Dish Network ratcheted up the high-definition (HD) battle with other video service providers by announcing today that it will have 150 national HD channels by the end of the year.

Dish’s announcement comes on the heels of Verizon launching 100 HD channels in the New York metropolitan area on Monday (story here), which was the same day that Cablevision added 15 new HD channels to bring its total to 60 (story here). Currently, Time Warner Cable has 58 HD channels, but it plans to reach the 100-channel mark in a few months.

As previously announced, Dish will launch 17 national HD channels on Friday, which will put its HD channel count at 114 and will exceed its previous goal of reaching 100 HD channels before the end of the year. Dish gained the capacity for the new HD channels with the launch of its Echo XI satellite on July 16 (story here).

Dish also said that it’s the first in the industry to offer HD programming in 1080p, which it said is the same as Blu-ray disc quality. The first movie released in 1080p resolution will be “I Am Legend” on Aug. 1. Dish is offering the video-on-demand (VOD) movie for a limited time, at $2.99 instead of its usual price of $6.99.

Dish will support the new HD services through a proprietary system upgrade that is slated to start Aug. 1. The upgrade is being rolled out to all MPEG-4 HD DVR receivers. The upgrade activates a feature of the set-top boxes, improving the current standard of HD delivery used by pay-TV providers, such as the ability to output 1080p programming.

By early August, Dish said all of its customers with MPEG-4 HD DVR receivers will have the only set-top boxes in the nation enabled to display 1080p content.

Dish is also offering its TurboHD, which is three tiers of all HD programming. The bronze tier offers more than 40 HD channels for $24.99 per month, the silver more than 50 HD channels for $32.99 per month, and the gold for more than 55 HD channels at $39.99 per month.

The 17 national HD channels added to Dish Network's programming lineup are: ActionMax HD, CBS College Sports HD, Lifetime HD, Lifetime Movie Network HD, Planet Green HD, Encore HD, HBO 2 HD, HBO Comedy HD, HBO Family HD, HBO Latino HD, HBO Signature HD, HBO West HD, HBO Zone HD, Starz Comedy HD, Starz Edge HD, Starz Kids & Family HD, and Starz West HD.

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