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DirecTV to Add 16 HD Markets

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.: The folks at DirecTV this week said the satellite TV provider would start offering local HD channels in 16 more markets next month. The announcement comes a week after lawmakers passed a five-year extension of the law governing direct broadcast satellite carriage of local broadcast signals. The extension included a directive that DBS operators provide local signals in all 210 U.S. TV markets.

DirecTV said it would provide hi-def feeds of available ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates in designated areas in the coming months.

Starting in June, DirecTV will add Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss.; Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Idaho; and Joplin-Pittsburg, Mo. Albany and Columbus, Ga.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Montgomery-Selma, Ala., will be launched in the third quarter. Abilene-Sweetwater, Amarillo, Lubbock, and Wichita Falls-Lawton, Texas; Binghamton, N.Y.; Clarksburg-Weston and Wheeling-Steubenville, W.Va.; Sioux City, Iowa; and Terre Haute, Ind., will get local HD channels in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The additions bring to 172 the number of markets in which DirecTV is providing local channels, and to 155 the number of those that have local content in HD. The expansion increases its local-channel footprint to 97 percent of U.S. TV homes.
-- Deborah D. McAdams