Wednesday, February 22, 2006

DirectTV Broadband Video Planned for Q4

DirectTV is preparing to launch a Broadband Video by the end of the year that would deliver content-on-demand to a DVR. Hundreds of hours of popular content would be available for download via satellite, and thousands of hours would be available for download via broadband over the Internet. All content would be under DirecTV control. The initial content library is expected to contain over 2,000 videos. Speaking at an investor conference, company officials said a large number of their customers already had a broadband service from another provider. DirecTV is considering investing in its own broadband wireless distribution network if necessary.

DirecTV currently has over 15 million customers, 2.5 million DVRs in service and one million HD customers. The company added 1.2 million net subscribers in 2005, down from 1.2 million net subscribers in 2004.

Subscriber acquisition costs remain at $642 ($272 for hardware, $167 for installation, $153 for dealer commission and $50 for marketing).

By the end of 2007, DirecTV will have 11 of its own satellites in service, providing it with the capacity of 3,200 channels, including 1,650 HD channels (mostly Ka-band). This will enable 150 national HD channels and local HD programming in nearly all markets across the country.

A revamped program guide and user interface will launch in 2007.

Some expected technical innovations will include "DIRECTV TO GO" content transfer capability to DVRs, portable media players and other devices; a DirecTV tuner for Media Center PCs and Intel Viiv platforms, and media extender functionality via Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) devices.

DirecTV is also working in improved return-channel capability via powerline technologies in the home. Another expected innovation is a hard drive expansion option for existing DVRs.

See also