Fox comes around to HDTV

David Hill wants his HDTV. The Fox Sports chairman and president of DIRECTV enthusiastically endorsed HDTV during a keynote speech last week at the first HD World Conference in New York City.

Hill predicted that by the middle of next year, DIRECTV would be the biggest provider of HD programming in the world. This will come, he predicted, after the launch of two new Ka-band satellites that will allow DIRECTV to deliver up to 150 HD channels.

“We have definitely drunk the HDTV Kool-Aid,” Hill said, quipping that DIRECTV hadn’t invested billions on HDTV because of a belief that it was a passing fad.

Noting the intense competition for viewers by such new services as YouTube and the competition for ad dollars from online content, Hill argued that HD programming is the way TV outlets can protect their market shares.

He said research by DIRECTV showed that 83 percent of U.S. homes would have HD displays by 2010, compared to 31 percent today.