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DirecTV Adds PBS HD Channels

12/03/2008 04:02:00 PM Eastern

El Segundo, Calif. — Delivering on a previously announced arrangement with the nation’s public television stations, DirecTV said it will begin offering local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) TV stations in high definition to 14 markets across the country starting Wednesday.

DirecTV said it will continue to roll out PBS HD channels in additional local markets through the end of the year and in 2009 — ahead of the Feb. 17 digital transition deadline, when high-power analog TV broadcasting is mandated to end.

The first markets to offer PBS HD services include: Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque, Iowa; Chicago; Davenport, Iowa-Rock Island-Moline, Ill.; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.: New York; Norfolk-Newport News, Va.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas.

DirecTV and the nation’s public television broadcasters reached an agreement in late 2007 that opened the doors to DirecTV offering HD programming from local public television stations in markets where it now provides local HD channels to its customers.

DirecTV offers local HD programming in 115 markets, representing more than 87 percent of U.S. TV households.

“We applaud the cooperative effort put forth by the member stations, Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) and PBS, to ratify the digital carriage agreement that enables DIRECTV to begin delivering local public television stations in HD to our customers,” stated Derek Chang, DirecTV content strategy and development executive VP. “As the industry’s HD leader and the only satellite TV provider to offer local PBS stations in HD, we believe in delivering content that is worthy of this incredible technology. The addition of PBS’s high-quality programming to our HD lineup continues to raise the bar on the DirecTV viewing experience.”

Lonna Thompson, APTS acting president and CEO, said: “DirecTV has taken the historic step of ensuring its satellite customers have access to our stations’ local digital programming. We commend DirecTV’s leadership in serving satellite viewers.”

Under the agreement, the satellite TV provider will also carry two national, standard-definition channels of public television programming and will work with APTS and PBS stations to develop programming for DirecTV’s video-on-demand service.