DirecTV Grows HD Footprint in Smaller Markets

DirecTV began offering local HD broadcast services in four additional markets last week, including the Green Bay, Wis., Greensboro, N.C., Grand Rapids, Mich. and Providence, R.I.

These additions, the satellite firm said, grow its local HD services to 49 cities, representing about two-thirds of all U.S. households. DirecTV plans to add eight additional markets by the end of this year.

The DBS firm's local HD rollout is part of a nationwide expansion that will culminate sometime in 2007, when it said it will have the capacity to deliver more than 1,500 local HD channels and more than 150 national HD outlets. Once the build-out is complete, DirecTV said it would be the largest provider of HD content in the nation.

DirecTV subs that are already signed up for a programming package, which includes local channels, will receive both SD and HD broadcast content at no extra monthly charge. But existing customers must upgrade their HD receiver and dish for $99 per receiver. New customers must buy a H20 HD receiver or a HR20 DirecTV Plus HD DVR, and a satellite dish, and can take advantage of a $100 mail-in rebate.