New York — DirecTV launched its MPEG-4 high-definition video service in the New York City area, as part of a dozen early markets across the country that will implement the new equimpement by year’s end.
DirecTV’s new system, which will be used initially to carry top local broadcast channels in high definition, uses MPEG-4 AVC which will enable adding twice as many standard- and high-definition channels to new and existing satellites.
DirecTV will carry each of the four primary broadcast networks that offer an HD feed in the market. Customers who subscribe to a programming package that includes local channels will receive both the standard and HD signals at no extra monthly charge.
DirecTV offers local HD broadcast channels in 12 cities and plans to launch an additional 24 cities early next year, the company said.
Customers can receive New York local HD channels by purchasing a new H20 HD receiver and a satellite dish that has the ability to receive programming from five different orbital locations.
DirecTV is offering new and existing non-HD customers who purchase a DirecTV HD receiver a $200 mail-in rebate (limited to one per customer). Receiving equipment is available at major consumer electronics retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City and through DirecTV.
The company said that existing DirecTV customers do not need to upgrade their HD equipment initially since existing MPEG-2 receivers will continue to receive local HD broadcasts for an undisclosed period.