CTAM: DirecTV HD Push to Stimulate Competition

DirecTV’s ambitious and highly publicized plans to roll out scores of HD channels from space in the near future will serve as impetus for the rest of the TV industry to follow suit on a faster timeline, especially within the ranks of cable, according to a panel discussion this week at the annual meeting of Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing in Washington, D.C.

The DBS firm’s heavily promoted plans to become the center of the HD universe for subscription viewers in the United States, the panel said, raises awareness of HD in general, and puts pressure on competitors to step up their own HD ramp up plans, according to Television Week.

According to panelist Ed Huguez, executive vice president at Starz, “DirecTV is lighting a fire [under] cable to reconsider the pace at which they invest” in the technology in order to bring more HD content to more subscribers faster.

Josh Sapan, president and CEO of Rainbow Media Holdings, said as HD programming becomes more readily available, the focus would shift from how many HD channels can be offered to consumers to the actual content being aired. Rainbow owns the Voom HD Networks, which provides several HD channels of original content.