DirecTV subscribers in 12 of the nation’s largest markets should expect local TV signals to be delivered to them in HD sometime during the second half of the year.
There is one catch: They’ll need a new dish and set-top box.
The first markets to receive local HD channels will be New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Tampa, and Washington D.C.
DirecTV will use MPEG4 compression to deliver the signals, a decision that, while enabling greater capacity, also requires new DirecTV receivers. Current receivers are MPEG2-based. The rollout is tied-in closely with the launch of four next-generation satellites that will eventually allow DirecTV to deliver more than 1,500 local HD and 150 national HD channels by 2007. DIRECTV offers local channels in standard definition in 130 markets, including these 12 markets.