In the battle for subscriber supremacy, DIRECTV has upped the ante in the high definition arena.
DIRECTV pres and CEO Chase Carey said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas on Monday that virtually all of the popular channels on DIRECTV currently available in standard definition will also be transmitted in high definition by the end of this year. DTV already carries a lot of HD programming, but this move means over 100 new channels including CNN, The Weather Channel, USA, TBS and even the Food Network.
The move comes shortly on the heels of the news that News Corp's Rupert Murdoch, who owns 39% of DIRECTV has decided to hand over control to his arch rival John Malone of Liberty Media. A move that literally stunned insiders.
In order to accomplish this monumental task of transmitting so much programming in HD, DTV is going to have to invest heavily into new technology that can accommodate the bandwidth. Our guess is that they will be switching over to MPEG-4 compression, which will probably cause a boat-load of problems with legacy systems. (in other words, the receivers already out there).
Its a bold move to put this much faith into the high definition gimmick. Just remember that just because something may be transmitted in HD, it doesn't necessarily mean that the quality of the programming has improved, just the quality of the broadcast. No matter how hard you work, you can't polish a turd.