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Va-Va-Va Voom

Analysts predict that Voom’s HD advantage in terms of number of channels will probably last only until the middle or end of next year. But even after DirecTV and EchoStar match the number of channels, Voom will have a trump card for at least an additional year or two: naked women.

The Playboy Channel in HD is expected to launch in January, and original HD productions are already under way in the network’s Glendale, Calif., studios for programs like Fallen One, Night Calls and Private Calls.

Cablevision has picked up the cost of the new production gear in exchange for exclusive rights to the service for two years. Given that Voom doesn’t carry ESPN in either SD or HD format, inclusion of a channel with naked women will most likely have an important role in attracting male subscribers.