DirecTV Races to Add HD Channels

In the ongoing battle between cable and DBS providers (and within the satellite industry itself) to see who can provide the most HD content in the shortest amount of time, DirecTV seems to be making good on its promise to provide at least 100 HD venues by the close of 2007. The DBS firm has just inked its latest agreements to carry four Discovery HD outlets, five HD Starz movie channels, CNBC HD business news, and Chiller HD, as well as previously announced deals with History Channel HD and A&E HD.

Derek Chang, a DirecTV executive vice president, said his firm has dubbed 2007 the "Year of HD" and promises to deliver more HD channels "than any other multichannel provider."

The Discovery Channels deal includes HD versions of the flagship Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and The Science Channel--all to premiere on the satellite service in September. Two more channels (yet to be named) from Discovery Communications will be added to DirecTV's HD menu later in the year.

The motion picture deal, also to ramp up in the fall, includes three new HD channels: Starz Edge, Starz Comedy and Starz Kids & Family (along with Starz's East and West coast HD feeds). And DirecTV is hoping to make some "history" of its own when it plans to become the first major distributor of the History Channel's new 24-hour HD programming.