Customers With Disabilities

Verizon Continues Push for MSG HD Channels

by Employee ‎10-23-2009 12:56 PM - edited ‎10-23-2009 01:08 PM

Hockey Player Verizon is again calling on the federal government to step in and force Cablevision to do the right thing and make the MSG channels it owns available in HD to FiOS TV viewers. 


Verizon VP Terry Denson testified before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee that "...Congress should adopt a narrow legislative fix to address this demonstrated problem by preventing cable incumbents and their affiliates from denying competitors access to the unique regional sports programming that consumers demand."  Here's a link to Terry's testimony.


Even Newsday (owned by Cablevision) reports on a Congressional hearing on Oct. 22 to compel Cablevision to make the HD sports programming available.  Dow Jones also carries the story.


As readers of this blog know, Cablevision has refused to sell to us the high definition versions of the MSG regional sports programming claiming that they don't have to since they already provide the standard def version of the broadcasts.  MSG Network (you guessed it, owend by Cablevision) carries the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres.

As Terry pointed out, many sports fans in the region consider this "must have" and expect their TV provider to have the games in HD.

Back in July, I told you that we had filed a Program Access Complaint with the FCC asking it force Cablevision to sell us this programming.  It was only after we filed a similar complaint in 2006 that Cablevision finally agreed to sell us the MSG sports networks in standard definition.  We asked the FCC to rule on our latest complaint within five months.


In yesterday's testimony, Terry told an Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee that "...Cablevision has steadfastly refused to even discuss providing access to MSG and MSG Plus in HD on any terms."


Meanwhile, Terry notes, " ... Cablevision's advertisements trumpet to consumers that it is the only source for this regional sports programming in HD."


Of course, Verizon can program a new all-news channel when Cablevision refuses to make its local news available for sale to us (even though it is sold to other cable companies).  But no competitor can duplicate local sports programming or substitute games from other sports or other cities.  This content is unique and of major importance to local viewers.  The government should encourage competition by insisting that Cablevision not be allowed to withhold the HD sports programming and use it as a competitive weapon.


What do you think?  Should Cablevision be required to sell competitors its regional sports programming in HD?




by thetick
on ‎10-23-2009 05:03 PM

Clearly Cablevision is harming customers choice.  Also MSNBC is not available to NYC Metro areas due to an MSNBC/Cablevision contract.  Any new info on Verizon getting MSNBC in Cablevison territory?

on ‎10-24-2009 11:25 AM

Come on FCC!!!  Do the right thing and force Cablevision to open up MSG HD!

on ‎10-24-2009 07:50 PM - last edited on ‎10-25-2009 01:44 AM by Moderator Emeritus

with congress now getting, would it be sooner than 12/7 (5 months) , or will it be extended to give congress time , as the FCC got and still time to rule . Would the FCC override Congress, Would Congress override them ? Would congress be the only way, and the FCC is just dead in the water now , with them not doing. Is the FCC Exempt now that the Congress is involved ?


Billy Burgess

Staten Island NY {edited for privacy}

on ‎10-25-2009 11:36 AM

What ever happened to the Justice Dept on this case , it was reported in the Summer that they were investigating these actions by Cablevision ??

on ‎11-18-2009 03:26 PM

Cablevision should absolutely be made to sell MSG HD to all providers. Even Comcast is consistent about CSN Philly when it doesn't sell it to sat companies but does sell it to all cable providers, including Verizon. Cablevision has decided that it can pick and choose who is worthy of its channels, whether it's cable or satellite. The terrestrial loophole was only intended to let programmers continue to operate without being forced to change the way a channel is distrubuted, and not to stifle competition to a particular cable provider. Even though Comcast has done this for years with sat providers, they sell their channel to land based competitors.


We'll have to wait and see what happens when MSG is spun off from Cablevision.

on ‎11-18-2009 05:41 PM

I heard when its spun off, Dolan will still gain control, some of it anyway .

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