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MTV Gets HD Launches on Time Warner

It’s a super Sunday for MTV Networks: MTV, Spike TV, BET and Comedy Central high-definition channels have launched on Time Warner Cable in New York City.

Back in July 2009, Pali Capital analyst Rich Greenfield observed that Viacom’s MTV Networks only had the concert music channel, Palladia, launched on the key Time Warner Cable systems in Manhattan and Los Angeles. He observed that TWC and MTVN did a big carriage deal in January 2009, and expanded its HD offerings overall starting in February.

Since then I’ve been watching for other MTVN HD channels to appear, and now they have. I’m not sure when they launched exactly: TWC of NYC and New Jersey’s channel changes page doesn’t mention it. But it had to be very recently. (Update: someone posted an earlier channel change notice on Broadbandreports.com that foretold these additions and mentioned some other shifts, including Palladia and Weather Channel’s SD channel positioning. Posters there said the channels, plus VH1 HD, launched in Columbus, Ohio.)

Maybe the December launches of HD versions of Comedy Central’s must-watch shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, were a catalyst. Colbert, in particular, encouraged his fans to urge their cable operators to launch him in HD — and had a funny rejoinder on his program to those distributors that kept him in standard definition.

Maybe it was Jersey Shore, and the prospect of J-WOWW and The Situation in glorious HD, that did the trick. MTV HD is showing a Jersey Shore marathon today, starting at 9 a.m. ET. Spike is showing a bunch of CSIs. Comedy is showing movies on Super Bowl Sunday, mostly.

Most likely it just took TWC a (long) while to get to these launches: it typically adds HD networks in small bunches, I’m told, and if a programmer misses a window, it can have a (long) wait ahead until the next one.

Anyway. That’s the situation.