Las Vegas — Are you a huge fan of the gritty police drama, “The Shield”? If so, for $2.99 beginning in March, you can beat your neighbors to the punch at the water cooler after you watch a pre-air broadcast of the FX Network show.
“The Shield,” “Rescue Me” and other FX Network shows will air 24 to 48 hours before their regularly scheduled times via DirecTV. This was just one of the new features DirecTV, the No. 1 satellite TV service, unveiled at a press conference, here. The announcement was made by News Corp. president Peter Chernin (News Corp is the parent company of DirecTV, the FOX Network and other media properties). Chernin waxed poetic about CES, saying for the first time, “The content and consumer electronics industries are finally coming together.”
Along with FX pre-air programming, DirecTV subscribers can also watch five series from the FOX Broadcasting for 99 cents each, six to seven days following their national airing. This feature will be available later this year.
In March, DirecTV will also offer viewers the opportunity to download shows from NBC Networks for 99 cents commercial free. Consumers can choose from shows on NBC, USA, Sci-Fi and Bravo networks. In order to access this content from Fox and NBC, subscribers will need the new DirecTV PlusDVR.
At a wide-ranging new conference, DirecTV president Chase Carey reported his company is making excellent progress on the financial front, has launched three satellites for additional capacity — particularly for HD programming — started broadcasting high-definition locals to 16 select markets, introduced a new line of MPEG-4 receivers as well as signed with XM Satellite Radio to deliver 70 music channels.
In late November, DirecTV began beaming local HD stations to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and San Francisco. They were followed by Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington. The company expects to be in 36 markets by midyear, covering almost 60 percent of U.S. TV households. The company delivers local feeds of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.
Later in 2006 Carey said the satellite service would start DirecTV2Go, a new service that lets consumers transfer programming from their DirecTV Plus DVR to portable media players from Humax, Thomson and Polaroid. The players have 20GB HDD and 4-inch LCD screens.