DirecTV Rolls Out Local HD Channels

January 12, 2005
DirecTV has announced the initial introduction of 12 local HD broadcast channels available to approximately 36 million U.S. households.

Consumers will receive the local channels after the Spaceway 1 and Spaceway 2 satellites--built by Boeing--are launched in during the second quarter of this year..

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Tampa, which account for approximately nearly 32.8 percent of the U.S. market, are the first cities to receive the channels.

DirecTV will transmit the local HD channels from three Ka-band orbital slots using MPEG-4 AVC. Viewers will need new set-top boxes to accommodate the new compression technology.

The new MPEG-AVC/DVB-S2 was recently showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The transmission standard reduces the amount of bandwidth needed to deliver HD via satellite, according to DirecTV. The digital TV service provider will continue using MPEG-2 for SD broadcasts. By 2007, DirecTV plans to have hundreds of local and national HD channels rolled out.

Additionally, Tandberg Television, Radyne/Comstream, Conexant, Broadcome and ST Microelectronics are providing support for the transmission enhancement plan.

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