DirecTV: Get your HD and DVR together, please
DirecTV has a frustratingly incomplete news release about its new plans to deliver high-definition content, Highlights:
- New set-top boxes will be built by LG Electronics, unlike the DVR products, which are from NDS. [Update: As a mysterious commenter points out, NDS Group makes the conditional access software only, not the hardware. No word on who will make the new MPEG-4 compatible DVRs or when they will actually appear.]
- LG “has begun production of set-top boxes” for use in DirecTV’s new MPEG-4 broadcasts. The new boxes use the Broadcom “VSB” chip set and can also decode MPEG-2 SD programming and ATSC (over-the-air) digital HDTV and SD signals.
- The digital signal is locked down using “advanced security and protected digital outputs (HDMI/HDCP) with simultaneous component and composite output.” So, no, you can’t connect the digital output to your Media Center or other PVR. Sorry.
- The new set-top boxes have a USB port, but there’s no indication of what it will be used for.
There’s a lot more HD content on the horizon:
DIRECTV will launch the most dramatic expansion of programming in its history when it begins offering local broadcast channels in HD this fall in major markets throughout the United States. By 2007, DIRECTV plans to offer more than 1,500 local broadcast channels and more than 150 national channels in HD.
Without a DVR, though, why would any early adopter be interested? DirecTiVo owners won’t be able to view the new MPEG-4 content, and there’s no sign that the HD-ready DVRs from NDS will be ready until mid-2006 or later.
DirecTV’s new ad campaign is all about its DVRs. How many people are going to be disappointed when they discover that the new DVRs don’t do high-def and that the old DirecTiVos won’t tune in all those new channels?