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DirecTV To Carry PBS HD Channels

El Segundo, Calif. — DirecTV said it has reached an agreement today with the Association of Public Television Stations and the Public Broadcasting Service to offer public television stations in high definition to DirecTV customers across the country, starting next year.

Under the deal, DirecTV viewers will have access to the digital stations of public broadcast stations in markets where DirecTV carries local HDTV service. In addition, DirecTV subscribers will have access to other public television content through video-on-demand offerings, DirecTV said.

DirecTV said it will roll out the local HD feeds of public television stations beginning in 2008.

DirecTV currently offers local HD programming in 68 markets, representing more than 72 percent of U.S. TV households.

The terms of the 10-year deal were unanimously approved by the APTS Board of Trustees yesterday and are pending approval by the PBS board of directors. The agreement must be ratified by local public television stations.

DirecTV, APTS and PBS also will work together to develop new video on demand offerings to make available local and national public television programming to DirecTV’s customers anytime.

DirecTV will also carry two national standard-definition channels of public television programming.

“This agreement is the result of a cooperative effort that will utilize innovative technology to deliver the highest quality local content to DirecTV viewers,” stated Chase Carey, DirecTV president and CEO. “DirecTV is committed to offering the best HD programming lineup available, and we are delighted to begin carrying programs of the caliber of “The NewsHour,” “Frontline,” “NOVA,” “American Masters,” the “American Experience” and award-winning children’s programming in this visually compelling format.”

“This is a forward-looking, innovative agreement for the digital age. It means the great HD programming from PBS and local public television stations will be available to DirecTV customers in every market where DirecTV carries any local HD,” stated APTS president and CEO John Lawson. “We will also work together to make available a vast library of on demand content from local public television stations across the country.”