Market Insight

DirecTV launches Direct-12

January 18, 2010

Daniel Simmons Daniel Simmons Executive Director, Enterprise & Residential Communications Technology, IHS Markit

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Satellite pay TV operator DirecTV launched its most recent satellite, the DirecTV-12 high-definition television broadcasting satellite on 28 December 2009. The satellite will be co-located with two of the network's other satellites, SPACEWAY-1 and DirecTV-10, at 102.8 degrees west, and will provide coverage throughout the USA. The new satellite is expected to begin operations early in the second quarter of 2010. DirecTV-12 carries 131 Ka-band transponders and is designed to operate for 15 years. The launch of Direct-12 completes DirecTV's phased expansion of high-definition television service to U.S. households.

The new satellite will boost DIRECTV's HD capacity by 50 percent, to more than 200 HD channels. The network now has 12 satellites in orbit over America, 5 of which broadcast HD TV signals and Direct-12 is the 11th satellite owned and operated by DirecTV.

 

DirecTV is the market leader in Pay HD TV subscribers as of Q3 2009. The launch of their latest satellite will strengthen their offering by expanding the number of services they can provide. This should allow them to maintain market leadership. By 2013 DirecTV will be required to provide an HD version of all SD channels if local networks request it. The extra capacity provided by Direct-12 will partly be used to satisfy this requirement. As well as expanding the network's HD offering, the extra capacity will be needed for the 3 full HD 3DTV channels it plans to launch in June 2010. The network announced a deal with RealD at CES 2010 to work on support for the RealD 3D format. It will be the first to launch broadcast 3D TV, followed by ESPN and later by an unnamed, dedicated 3D network to be launched by Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX in 2011.

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