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Level 3 to Assist DirecTV Local HD

DirecTV-- (opens in new tab) which is on the verge of carrying the first of up to about 1,500 local HD broadcast channels in nearly all U.S. markets--has chosen Level 3 Communications to help with transport support.

Level 3 has worked with DirecTV since 1999 and currently provides a portion of the satellite content provider's existing backbone that supports its current SD services, according to both companies. Level 3 oversees a nationwide fiber-optic network from its headquarters outside Denver. The firm will help carry local HD signals from local markets for retransmission to DirecTV customers.

In early November, DirecTV also announced a plan to work with various other partners to bring its video programming to devices other than TV sets (such as DVRs, smartphones and possibly video iPod-type units). The company announced it will unveil some of these new devices at the CES in Las Vegas in January. The DBS firm had announced its intentions 24 hours after Sprint Nextel disclosed a joint venture with four major cable companies to begin offering TV content directly to cell smart-phones.