By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
In addition to showcasing its recently launched DirecWay high-speed Internet access service, Hughes Network Systems unveiled its next-generation lineup of DirecTV standard-definition IRDs.
Central to the new feature additions in the line is the inclusion of SRS's TrueSurround Dolby-certified technology, which enables users with only stereo-audio system installations the benefits of a faux surround sound experience from all programming delivered by the DBS provider.
The lineup departs from the previous Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers to the new Director Pack and Executive Director Pack. Both models include OneLine Guide for full-screen picture with a program guide, and zoom picture-in-guide that allows consumers to watch programming in a smaller screen format while viewing a multiple-line program guide.
Also included is a one-button access feature to the most-watched channels, pre-selection capabilities for up to 32 programs, a WatchWord function that searches for up to eight catch words with onscreen alerts and onscreen Caller ID service.
The high-end Executive Director Pack adds Dolby Digital surround sound capability via an optical output, and a joystick IR remote control. An exclusive feature, called "Advanced One-Touch Record," will let users select programs to record from the onscreen guide and have the receiver automatically find the program to record to a VCR every time it appears in the future, regardless of the time of day or channel it is on.
The Director Pack receiver will carry a $99.99 suggested retail price, and the Executive Director model will sell for $199.99. Initial shipments of both products are expected to begin in September, ramping up in volume in October.
HNS will continue to carry a range of advanced integrated IRDs, including the PlatinumHD HDTV-capable DirecTV and over-the-air DTV decoder, a combination TiVo/ DirecTV receiver and personal video recorder, and its DirecWay program of high-speed satellite Internet access systems and services.
In related news, HNS said it is now offering multicast music services from DMX/AEI Music over the DirecWay high-speed satellite Internet service. The program is designed to offer businesses cost-effective music services, the company said.
The services are offered in three packages, and businesses can choose from 15 channels of music to create a mood that is consistent with their client demographic.
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