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.