David Hill Talks HDTV at the Javits Center


Fox Sports Chairman and DirecTV Entertainment president David Hill pledged his allegiance to HDTV during the his keynote address at the inaugural HD World show in New York Wednesday, "Why HDTV is the Road to Financial Nirvana."

The gregarious Aussie entertained the crowd at the Javits Convention Center with jokes ("I have zero education. You know what kept me out of college? High school."), remembrances of the old film-based production days, and clips of Fox Sport hi-def programming played at ear-splitting volume. He also presented some research on consumer's projected adoption of HDTV and pronounced that DirecTV will be the biggest provider of HD programming in the world come mid-2007, when two new Ka-band satellites will allow it to offer 150 channels of HDTV programming.

"We have definitely drunk the HDTV Kool-Aid," says Hill, who notes that DirecTV hasn't invested billions on HDTV "because we believe HD is a passing fad." In a world of increasing competition for advertising dollars from the Internet, and competition for viewer eyeballs from sites like YouTube, HD is the way for television to protect its market share, says Hill.

Programmers have a "fiduciary duty," says Hill, to switch to HDTV as soon as possible. Since most viewers typically "graze" from a pool of 15 or so favorite channels, networks can "either go HD or simply get lost in the mix," he says.