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“Business As Usual” For DirecTV Allies

Manufacturing and service partners of DirecTV including Thomson (whose RCA brand is the largest producer of satellite set-top boxes), TiVo and Microsoft’s UltimateTV division said that until they know more about the transition they plan to take a “business as usual” approach to the announcement.

A Thomson spokesman said the company views the proposed merger as “a new opportunity” for Thomson to expand its leadership role in the production and distribution of satellite TV equipment.

Similarly, Neil Terk, CEO Terk Technologies, which has sold satellite dishes and installation accessories for both DirecTV and EchoStar systems, said he views the merger as potentially generating a lot of new business for is company.

“The question we need answered first, is how will they transition this into the marketplace,” Terk said. “If there is a transition to one standard system, then I think it would create a lot of new business for us. The bottom line is, we remain very devoted to servicing our distributors and retail partners with satellite accessories, including dishes, LNBs, multiswitches, cable and diplexers. I am very pleased that this long wait is over for the consumer, the retailer and all the people who are employed by both companies.”

Bob Perry, Mitsubishi marketing VP, whose company is a partner with DirecTV for set-top equipment, called the merger, “great news for digital television. This will allow for a stronger satellite broadcast system that will provide more varied kinds of programming as well.

“On the [transmission system] transition end, unfortunately, there is a very long-term element to this that is not going to be resolved quickly.”

Problems that will not be easily remedied, he said, include how the new company will handle customers who bought his competitors’ legacy HDTV sets that incorporated DirecTV receivers — a route Mitsubishi deliberately avoided.

“What do set makers say a couple of years from now to all those customers who purchased integrated equipment, if this merger goes forward? It is a very difficult situation.”