DirecTV to Launch New Satellites, More Than 1500 New Channels Capacity

DirectTV have announced that they will be launching four new satellites with the capacity for a huge number of new channels – bringing more than 1500 high-definition channels to the American public.

The first two satellites, Spaceway 1 and Spaceway 2, will launch in 2005, to broadcast programming by the end of the year. I can’t believe that someone got the opportunity to name two space vehicles and gave them such crappy names – my respect for rocket scientists or at least their marketing departments has just plummeted, like a solar probe with a poorly-designed parachute deployment system.

The satellites will have capacity for more than 500 local high definition channels, bringing localised HD content to most of the US population. They will also expand on standard definition offings and bring other enhancements.

The other two satellites (DirectTV 10 and DirectTV 11 (Grrrrr!), will launch in early 2007 and have the capacity to unleash more than 1,000 additional local HD channels, 150 national channels and other unspecified programme offerings. These satellites, built by Boeing, will reach every US household and will be amongst the largest and most powerful Ka-band satellites ever lauched.

Mitch Stern, president and CEO, DirecTV said: “Today’s announcement is one of the most significant in the history of DirecTV. We are reinforcing our commitment to best serve our customers with the most attractive and compelling array of programming services available. Furthermore, with the launch of local HD channels we will help advance the nation’s transition to digital television.”

Good news then for Michael Powell, who has committed to a 2009 deadline for the USA’s analogue switch-off.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?