Baton Rouge's online news service Daily Report yesterday published a story about Cox Communications limiting the number of high-definition cable boxes it leases to each household because of a temporary shortage in supply.

Lafayette resident Matthew Schott says the problem is not exclusive to the capital city; he's been waiting for a second box since early January, when he bought a new flat panel HD TV. Schott says Cox initially told his wife the company would have more boxes in two weeks and a manager later explained that the demand for boxes after Christmas had outstripped the supply. "The story's always been the same, two weeks, until the last time we called, which was about a week ago, they said they have no idea when they'd be getting more," Schott says. "My picture is nothing near the quality of the picture in the store. I'm inconvenienced, and I just can't seem to get any answers. Aren't they losing money?"

Cox spokeswoman Ann Ruble could not be reached for comment this morning.

The problem appears to be with Motorola, which manufactures the HD boxes and the combo digital video recorder/HD boxes. The manufacturer has not been able to keep up with the surge in households with high-definition sets, Ruble told Daily Report. "We would love to be able to send out more," she said. "But with more and more households buying HD sets, this is an issue with every cable company." The rationing has been in effect off and on for much of the past year. "We're going to have to do this until we get to a place where we can fill everybody's needs and wants," she added, noting that Motorola says there should be some relief at the end of April, when more combo DVR/HD boxes will be coming in. "We're keeping up with this from week to week," Ruble said.

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