With satellite companies rolling out high-def locals all over the place, adding every HDTV channel in existence on one side, and telcos laying fiber as fast as they can on the other, you might think the cable companies are sweating about competing with both challengers on high definition. Not quite. President and CEO of CableLabs Dick Green thinks that cable companies can win by offering something the others don't have yet, HD content via video-on-demand. He believes neither of their competitors have the bandwidth to offer HD VOD to compete with the cable companies. The CEO of Oxygen Media was also quoted as expecting the satellite operators to adapt to the changing marketplace well.
All this talk is great, but HD VOD capabilities are useless if there's nothing to watch. We just got it in my area on Comcast, and none of the movies are very compelling material, with the only free sample being Sylvester Stallone's Cliffhanger. It was hard to judge the quality based on that one movie but it didn't seem to compare well to broadcast HD. On the other hand, in a very fragmented market, VOD may be the HD delivery method of choice if competitors like MovieBeam or the HD DVD & Blu-ray camps can't get their act together. For the time being, limited content, lower than expected quality and glitchy inconsistent experiences are the main things they all seem to have in common.