DirecTV, Dish Grow Local HD Markets

DirecTV is trying to hold cable’s feet a bit closer to the fire by ratcheting up its HD channel offerings. The race for HD superiority becomes doubly important this time of year as potential HD consumers become HD consumers literally overnight (at least if the holiday season does even close to its usual business this year).

DirecTV had grown its markets offering local broadcast HD channels by six in the past several days—bringing its total local HD market base to nearly 120 DMAs. (Its year-end goal, it said, is 121 markets.) DirecTV, the top DBS service in the United States and second only to Comcast for all TV subscribers, said it now offers local HD coverage in nearly 90 percent of all TV households.

The new DirecTV local-HD markets include: Des Moines-Ames (DMA 71); El Paso, Texas (DMA 98); Ft. Wayne, Ind. (DMA 107); La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wis. (DMA 127); Peoria-Bloomington, Ill. (DMA 116); and Rockford, Ill. (DMA 132).

Meanwhile, competitor Dish Network has added eight local HD markets, bringing its total to nearly 85 markets (reaching more than 75 percent of U.S. households).

Dish’s new markets include: Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (DMA 65); Cincinnati (DMA 34); Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, Pa. (DMA 41); Jacksonville, Fla. (DMA 47); Lexington, Ky. (DMA 63); Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark. (DMA 56) ; Louisville, Ky. (DMA 50); and Wichita Falls, Texas/Lawton, Okla. (DMA 145)