By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Despite the apparent failure of their planned merger, the nation's two direct broadcast satellite operators should continue to use HDTV as a critical tool in drawing new subscribers from their cable competitors.
Though slowed by their merger setback, DirecTV and EchoStar both say they will continue to push the envelope on delivery of new digital services, even as their cable competition announces multichannel HDTV services in many markets.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.
The nation's two direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers reported continued subscriber gains for the first quarter of 2001, although churn took a nip out of net totals for DirecTV.
EchoStar reported strong subscriber growth, as the Dish Network added about 460,000 net new subscribers. Cumulative totals for Dish at the end of Q1 registered approximately 5.72 million subscribers, for a 48 percent increase over the 3.9 million subscribers at the end of March 2000.
Demonstrating its willingness to take on multiple service platforms, Best Buy said it has signed on as the only national electronics chain to carry satellite-based broadband Internet equipment and services for Hughes Network Services' (HNS) DirecPC system.
Recent passage in Congress of new satellite legislation helped to thwart a growing war between broadcasters and satellite providers, but the compromises reached ultimately left both sides less than fully satisfied.
On Dec. 31, 2004, the 1999 version of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA) was scheduled to terminate. But on Nov. 20, Congress renewed the legislation's most critical provisions under a new measure called the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA).
Within the next two to three years, direct-to-home satellite subscribers could have access to all of their area's local digital TV broadcasts via their satellite service.
Local TV On Satellite (LTVS), a company majority owned by Capitol Broadcasting of Raleigh, N.C., is making "great progress" in laying the groundwork to provide a local digital TV service platform that both DirecTv and EchoStar could make available to their customers, according to LTVS chief operation officer John Hutchinson.
For the past several years, the satellite television industry has been experiencing exponential growth. With the passage of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA) into law late last year, consumers in rural, suburban and urban areas have been flocking to satellite as never before.
Soliciting grassroots support for their prosposed merger, EchoStar and DirecTV recently reached out to consumers through a local information campaign.
The effort focused on a series of media events they will stage throughout the country in coming weeks, to play up the benefits the satellite providers say the proposed $26 billion deal will bring to end users.
The first leg of the campaign targeted Green Bay, Wis., Helena, Mont., and Salt Lake City.
In a recent online survey, more than three-fourths of consumers said they would rather receive 3D content via their cable or satellite provider compared with those respondents who prefer Blu-ray/DVD, which was the second choice overall.
The second annual 3D study, which was conducted by Quixel Research, surveyed 1,000 HDTV owners online to quantify as well as qualify their opinions on 3D technology.
In August of 1976, Taylor Howard built the first private satellite television system.
Twenty-six years later, nearly 20 million American homes enjoy the value and quality that only satellite technology can provide.
Taylor Howard applied science to a vision and created an industry.
Cablevision's recently announced deal with Sony to develop and build interactive digital cable devices (TWICE, September 20, p. 58) is in part aimed at stemming the momentum of the home satellite industry and will likely tap the skills of retailers to get the message out to consumers.