There are still many unanswered questions concerning the new HD capability. Right now it looks like you will have to spend more money to be able to keep D* HD service. The new satellite service will be in the Ka band and the rumor is that many current receivers will not be compatable even if the software can be downloaded. I am interested in the Zenith SAT-520 as I have sold several of these and I'm gonna have to have an answer. Since I can't sell them a new receiver (D* has dropped all of the 3rd party licenses) I need to know where to send them, probably a lot will go to cable, if available.
Here is a reply D* is sending out for inquires about the mpeg4 service rendering current receivers obsolete:
Thanks for writing. I can assure you that DIRECTV has a strong relationship with
TiVo and we have not ended our relationship with them, no matter what you may have
heard or read. DIRECTV held a small equity stake in TiVo which we sold, but this
transaction will have no impact on customers who have (or are thinking about
getting) our DIRECTV DVR with TiVo service.
We continue to offer the DIRECTV DVR with TiVo service, and DIRECTV DVR with TiVo
receivers will still be available for purchase in standard or high definition
Our plans to utilize the MPEG-4 compression format are in the earliest stages of
development, and will take place over a period of several years. Please be assured
that your current equipment is sufficient to receive our HD programming for the
foreseeable future. Ultimately, the implementation of this technology will allow us
to offer a lot more HD programming without constantly expanding satellite capacity.
In the past, technological developments like this have sometimes warranted the need
for equipment upgrades, and DIRECTV makes every effort to provide those upgrades at
a minimal cost (and in many cases free) to our customers.
Thanks again for writing and stay tuned to DIRECTV.com -> About Us -> Headlines for
the latest news and information about our service.
DIRECTV Customer Service
Sounds like the typical D* hedge. Wonder if they will do what E* has done and come right out and say wheather the existing receivers are going to work with mpeg4 or not. Of course if they did, it might have some bearing on their receiver sales in the near term.
Wonder what they consider the forseeable future?