Just two days after it launched 22 relatively high-interest HD channels, Dish Network has stopped broadcasting the 15 specialty Voom HD channels. The channels, which Dish has long been interested in dropping to make way for more popular channels, include names like GamePlay HD, Treasure HD, Kung Fu HD, and Monsters HD, and programming most viewers have never heard of.
According to Multichannel News via TVPredictions.com, the satellite TV broadcaster is still in the middle of litigation to terminate its agreement to carry all 15 Voom channels, which are owned by Rainbow Media, a division of Cablevision. The New York area cable operator's iO cable service will continue to carry the Voom channels at least through June 30, when its own carriage deal with Voom expires.
In an analyst call Tuesday, Dish CEO Charles Ergen said, "We believe we can replace those channels with other channels that have more value for our customers. I think arguably people would say 15 Voom channels probably weren't as impressive as Disney or Sci Fi or Bravo or CNBC or CNN or TBS or TNT, those kind of channels that we now have up (in HD). Those HD networks will help make Dish Network more competitive with DirecTV's HD offering."
The new HD channels help, but Dish still lags behind rival DirecTV in the "total HD channels" bragging rights. With the removal of those Voom channels, Dish's total number of high-def channels drops from 95 to an even 80, which is still 24 total channels less than DirecTV (check out the full breakdown here).
I expect the satcaster to add more HD channels to utilize the bandwidth freed up by dropping Voom, including perhaps some of the recognizable ones it's still missing such as MTV HD and VH1 HD. Of course, it would be great if those channels actually showed real high-def material, instead of upconverted standard-def, but then again most fans of reality shows like The Hills and Celebracadabra probably don't care much.
What do you think? Are you going to miss Voom staples like Full Frontal Fashion, Keeping it Green, and Gamespotting (a series on GamePlay HD that's--full disclosure--produced in partnership with CNET Networks property GameSpot)? Or are you excited for whatever new HD channels Dish adds next?