210 DMA'S by2008

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Sep 8, 2003
Wooster, OH
DBS Deal Companies Eye All DMAs for Locals

News Corp. and Hughes, which are working in Washington, D.C., to gain regulatory approval for the media giant's $6.6 billion takeover of a controlling stake in the satellite company, said DirecTV will aim to deliver local TV in all of the nation's 210 DMAs by 2008.

In a correspondence filed this week with the Federal Communications Commission, the companies said if News Corp. gets Hughes/DirecTV, the satellite TV service will expand local TV packages to 30 more DMAs - or offer 30 more channels of HDTV or a combination of new HD and local channels - by the end of 2004. With the launch of a new generation of satellites as early as 2006, DirecTV will have the capability to provide local channels in all 210 DMAs by the end of 2008, the companies said.

At the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association's Retailer Rally in Washington, DirecTV Chairman and CEO Eddy Hartenstein said the effort to expand local TV into all corners of the country "represents a $1 billion investment over that timeframe."

In order to expand local TV offerings, a News Corp.-backed DirecTV will utilize Ku-Band capacity available on FSS satellites and Ka-Band capacity on Hughes' future SpaceWay system, the companies said.

Also, by the end of 2004, new middleware supplied by a News Corp. subsidiary will allow for a new user interface for set-top boxes, allowing for a suite of ITV services that includes interactive news and sports, weather and traffic information, and games.

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By the end of 2008 is not going to cut it. They announced up to 100 markets by the end of this year which means they have about half the markets up and it only took them about 3 or 4 years to get this many up? Why would it take another 5 years to get the rest up? I would think it would take less time than the previous 100, not more.

By the end of 2008 Dish Network and DirecTv should have a good portion of HD/digital channels up, perhaps a third or half the channels at least.
Perhaps with some improved compression this will help create a bit more bandwidth. If they can improve it 10-20% each time the compression increases then that will mean a lot more with the more bandwidth there is. Will compression still be allowed on the leased satellites as in will there be anything at the satellite limiting what they can do now with their own satellites?
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