DBS Competitors Tinker with HD Options

In a fierce competition for the growing number of HD viewers with cable—as well as with its only major satellite competitor—Dish Network said beginning next month it will start offering an HD-only package of more than 40 channels for about $30 a month.

The HD-only plan provides such popular venues as ESPN HD and Discovery HD, but will not include some 30 regional sports channels which have limited appeal outside their region. The pared-down HD-only option also will not include some separately priced premium HD channels (thus the lower monthly fee for Dish).

Meanwhile, its DBS competitor, DirecTV, currently lists 87 HD channels for subs, although it is not offering an HD-only option right now. DirecTV is offering an “add HD access” option for $10 monthly, as part of a number of deals involving mostly SD digital venues. DirecTV said it now includes local broadcast stations in 94 percent of all American markets.