DirecTV almost ready for its big HD upgrade
Over at the TiVo Community, they’ve got details on DirecTV’s plans for upgraded HD DVRs. This cheery note came from Heather in the DirecTV Customer Service Department:
Thanks for your patience while we researched this issue. We’ve got good news! We’re almost ready to begin rolling out local HD programming. We expect to be serving at least 12 cities by the end of this year (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington, D.C.). We will be adding more cities soon after these and gradually expanding our coverage to even more cities over the next two years, as we deploy new satellites that use state-of-the-art MPEG-4 technology. The local channels we offer will carry a mix of digital standard-definition and HD programming.
Customers who have DIRECTV HD equipment and want to receive local HD programming from DIRECTV will be eligible for an MPEG-4-compatible receiver replacement at no cost after we launch local HD programming in your city. (If you want to replace your HD DVR, you will need to wait a bit longer. Our new MPEG-4-compatible DIRECTV HD DVR receiver is expected to be available in early 2006, after we roll out our local HD programming to our first group of cities.)
So, the basic receiver will be a no-charge swap, but you’ll notice there’s no word on how much DirecTiVo owners will have to pay to swap boxes.
I don’t expect there will ever be a way to get HD output from a DirecTV box onto my Media Center, so for now, at least, I’ll continue to have both technologies. It will be an interesting set of choices if CableCARD for Media Center becomes available in 2006 as well.