DIRECTV disappoints – adding only 4 HD channels

DIRECTV added 4 new HD channels yesterday but may have disappointed many customers who expected 30 new HD channels. The additions of ABC Family HD (Ch. 311), Planet Green HD (Ch. 286), Showtime Showcase HD (Ch. 541) and Showtime Extreme HD (Ch. 542) are welcome additions to the lineup but don’t bring the satellite provider’s HD offerings up to 130 as was promised.

TVPredictions.com presents the case perfectly by saying PPV channels are not HD channels. In an article today TVPredictions says “the satcaster has now borrowed from cable’s playbook and has begun calling PPV movies “channels” so it can say it has more HD channels than Verizon and Dish Network.” I like the clarification between HD channels (or networks) and HD VOD choices. VOD or PPV are obviously not channels, they are simply content titles.

While all this battling over numbers doesn’t really interest me, I do feel television providers, whether satellite, cable or fiber-optic, should be honest about their offerings. It’s not something you can exaggerate either. I mean you either have the channel or you don’t. And in the case of over-compressing video to squeeze more HD channels, you either have great quality or you don’t. The proof is clearly in the pudding.

In a bold statement last month Derek Chang, executive vice president, Content Strategy and Development, DIRECTV said, “Despite all the sound and fury of confusing HD claims from our competitors, our customers understand that DIRECTV is the destination for the most compelling and complete lineup of HD content. Our message is clear – DIRECTV is the content leader, and our delivery of the best quality HD via the most advanced technology is one way we continue to dominate this category and offer our more than 17 million customers nationwide an unparalleled entertainment experience.”

Well, I’ve had both DIRECTV and Verizon FiOS. Both offer great HD quality. DIRECTV surely wipes out Verizon in terms of HD channel selections (although look what Verizon announced in northern New Jersey) but realistically how many channels can you watch? I already have trouble squeezing my high-definition recordings on my HD DVR. I can’t imagine how much room I would have left if I had double the choices.

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3 Replies to “DIRECTV disappoints – adding only 4 HD channels”

  1. Chuck says:

    Your article doesn’t mention, so I wonder if its wideley known, that on Aug 7th the FCC ordered DirecTV to discontinue HD network feeds by Aug 15 to its customers who (at home) have access to HD local channels. This means, for people with RV’s who have invested in HD TV while on the road, and when traveling away from home (which is kinda what an RV is for), they won’t have any network HD access at all!

    What idiot thought this up I’ve no idea, DirecTV says we can only complain to feds, they won’t adjust their billing even though as far as I’m concerned I’m paying the extra money for national feeds exactly because I travel in the RV.

    Their bonehead solution is to disable the home receiver while I’m on the RV (would be oh so convenient for weekend trips), activate the RV receiver, then when get home disable the RV and activate the home receiver, and if I happen to be in Arizona or Idaho I’ll have to figure out what “local” network channels to request.

    I’ve been a DirecTV customer for over 10 years, but now apparently have to complain to my congressman/senators. Since this problem may only effect a few 10’s of thousands, perhaps not enough folks will complain, so I’ve prob lost HD on my RV unless I choose to only camp on RV within 50 or so miles of my home!

  2. Why not free up capacity by dropping SD feeds and replacing them w/ HD versions? I’m saving for a HDTV, but own a HD STB from my cable company so I’m “future-ready”. I can watch HD channels, albeit w/ pillarboxing and even windowboxing, but it the channel is still watchable.

  3. JT says:

    I really hate the “how many can you watch” comment. Until we get ala cart I want ALL channels possible, and all in HD. Then I’ll choose what to watch and what to DVR. It’s about the choices, not about watching them all at once.

    Let me dumb it down for you. I might like one set of channels, and you might like another. Since they only offer channels in packages we have to have both sets in most circumstances.

    As for DIRECTV … this was a non event. It’s as disappointing as their subpar DVR.

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