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DirecTV pushes needle on HD, portable DBS

Tue, 01/09/2007 - 7:08am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

DirecTV could apply some pressure on already-tight cable bandwidth after announcing it plans to launch and carry 100 national high-definition channels.

Calling 2007 the "Year of HD," the DBS provider said the "majority" of those channels will come online in Q3.

To date, DirecTV said it has inked HD deals with more than 70 "major" nets, including A&E, Bravo, FX, HGTV, MTV, NFL Network, TBS, The History Channel and USA Network. It will also sprinkle in HD programming from regional sports nets such as YES Network, Comcast Sports Net, New England Sports Network and FOX Sports.

DirecTV said it will tap capacity for these HD nets from the DirecTV 10 and DirecTV 11 satellites, which together are capable of delivering 1,500 local HD and digital channels, and 150 national HD channels, the company said.

The company also used CES to introduce DirecTV Sat-Go, an integrated, portable DBS system.

Slated for a Spring 2007 launch, DirecTV Sat-Go and its "briefcase-like" carrier will make a home for a 17-inch LCD monitor, an integrated receiver, flat antenna and a rechargeable laptop-style battery.

DirecTV will target the offering to customers on the go, including those who might want to take in some tube time while camping, hiking or tailgating...or in the home as a secondary TV set.

The system was conceived by TV writer/producer Rick Rosner, who was interested in finding a way to lug along his DirecTV system. He hooked up with DirecTV engineer David Kuether to develop the Sat-Go prototype.

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