DirecTV Updates FCC on Local Carriage

The nation’s largest satellite broadcaster told the FCC earlier this month that it would need to invest an extra $250 million to add all remaining local broadcast signals to its channel lineup.

DirecTV met with the FCC last week to update the commission on its plans for carrying local broadcast signals in HD. Details of the Oct. 2 meeting were released this week in a memorandum.

DirecTV said it is now carrying SD signals from local broadcasters in 143 DMS and will soon initiate carriage in another seven markets. The company also said that it is offering HD carriage of local broadcasters’ signals in 60 DMAs. Plans are underway to extend this service after the launch of new satellites.

The DBS provider said that it had been looking into providing carriage of signals from local broadcasters in remaining DMAs, but estimates that the project will require an investment of more than $250 million.

Also noted were some of the difficulties that have to be resolved as more and more terrestrial broadcasters move to DTV broadcasting. DirecTV said that carriage of HD signals can consume up to six times the bandwidth required by an SD signal, and that for efficient allocation of resources, the company is asking broadcasters to specify the format in which they plan to transmit in connection with mandatory carriage on DirecTV.

(For more information on the digital transition challenges to DBS carriers, read “Satcasters Voice DTV Transition Concerns” in the Oct. 3 issue of TV Technology.)