DirecTV’s ‘Sunday Ticket’ Gets Interactive

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cablewithaview

cablewithaview

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DirecTV Inc. unveiled interactive enhancements for its “NFL Sunday Ticket” National Football League out-of-market package Thursday, but it’s not clear how many subscribers will be able to access the features.

Company executives said the new DirecTV digital-video recorders, which ship next month, will have access to the “SuperFan” interactive-TV features, in addition to a select number of subscribers who already have interactive-TV-enabled receivers. But they declined to quantify how many customers have the equipment that will make the interactive features tick.

DirecTV raised the retail price for NFL Sunday Ticket to $279.96. NFL Sunday Ticket gives customers access to every American Football Conference and National Football Conference game broadcast by CBS and Fox each Sunday.

Sunday Ticket subscribers will have to shell out an additional $99 for access to the SuperFan premium tier for the package, which includes a “Red Zone” highlight channel, the ability to view an entire game in 30 minutes and HD NFL feeds.

SuperFan also includes two “Game Mix” channels, which are similar to DirecTV’s “Sportsmix,” “Kidsmix” and “Newsmix” genre mosaic channels. The Game Mix channels will allow subscribers to view eight live NFL games on a single screen. It’s designed to help viewers quickly find the game with the best action.

Red Zone is designed for more passive viewers. Fans who go to the channel will hear a voiceover describing the action in the two hottest games being played at any given time.

Subscribers who pay for the SuperFan package will also get access to “Short Cuts,” which will run on channels 701-704. DirecTV will condense each NFL game on Fox into 30 minutes or less, eliminating all of the time spent covering huddles, commercials, timeouts and showboating. Next year, AFC games aired on CBS will also be available on Short Cuts.

DirecTV is also forcing subscribers who own HDTV sets and want to receive the Sunday Ticket games in HD to shell out another $99 for the SuperFan package, which will give them access to more than 100 games in HD.
 
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bigpro

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Can anyone tell me which receivers are interactive? I've order the H10 (obviously not interactive), but thought the R10 was. Any help?
 
Brewer4

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http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/hiestand-tv/2005-08-03-hiestand-nfl_x.htm

DirecTV offers NFL fans new bells, whistles
NEW YORK — DirecTV unveiled Wednesday the most elaborate, and expensive, way to watch the NFL on TV.
DirecTV is controlled by News Corp., which also owns Fox.

DirecTV's new SuperFan option, which will also be used on DirecTV's NCAA men's college basketball tournament coverage in March, seems custom-made for compulsive channel-surfers.

DirecTV, a satellite TV provider with more than 14.5 million subscribers, is upgrading its Sunday Ticket TV package, which caters to NFL fanatics by delivering the TV network coverage of every NFL game.

Viewers paying for SuperFan will continue to get all of the Sunday afternoon Fox and CBS games, but can also use their remotes to get interactive elements such as being able to call up onscreen graphics showing player and team statistics for games in progress. This will allow fantasy league players to become even more obsessed.

And viewers will be able to see up to eight games at once on their TV screen. The big idea is that viewers can monitor lots of games and call up ones that seem interesting — and set personal records for channel-surfing.

There's even a separate channel devoted to what amounts to perpetual channel-surfing done for you.

On the Red Zone Channel, viewers are automatically taken between games to see key moments unfold. (This season, that channel will only involve games on Fox, but DirecTV plans to add CBS games next year.)

To keep viewers from getting dizzy, an announcer will set up what's happening before viewers arrive at a new game.

And after Sunday night games have ended, SuperFan will offer condensed versions of games that will include every play — shown in less than 30 minutes.

This all comes with an impressive price tag: The SuperFan option costs $99, which comes in addition to the $199-$279 cost of Sunday Ticket and DirecTV's basic monthly charge of about $40.

But Fox Sports chairman David Hill, who also presides over DirecTV, argues that SuperFan is "totally revolutionary."

And DirecTV could use the extra money: In new NFL TV deals taking effect in 2006, DirecTV will pay $700 million annually to carry NFL games. That's comparable to the $712.5 million that Fox will pay annually, and more than CBS' $622.5 million annual fee, in order for each network to put games on free TV.

There have been experiments with interactive TV for years. Hill, while working on British satellite TV provider Sky Sports in the 1990s, predicted its interactive TV wouldn't attract viewers. Now, he says, it's a hit — partly because it allows viewers to use TV remotes to place bets on games they watch.

DirecTV might expand the SuperFan concept to allow viewers to hop between the action in golf and tennis tournaments. Says Hill: "This is just our first baby step."
 
Brewer4

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I found this quote interesting.

"Red Zone Channel....(This season, that channel will only involve games on Fox, but DirecTV plans to add CBS games next year.)"

So is SuperFan discounted because you can only see half the games with the Red Zone channel?
 
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jpa25

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Aug 2, 2005
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Another $99 for HDTV.....

So $275 for Sunday ticket and another $99 if I want HDTV broadcasts? That's crazy. I was grudgingly ready to fork over the $275, expecting high def. No way I'm going to do that now. I'll spend less heading to the local bar to catch all the games.
 
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madpoet

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I had to laugh... I was just arguing with the phone rep and she kept insisting to me that the HR10-250 is an interactive receiver. I told her over and over she was wrong, so she said to prove it she would transfer me to technical support and they would make sure mine was interactive. The tech support guy comes on the phone, and when I explained the situation to him he paused and said, "Er... no it's not."
 
hancox

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Brewer4 said:
DirecTV's new SuperFan option, which will also be used on DirecTV's NCAA men's college basketball tournament coverage in March, seems custom-made for compulsive channel-surfers.

ANOTHER HD TAX??!!?? $%@#$@!#$!@#$!@#$!@#$!@#$
 
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Sean Mota

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Unfortunately as it sounds this is how capitalism works. You seek the opportunity to capitalize on those that want HD programming. This is not the end but just the beginning. You will probably see it on NBA package and Baseball package (next season). The only way to fail is for consumers to not pay for it but you and I know that is a very far away objective because there will be those that would not care about the extra pricing and would justify to themselves that they rather pay the extra and watch the games. The only way for this to go down the toilet is for E* to step up to the plate and promote the same HD package free of charge as long as one pays for just the SD package. This is the nature of the beast of how Rupert sees an opportunity to capitalize on individuals who own HDTV sets. He charges extra and fools them in believing that this is good for them.
 
hancox

hancox

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Problem is, this has only materialized on D* exclusives (NFL-ST and Mega March Madness).

Rupert's no dummy. If he pulls this with any of the others (e.g. MLB EI), it won't fly, because Charlie/cable will undercut him.
 
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bonscott87

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jpa25 said:
So $275 for Sunday ticket and another $99 if I want HDTV broadcasts? That's crazy. I was grudgingly ready to fork over the $275, expecting high def. No way I'm going to do that now. I'll spend less heading to the local bar to catch all the games.

It's $199 for returning customers, $219 early bird, $249 regular. I think the $275/9 price is with the new customer sign up where you also get TC Premier for free.

$99 for Superfan is way old news.
 
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Sean Mota

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hancox said:
Problem is, this has only materialized on D* exclusives (NFL-ST and Mega March Madness).

Rupert's no dummy. If he pulls this with any of the others (e.g. MLB EI), it won't fly, because Charlie/cable will undercut him.

I hear what you saying... I did not know March Madness was exclusive to D*. I don't care about any of those (Oops!). But best advice is to not pay for it and live without it.
 
Brewer4

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Sean Mota said:
I hear what you saying... I did not know March Madness was exclusive to D*. I don't care about any of those (Oops!). But best advice is to not pay for it and live without it.

Its not. What will make it exclusive is the fluff and stuff Rupert will add. I had it last year and was the biggest waste because of the black out rules. What happened, my local CBS affiliate multicast the regular schedule game on the second channel and the primary was an HD game not on the SD channel.

So in affect, the Mega March Madness HD game I wanted was blocked because it saw my primary SD as the same game. I was actually only able to take advantage of 3-4 HD games in the entire package and only in the first 2 rounds. The rest was a complete waste. I got a 12 month credit after complaining to get my money back. I dont think there will be anything D* could offer me to use it again. The blackout rules are killer.
 
hancox

hancox

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Agreed on the blackout rules, but MMM *IS* a D* Exclusive. You simply can't get out of market games (i.e. ones that aren't being broadcast by affiliates you receive terrestially) any other way.
 
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