Leapfrogging Our Way to HDTV….

The satellite industry is getting exciting again, says Scott Greczkowski over at MultiChannel News:

On Monday DirecTV announced that by the end of the year they would be carrying 130 national HD channels and would also be offering 1080p HD moves by the end of the year.

This morning Dish Network played a game of leapfrog with DirecTV by announcing that by the end of the year they will have 150 HD channels and in addition they will be offering customers full 1080p movies in August….

 Dish Network will beat DirecTV to the 1080p race by offering their customers the movies “I am Legend” in 1080 and I am told the quality will be comparable to Blu-ray. Dish Network surprised me by announcing all of it’s MPEG4 HD DVR’s would be upgraded (or “Turbo Charged”) via a software download in August to be able to display 1080p.  I personally thought that in order to see these resolutions a customer would need a new receiver such as the upcoming Dish Network 722k MPEG4 HD DVR that will be available to customers later this year.  This surprise announcement shows me how well thought out the Dish Network receivers really are, as I never expected them to be able to support 1080p resolutions.

In addition, the direct-broadcast satellite operator is debuting TurboHD, three all-HD programming packages. The three TurboHD tiers are: Bronze ($24.99/month for more than 40 channels), Silver ($32.99/month for more than 50 channels) and Gold ($39.99/month for more than 55 HD channels).

Dish said it has the capacity to offer up to 150 HD channels with the July 16 launch of its Echo XI satellite, which Rocco blogged about here.


DISH is calling their rapid move to 1080p "the biggest HD upgrade in history," which follows DirecTV’s assertion just days ago that they remain the leader in delivering HD.  

When the war of words and rhetoric heats up between the two biggest satellite TV providers in the US, you know that will be good news for consumers.