Because of a slow uplink, video-on-demand (VOD) has been an Achilles heel for satellite providers, but DirecTV recently announced that its on-demand service is good to go.

DirecTV launched its on-demand service to all of its customers across the nation yesterday after months of fine-tuning the technology. The service, which is available at no additional cost, has more than 4,000 standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) titles. DirecTV customers with DirecTV Plus HD DVRs or R22 DVR receivers have access to the service.

DirecTV subscribes can choose professional installation or request a self-install kit. Customers will need a broadband connection, a router or Internet gateway with Ethernet port, and equipment to network the HD DVR or R22 DVR.

DirecTV’s on-demand service uses a broadband connection to download most of the content, while other content, such as blockbuster movies, is pushed into a customer’s DVR via the satellite service.

While DirecTV didn’t provide additional details about the push technology, the nation’s largest satellite provider could be downloading the opening credits of a blockbuster movie into DVRs at night in order to offset any potential lag time in the movie downloading.

DirecTV touted the easy user interface for the on-demand service, as well as the following features:

  • Customized programmer homepages – Each programmer has its own on-demand channel that highlights the latest shows and movies available from the network. Each programmer page consists of graphics and posters that highlight the most popular content. The customized homepages correspond to the programmer’s regular channel number with a “1” in front of it (i.e. The Discovery Channel is on 276, The Discovery Channel On-Demand is on 1276.) Channel 1000 is the main homepage for DirecTV On-Demand.
  • Internet remote scheduling – On-demand customers have access to a DVR scheduler, which will allow them to remotely schedule on-demand programming to their DVR from an Internet-connected computer or mobile phone.
  • Free Titles – Thousands of free titles (in both SD and HD) always available, including movies, TV series, kid’s shows and specialty programming, such as music, exercise and educational content.
  • Expanded pay-per-view (PPV) titles - Expanded variety of PPV titles is also available with on-demand trailers.

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