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DirecTV Plans Four New Satellites, 1,000+ HD Channels

El Segundo, Calif. — DirecTV intends to launch four next-generation Ka-band satellites that the company said will allow for a massive expansion in local and national high-definition (HD) channels, as well as capacity for new interactive and enhanced services and standard-definition programming.

The four satellites, launching in pairs in 2005 and 2007, will eventually give DirecTV the capacity to deliver more than 1,500 local HD channels, more than 150 national HD channels and other new programming services to every U.S. household, according to a company statement.

“We are now positioned to lead the industry in bringing new advanced television programming to consumers nationwide,” said Chase Carey, president/CEO of The DirecTV Group.

The first two satellites, Spaceway 1 and Spaceway 2, will launch in 2005 with programming being offered to consumers by the middle of the year. They will add the capacity for more than 500 local HD channels.

Two more satellites, DirecTV 10 and DirecTV 11, will launch in early 2007. These satellites will have the capacity for more than 1,000 additional local HD channels, more than 150 national HD channels and other new programming offerings, and they will expand the company’s delivery footprint to include every U.S. household.

“With the launch of local HD channels we will help advance the nation’s transition to digital television,” Mitch Stern, president/CEO of DirecTV, said. “Offering local HD channels, as well as a variety of interactive services, will strengthen our competitive position and give cable customers who have yet to switch another reason to subscribe to DirecTV.”