DirecTV Taps LG Electronics Transcoder for HD Delivery to Hotels

Delivery of premium HD programming directly to hotel rooms via DBS will soon begin with the use of a "transcoder" technology developed for the lodging industry by LG Electronics and being deployed first by LodgeNet Entertainment.

The transcoder from LG Electronics, whose U.S. base of operations is in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is a content-secure device that will receive DirecTV HD signals and reformat them to meet the ATSC standard for distribution through a hotel's existing cabling.

The agreement means that hoteliers will be able to offer guests both free over-the-air HD and also premium programming (such as the HBO-HD channels). Such in-room services are expected to begin first in higher-end properties and middle-range chains for an extra charge, similar to today's VOD hotel room services.

DirecTV's commitment to HD, overall, became increasingly apparent in recent months. Several weeks ago, it announced plans to begin providing local broadcast HD channels in up to 40 markets by the end of this year. Its Spaceway F1 satellite was successfully launched in April, and a second bird, Spaceway F2, was scheduled to be launched into space any day now.