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DirecTV Satellite To Boost HD Channels

El Segundo, Calif. — DirecTV said Thursday that it will expand its HD offerings to 150 national channels and provide local network broadcasts to 100 markets in September, following the successful launch Wednesday of its DirecTV 11 satellite.

The satellite was launched successful from the Pacific Ocean-based Sea Launch platform late Wednesday, after a slight delay to correct a potential operational anomaly. The satellite service’s 10th owned and operated satellite will be maneuvered into a circular orbit at 99.2 degrees when tests are completed, the company said. DirecTV plans to launch another satellite in 2009 that will enable the service to provide up to 200 national HD channels.

Earlier in the week, DirecTV’s direct broadcast satellite rival Dish Network was not as fortunate when a problem in the launch of a new satellite it intended to use to expand service failed to reach its orbital slot as planned.

However, Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen said the service had contingency plans in place and will be ramping up HD services as planned.