Scientific-Atlanta has already shipped more than 200,000 Explorer HD set-tops to cable operators.
On March 1, Cablevision Systems began offering HD set-top boxes to its 216,000-plus digital customers in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Long Island. Customers have not had to wait in line to get one.
Time Warner Cable of New York City began offering HD a year ago. So far, only 11,000 of its 500,000 digital subscribers have the HD-capable set-top boxes.
Long Island's Newsday daily newspaper reports that widespread acceptance of HD services has been slowed by the limited number of HDTV channels available as well as the high cost of HD displays. Cable operators are hoping to change that with several upcoming new HD channels.
So far, however, cable systems capable of delivering HDTV are available only in about one-third of the nation.
The newspaper reported that Scientific-Atlanta, one of two industry leaders, has shipped only about 200,000 HDTV cable TV boxes, including those used by Cablevision and Time Warner.
Over-the-air HD reception remains problematic and rare in the nation's 105 million TV households. Despite lower prices, only about three million TV households in the United States have HDTV-capable sets, reports Forrester Research of Cambridge, Mass. About half a million of those set owners get HD signals through satellite TV, while 180,000 get them over the airwaves, including through indoor rabbit ear antennas.