DirecTV Demos MPEG-4 HD Satellite Transmission at CES

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, DirecTV demonstrated a live HDTV transmission using MPEG-4, Part 10 advanced video coding, which it claims to be the world's first such transmission. MPEG 4, Part 10 coding, also known as H.264, applies coding efficiencies that permit the carriage of video images of equivalent q
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At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, DirecTV demonstrated a live HDTV transmission using MPEG-4, Part 10 advanced video coding, which it claims to be the world's first such transmission. MPEG 4, Part 10 coding, also known as H.264, applies coding efficiencies that permit the carriage of video images of equivalent quality, using significantly less digital bandwidth than MPEG-2, the current standard HDTV video compression scheme.

In the future, DirecTV plans to convert all HDTV services to MPEG-4, Part 10, but to continue the use of MPEG-2 for SD services. In September 2004, DirecTV announced that it plans to carry 150 national and 1,500 local HDTV channels within the next two years. This will require four new satellites, two of which will be launched early this year.

The digital TV service provider has also been preparing to deliver national HD feeds of major broadcast networks. ABC viewers can watch "Desperate Housewives," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Lost" in HD.

Until HD feeds are available in all time zones, the Pacific and Mountain time zones will receive West Coast feeds and the Central and Eastern time zones will receive East Coast feeds.

DirecTV is also offering HD packages: ESPN HD, Discovery HD Theater, HDNet, HDNet Movies and Universal HD pay per view.