DirecTV Enables Search for Out-of-Market Games

True sports fans don’t want to let a simple thing like the local TV blackout of a sporting event stop their viewing.

Feeling the pain of fans thwarted by the contracts between sports leagues and local broadcasters, DirecTV has introduced a service to find the game on another of DirecTV’s hundreds and hundreds of channels.

The new service, GameSearch, recognizes when DirecTV receiver tunes into a blacked out game. Then, it scans the system’s electronic program guide to see if the game is on another channel.

Blackouts arise when an event is restricted from a certain market to protect other rights holders such as the leagues or teams.

“Blackouts have always been the bane of sports fans and while we can’t make them go away, we can be the first to make it easier for fans, who have been left in the dark, to find their game if it’s being broadcast on another channel,” said Eric Shanks, executive vice president of DirecTV Entertainment. “Like our HD and interactive services, GameSearch is another DirecTV technological innovation developed in response to what our customers want and what will provide them with the ultimate viewing experience.”

If a broadcast of the game is found, GameSearch displays an on-screen message giving the viewer the option to tune in to that channel. If the game is unavailable, an onscreen message will let the viewer know. When a game is scheduled to be recorded on a DVR, GameSearch will find the game that is not blacked out and record it.

GameSearch technology is free of charge to DirecTV customers and is now available to customers with the company’s top-of-the-line HD DVR HR20 and HR21 receivers, as well as the just-released R22 SD DVR.

Later this year the service will be rolled out to basic DVRS (R15 and R16) and next year to HD (H20 and H21) receivers.