $100 on websites such as eBay as people seek a less expensive way to receive digital off-air broadcasts.

In addition to being carried by Dish Network, Rainbow Media continued the HD channels themselves and relaunched them under the name "Voom HD Networks." Due to issues surrounding the formatting of the channels, fifteen of the 21 original channels were initially retained, with improved programming as the goal of the consolidation. Voom's HD collection was added to Cablevision's cable-TV HD-lineup in late June 2007; however, other than Dish Network, no other cable systems chose to carry Voom.

In 2008, Dish Network removed ten of the channels from their lineup on May 12, 2008, with the remaining five removed the next day, leaving coverage limited to Cablevision's systems in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania. Citing this drop in carriage and the ensuing lengthy litigation,rather than boast of being the exclusive provider, Cablevision announced on December 18 that the Voom HD suite would be discontinued as of January 15, 2009, to be replaced by other HD programming. (Ultimately, the channels ceased operations on January 20, and replaced by multiplexed HD content from premium providers.) VOOM continues to broadcast internationally, where two of its channels sustain robust carriage.

Channels



† Removed by Dish May 12, 2008‡ Removed by Dish May 13, 2008

Voom programming in Canada

In 2005, Rainbow Media signed a licensing and programming deal with Canadian company High Fidelity HDTV allowing them to air programming from the Voom HD Networks on their own channels and use of the Voom brand and branding of several of their channels. Thus far High Fidelity HDTV has launched 4 channels with three having the same names as their Voom counterparts:



Voom programming in Europe

UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland

In 2008, Rainbow Media launched Rush HD in the United Kingdommarker and the Republic of Irelandmarker on Sky Digital. The channel is also available in Germany. They are also said to be planning further channels such as UltraHD.
In the Czech Republicmarker and Slovakiamarker, Voom HD was available through UPC Broadband and ceased broadcast on August 31, 2009. The channel was replaced by Rush HD.

Nordic and Benelux Regions

Rainbow Media also offers a channel called Voom HD in Scandinavia, the Netherlandsmarker and Belgiummarker. This channel carries HD content from the different channels in the USAmarker.

Voom Channels in Singapore

Voom HD, Equator HD and Worldsport HD are shown in Singaporemarker through SingTel's IPTV network mio TV from July 2007.

Voom Channels in Brazil

Voom HD was launched in Brazil in April 28th, 2009 on Sky Brazil and TVA cable service (São Paulomarker and Rio de Janeiromarker). Will be replace by Rush HD in August 1st, 2009.

References

  1. "Rainbow Pulls Plug On Voom HD Service" from Multichannel.com 18 Dec 2008.
  2. Linda Moss, "Cablevision replaces Voom suite with premium HD services," from Multichannel News, 21 Jan 2009.


External links




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