CES 2007: DirecTV to offer 100+ HD channels by the end of the year

Las Vegas (NV) - During a press conference at CES, DirecTV made several few announcements, including the introduction of a portable satellite system and pending agreements with new channels for HD broadcasts. By the end of the year, DirecTV will be offering more than 100 HD channels to its customers.

Without doubt the most intriguing announcement was DirecTV's portable satellite TV and receiver, which allows users to watch DirecTV programming anywhere where a signal can be received. Dubbed the SAT-GO, it is about the size of a briefcase and includes a TV monitor with iPod dock. In April, DirecTV will begin making the system available for "A-list customers", with general consumers to follow shortly thereafter.

A demonstration of the portable satellite receiver

Additionally, HD content was a big topic of the presentation. However, while many big-name cable companies are still slow on offering HD feeds of local and cable channels, DirecTV is already pursuing additional national channels to offer its programming in high definition. There are agreements, or pending agreements, in place for channels like CNN, FX, Sci-Fi, and USA to offer HD feeds to DirecTV customers, all of which are initially planned for rollout by the end of the year. According to DirecTV, the service will carry more than 100 HD channels by the close of 2007, with 70 of those being nationally broadcast channels. Currently, DirecTV has 49 channels in high-def.

One other thing briefly mentioned was the announcement of DirecTV On Demand video, which allows broadband-connected customers to download shows through a satellite or Internet connection. It also will have an interactive interface with the feel of a media center PC. A beta version will come out some time this quarter, with final rollout scheduled for the middle of the year.

An example of what the NBC On Demand menu will look like when the service launches later this year.