By Scott Essman
There’s a new game in town, and it’s called VOOM. Actually VOOM is one of a series of new high-definition television (HDTV) networks debuting this year, adding their presence to the likes of existing services like HDNet. Naturally, VOOM and other companies are relying on uncut movies for the lion’s share of their high-def material.
VOOM calls itself “the first and most complete service of high-definition programming” for the rapidly expanding HDTV market. As of February it was offering 39 premium HD channels to consumers across the continental U.S. One package included 21 brand-new, commercial-free channels, including Monsters HD, WorldSport HD, Epics HD and Animania HD. VOOM is provided by Rainbow DBS, the satellite services division of Cablevision Systems.
Monsters HD is billed as “taking scary movies to a whole new level by delivering uncut, commercial-free horror films with frighteningly clear HDTV images and sound.” Programming includes George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, George Pal’s sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds and Charles Band’s Puppetmaster franchise of films.
To fill the space between the HD movies, VOOM is providing HD interstitials. In the case of Monsters HD, these elements—which include original segments on horror collectors and memorabilia—are shot on HD. Undoubtedly, this opens up new opportunities for HD production.
Original programming is on the slate as well. Upcoming titles shot in HD include the television premieres of The Shaft (a.k.a. Down) starring Naomi Watts, about a killer elevator from hell, and Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed, the sequel to the indie hit.
By Scott Essman