LAS VEGAS--Jan. 6, 2005-- New HD Local Markets Mark First Stage in Dramatic Expansion of HD Programming Over the Next Two Years
DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading and fastest-growing digital television service provider, announced today that 12 of the nation's largest designated market areas (DMAs) will be among the first to receive DIRECTV-delivered local channels in high-definition (HD) in the second half of this year. DIRECTV will begin a historic expansion of its capacity with the planned launch of four next-generation satellites that will deliver more than 1,500 local HD and more than 150 national HD channels and other advanced programming services to consumers nationwide by 2007.
The first group of DMAs to receive local HD channels is: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Tampa. These markets represent nearly 36 million homes or 32.8 percent of all U.S. TV households. Additional markets to receive local HD programming this year will be announced at a later date. Today, DIRECTV offers local channels in standard definition in 130 markets, including these 12 markets.
"With the launch of the first of our local HD markets, we begin the most dramatic programming expansion in our history and take the first steps toward our goal of offering local HD channels to every household in America," said Mitchell Stern, president and CEO, DIRECTV, Inc. "We believe the addition of HD local channels to our programming lineup will provide new opportunities for growth as demand for HD programming increases, and will enable us to compete even more aggressively with cable."
Local HD programming in the first group of markets will be available mid-year following the successful launch of the Spaceway 1 and Spaceway 2 satellites in the second quarter. The launch of these satellites and two others -- DIRECTV 10 and DIRECTV 11, scheduled to go aloft in early 2007 -- will play a vital role in the dramatic expansion of programming capacity for DIRECTV, announced last September.
The Boeing-built Spaceway 1 and 2 satellites will have the capacity for more than 500 local HD channels, bringing local HD programming to most of the U.S. population, and will enable DIRECTV to continue to expand standard-definition local offerings and other enhancements. DIRECTV 10 and 11 will have the capacity for more than 1,000 additional local HD channels and more than 150 national HD channels and other new programming offerings. All four satellites will use spot-beam technology to deliver local channels.
DIRECTV will transmit all local HD channels and other new services from three Ka-band orbital slots co-located over the center of the country using MPEG-4 AVC, the new standard in digital video compression, and advanced modulation that will more than double the efficiency of DIRECTV's Ka-band capacity.
Initially DIRECTV will carry each of the primary broadcast networks that offer an HD feed in the market and customers who subscribe to a local channel package will receive both the standard and HD signal. HD local programming will be received via a single dish -- slightly larger than the current standard dish -- and customers will require new HD set top boxes due to new compression technology.
DIRECTV is the nation's leading and fastest growing digital multichannel television service provider with more than 13.5 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of The DIRECTV Group Inc. (NYSE:DTV). The DIRECTV Group is a world-leading provider of digital multichannel television entertainment and broadband satellite networks and services. The DIRECTV Group is 34 percent owned by Fox Entertainment Group, which is approximately 82 percent owned by News Corporation. For more information visit www.directv.com.
CONTACT: DIRECTV, Inc. Robert Mercer, 310-726-4683 SOURCE: DIRECTV, Inc.