DirecTV Adds New Local HD Markets

DBS provider DirecTV has begun offering local HD channels to dish subs in the markets of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Nashville, Kansas City, Columbus, Ohio, and Birmingham, Ala. The firm’s ramp-up of local HD channels in these eight DMAs is part of a nationwide development of HD programming that will culminate in 2007.

Within about a year, DirecTV plans to have the ability to deliver up to 1,500 local HD broadcast channels (as well as about 150 national HD channels), as it strives to lead both DBS and cable competitors with the most extensive local-national HD delivery infrastructure in the U.S. Currently, the DBSer said it provides access of at least 900 hours of HD programming weekly.

DirecTV now offers local HD broadcasts in 20 cities, with a strategy to get underway in another 16 cities by the end of the summer. At that point, the company said, local HD via DBS access will be near 60 percent of all U.S. households.

Customers who subscribe to a programming package that includes local channels will receive both the standard and HD signals at no extra monthly charge.