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VOOM Death and Rebirth

After struggling to lure subscribers to its satellite broadcast service with the promise of 39 HDTV channels — fewer than 40,000 paying customers jumped on board — VOOM went dark on April 30. The service, which launched in late 2003, offered an alternative to other cable and satellite providers by providing 21 exclusive HDTV channels and 18 other HDTV channels, as well as the traditional standard channels you would expect from cable and satellite. The service never caught on for many reasons, including consumers' slower-than-expected adoption of high-definition media. Another problem for VOOM is that it had to compete for the small segment of consumers willing to use a satellite to get TV service — a market that's probably close to maxed out by DirecTV and Dish Networks, which serve a combined subscriber base of almost 25 million people. VOOM's death wasn't exactly bad news for those looking for lots of HD programming, however. Cablevision, the company behind VOOM, will continue operating the 21 exclusive VOOM channels and is now offering them to other cable and satellite providers. So far, Dish Networks is the only provider to sign up. The company is offering its more than 11 million subscribers the chance to sign up for 10 of the 21 stations immediately, with the rest coming online by 2006. Hopefully, more providers will sign up for the channels shortly, because if you're like us, once you see high-definition programming, you just want more and more.

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