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HDTV Hooks Lure Cable Execs to CES

Key cable and satellite executives are expected to attend the Consumer Electronics Association's annual convention in January, which continues to grow as attendance at cable conventions has fallen in recent years.

CEA, which held a pre-convention reception here last Wednesday night, said Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Charles Dolan, EchoStar Communications Corp. chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen and DirecTV Inc. CEO Eddy Hartenstein will be featured on a content and delivery panel session Jan. 9.

Panel topics will include the state of HDTV content, and whether the plug-and-play agreement signed by consumer electronics manufacturers and cable companies in December 2002 will give cable an edge over satellite competitors, the CEA said.

With cable operators and networks gaining a larger presence at retail outlets through sales of cable modems, set-tops and HDTV sets, more cable executives have attended the International CES in recent years. Last year, Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts met Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates at the convention, where they discussed the potential of cable operators using Internet protocol technology to deliver video programming to subscribers.

Also attending last years' confab were Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, Charter Communications Inc. CEO Carl Vogel, Cox Communications Inc. CEO Jim Robbins, Cablevision president Tom Rutledge and Advance/Newhouse Communications chairman Bob Miron.

CEA said it expects more than 110,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibitors at the convention from more than 110 countries. Last year's convention drew 116,687 attendees, according to the CEA.