El Segundo, Calif. — In a surprisingly low-key acknowledgement, direct-to-home satellite TV provider DirecTV said it is offering FOX Network’s major league baseball playoff-coverage in high-definition format and will offer the network’s upcoming World Series coverage in high-definition, as well.
“For the ALCS/NLCS playoffs, we offered the local FOX feeds in HD (New York and Los Angeles) on Channels 88 and 89,” said Robert Mercer, a DirecTV spokesman. “The same will hold true for the World Series.”
The company is offering only FOX’s baseball coverage in high-definition, he said, adding that no plans have been announced to carry the network’s New York and Los Angeles digital broadcast stations full time, as it currently does for the CBS and NBC networks.
The HD baseball coverage, and CBS and NBC distant network HD channels, are only available to DirecTV subscribers who live in markets covered by an affiliate that is owned-and-operated by the FOX Network. Subscribers are also eligible for the HD broadcasts if they qualify as distant network (so-called white-area) subscribers.
All eligible viewers also must subscribe to a local station package, a distant network package or DirecTV’s HDTV package to receive the HD baseball telecasts. They must also have equipment necessary to receive and display high-definition signals.
DirecTV mentioned earlier in the year that it planned to carry FOX HD channels in its distant network services after the network began high-definition television broadcasts, which started with the kickoff of the 2004 NFL season. But no formal announcements have been made.
Mercer said he did not know why DirecTV didn’t promote the HD baseball playoff coverage more heavily. FOX Network is owned by News Corp., which also has controlling interest in DirecTV.