DIRECTV, the direct-to-home satellite television provider, announced last week that 12 of the nation’s largest designated market areas (DMAs) will be among the first to receive satellite-delivered local channels in HD in the second half of this year.
The provider will begin an expansion of its capacity with the planned launch of four new satellites that will deliver more than 1500 local HD and more than 150 national HD channels and other advanced programming services to consumers nationwide by 2007.
The first cities to receive local HD channels are: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Tampa, FL.
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 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. Customers will also need new HD set-top boxes.