Well the news is out and we can stop wondering. Looks like the jump to HDTV will be a free one for DirecTV customers. We all wondered if we would have to pay for the newer MPEG4 devices-guess not. Unfortunately, only the 12 markets will get local programming at first. However, by 2007 all markets will get the service, damn I can't wait as it sucks right now in my area for HDTV content.
DIRECTV is expected to begin offering local HD in 12 markets by year's end. However, the channels will only be available on new DIRECTV MPEG-4 receivers and dishes, which have yet to go on sale.
[I]Until now, it was uncertain if current HDTV owners would have to pay up to $300 to buy a new receiver to get the local high-def signals.
However, Robert Mercer, a DIRECTV spokesman, told TVPredictions.com Tuesday night that current HDTV owners would be offered a free upgrade. An estimated 600,000 DIRECTV subscribers have high-def sets.[/I]
This year the lucky folks in these areas will be geting the local HD stations:
New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington DC, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, and Tampa Bay. (old news)
By 2007, the satcaster expects to have capacity for local HDTV in all major markets -- and up to 150 national HDTV channels. The new HD services are expected to give DIRECTV a major competitive advantage in its battle against the cable TV industry and chief satellite rival,
EchoStar's Dish Network
Wooohooo! 150 channels- but we have to wonder what they will charge for this content! Plus "capacity" is one thing, providing is another, as we can read above. If you are interested in learning more about the satellite that will afford this new capacity and allow much more coverage of the US, check out this link. It's going to weigh 6,000kg and will be put into orbit by a Russian "Proton" rocket.