In the year since News Corp. won control of it, DirecTV has taken off like a rocket. Now it plans to import a bundle of interactive features from its British cousin, BSkyB. The trick will be to stay ahead of cable. Link: FORTUNE. Thanks to informitv.com. --Dennis
DirecTV is preparing to offer a digital video recorder (DVR) service in mid-2005 that could duplicate virtually every feature now available from current partner TiVo, plus provide video on demand similar to what's offered on cable, say executives of the company preparing the software. ...¶... [Abe] Peled [, CEO of NDS Group] says that a big selling point for his DVR is in the way it handles pay-per-view (PPV). With TiVo, users must agree to pay for a PPV movie before recording it for subsequent viewing. But the NDS system will enable DirecTV to signal a user's DVR to record several movies, making each available for viewing at any time. ... Link: USATODAY.com.
The digital television revolution is set to be led by Freeview rather than Sky, according to a report by the UK’s biggest media agency buying group. ¶ OMD’s media negotiating company, Opera, claims in its forecasts for 2005 that Freeview will be in more homes than Rupert Murdoch’s satellite giant by the end of next year and will come to dominate the DTV market in years to come. ...¶... With free-to-air digital box sets available in the shops for as little as £30, Opera predicts a major shift in the order of supremacy, forecasting that Freeview will be in 10 million homes by the end of 2006 – five years ahead of Sky. ... Link: Media Week.
Starting March of next year VOOM will expand its current 39 high-definition channels to more than 70 high-definition channels covering the full continental U.S. ¶ "The increase in VOOM's HDTV channels from 39 to more than 70 will allow us to continue to provide more high-definition video services than any other cable or satellite provider," said Tom Dolan, CEO of Rainbow Media Enterprises. "Our plan is to simultaneously add nearly 200 standard definition channels." Mr. Dolan continued. ... Link: Designtechnica News.
EchoStar has reported that its DISH Network satellite television service added approximately 350,000 net new subscribers during the third quarter of 2004, bringing the total number to 10.475 million, with total revenue up 28 percent. ... Link: informitv.
Weather-related reception problems were ranked as the top reason satellite users would consider switching from satellite to cable TV, according to Relishing the Dish: A Satellite-TV User Survey, the latest report from DTV View. Commonly called rain fade, rain or snow may interrupt satellite-TV reception. Viewing TV without rain fade is cited as the biggest inducement for subscribers to make the switch to cable-TV service... DTVView link
BSkyB has launched a free digital satellite TV service which offers 140 channels for a one-off fee of £150. ¶ The service, Freesat from Sky, is being seen by many as an attempt to rival the success of Freeview, the equivalent service for digital terrestrial TV. ... BBC link
Concerned that the DTV carriage discussions being batted around Washington have concentrated more on cable than DBS, DirecTV recently visited the FCC to make its voice heard. "[The] focus has been on carriage requirements for cable systems," DirecTV said in its FCC presentation Oct 8. There is "only a brief mention" of DBS in the FCC's notice of proposed rulemaking, it added. ¶ The Commission is expected to issue a final decision on dual must carry and multicasting by year-end. Broadcasters are pushing hard for a multicasting requirement, announcing plans to launch local weather and news services with their extra digital space. Cable doesn't want to be forced to carry the streams. Neither does DirecTV. ... Americas Network link
There are advantages for cable programmers exploring new platforms for their content but they need to be aware of potential hurdles. ¶ The emergence of broadband, wireless, on-demand and other digital technologies require programmers to determine the best mix of resources to allocate across traditional and emerging distribution platforms (see Exhibit 1). Select cable programmers are exploring a number of effective approaches. ... Yankee Group link
Interactive Program Guides (IPGs) are becoming the entertainment portal for TV viewers, and In-Stat/MDR expects the worldwide IPG market value to grow to nearly $1 Billion (US) by 2008. The high-tech market research firm reports that IPGs will be the "killer application" for enhanced interactive television services. IPGs will help end-users to find a TV program, movie or sporting event from among listings of thousands of available options, and then make it easy for them to select the program for viewing, tag it with a reminder for later, or even set up a recording to capture the show for time-shifting on a Personal Video Recorder. ... In-Stat/MDR link