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D* Demo's MPEG-4

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Old 01-06-2005, 12:28 PM   #1  
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Default D* Demo's MPEG-4

Satellite; Advanced Transmission and Compression Technology will Support Massive Expansion of Programming
LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 6, 2005--Continuing to establish milestones in technological achievement and advancements that enhance the television entertainment experience, DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading and fastest-growing digital television service provider today demonstrated the world's first live MPEG-4 AVC/DVB-S2 (Moving Picture Expert Group -- Advanced Video Compression/Digital Video Broadcast -- Satellite 2) high-definition (HD) transmission via satellite at the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The new standard in transmission and video compression is being demonstrated on an HD television set in the DIRECTV booth at CES, and will be used by DIRECTV to expand its video offer by launching hundreds of local and national HD channels later this year and in 2007.

"This is the most advanced transmission in the world, mapping out a bold new path for the delivery of HDTV via satellite to every consumer in America," said Romulo Pontual, executive vice president and CTO, The DIRECTV Group. "By combining this transmission technology with powerful new satellites, we are laying the foundation to make the best television experience even better."

This advanced transmission significantly reduces the amount of bandwidth required to deliver HD via satellite. DIRECTV will continue to use MPEG-2 for standard definition broadcasts and will eventually convert all existing HD customers to the new technology introduced today.

Pontual also acknowledged Tandberg, Radyne/Comstream, Conexant, Broadcom and ST Microelectronics for their support in DIRECTV's transmission enhancement initiative. As part of this initiative, DIRECTV has been working cooperatively with members of the industry toward the development of a common transmission format, contributing significantly to the Digital Video Broadcasting standard for advanced modulation and coding (DVB-S2) and the implementation of guidelines for MPEG-4 AVC.

DIRECTV announced last September plans for a dramatic expansion of local and national HD programming over the next two years via four new Ka-band satellites to support the carriage of 1,500 local and 150 CONUS HDTV channels plus other enhanced services. The satellites are now under construction and two will be launched early this year.
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Old 01-06-2005, 08:40 PM   #2  
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This would be the DirecTV story of CES would it not? Seems prior to the event, MPEG-4 looked likely but not this quickly. If all true, the focus will be on the new satellite receivers if not backwardly compatible combo units for those that want the HD Locals. Already looking forward to seeing the new designs, let's hope there's a large selection of fully capable units from a variety of manufactuers.
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Old 01-07-2005, 06:08 AM   #3  
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Too bad the new format can't be downloaded. Hopefully the new receivers that everybody will have to buy will have the capability of being updated via the satellite.
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Old 01-07-2005, 07:41 AM   #4  
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From what I've seen early this morning, it appears none (0) of the existing MPEG-2 receivers can be upgraded even physically. The only known MPEG-4 compatible device on display is the new "media center" system, just announced this week as well.

Somewhere I read a DirecTV rep saying the MPEG-4 decoder chips weren't even in full production yet, sorry I don't have those links handy but this seems to indicate there may not be much more selection when it comes to the new boxes. Not really a surprise, the choices had already been narrowed recently, based on the advantages to Direct of a controlled channel, but disapointing to a potential customer who would prefer as many receiver options as possible.

As a current cable customer who is considering DirecTV or Voom for additional programming options, seems the prudent action on my part is to hold off on any decisions until late spring or early summer, when Direct and Voom's plans become more obvious. How the two services handle the distribution of their respective new technologies and services, along with the price entry points, are still largely to be determined, although at this stage a 6 month Voom "experiment" for $1 and STB rental rather than purchasing a possibly soon to be obsolete device from Direct would would now seem to be a much safer choice, at least for the time being. If the Voom installer will show, that is, but with shakeups a plenty across the entire industry, installer availability will in all likelihood be a growing concern for all services in the coming months.
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Old 01-07-2005, 04:30 PM   #5  
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I just got off the phone with Directv technicians.

Mpeg4 is still in the works and current Directv HD customers will be able to download the new software.


I would like to know why some people think that the Directv HD system doesn't download software?
My last software update was on Nov 11 2004, added different features.

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Old 01-07-2005, 05:27 PM   #6  
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Wonder what this means?

Quote:
DIRECTV will continue to use MPEG-2 for standard definition broadcasts and will eventually convert all existing HD customers to the new technology introduced today.
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:33 AM   #7  
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Now we know what that means. From the press release posted here: DTV Announces 1st 12 Markets to Get Local Channels In HD

Quote:
Initially DIRECTV will carry each of the primary broadcast networks that offer an HD feed in the market and customers who subscribe to a local channel package will receive both the standard and HD signal. HD local programming will be received via a single dish -- slightly larger than the current standard dish -- and customers will require new HD set top boxes due to new compression technology.
So it seems as though D* has missled telling people can download new software. And to boot they will need a new dish.
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Old 01-14-2005, 11:25 AM   #8  
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Does this mean that if I shell out $1000.00 for the HR10-250 receiver and D* changes to the new MPEG-4 decoder this unit would be for all intents & purposes obsolete?
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:01 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gakman
Does this mean that if I shell out $1000.00 for the HR10-250 receiver and D* changes to the new MPEG-4 decoder this unit would be for all intents & purposes obsolete?
DIRECTV will upgrade all HD MPEG-2 equipment to the new MPEG-4 standard once they complete the roll out of MPEG-4.

For the first 6-8 months DIRECTV plans to simulcast MPEG2 and MPEG-4. So no one will be out of service.

-Robert
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:19 PM   #10  
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Great a dealer. Thanks for weighing in on this question.

Can you tell us if all of the 3rd party receivers will be upgraded by D*, or will it only be the receivers bought through D* sales channels?

As an example of my concern, we have sold many Zenith SAT520's over the years. Will D* upgrade these? Even though we are a LG dealer (formally Zenith) I have not gotten a solid answer on this question. So far what I have heard is the Zenith, Sony and others that were not purchased through D* dealers will not be upgraded and D* has taken LG out of the receiver business as far as 3rd party sales is concerned, so I don't expect LG to upgrade any existing units.

We have a marketing relationship with a commercial D* dealer (as opposed to residential) here in Houston and they haven't gotten an answer either. The commercial side (restaurants, sports bars, etc.) have not been a high demand for HDTV in the past, so that division is not real hip on HD in many cases.

I don't mind having to sell a new receiver to these folks at all, but I am just trying to get prepaired for what approach to take.
Any info you have will be appreciated.

Last edited by rbinck; 01-16-2005 at 12:21 PM..
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Old 01-17-2005, 08:26 PM   #11  
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Robert where you getting that info from about they will upgrade all the MPEG2 HD boxes?
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:08 PM   #12  
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Here's an Email I received from one of the higher ups at D* when inquiring about MPEG-4 for locals and current MPEG-2 receivers vs MPEG-4:

Mike,

You did read our announcement correctly. When we begin transmitting in MPEG4 new reception equipment will be required; thus you may want to hold off purchasing an HD DVR receiver until we begin selling one that will receive the MPEG4 transmission. For customers who have purchased an HD Tivo receiver we will have an equipment replacement offer available; we have not yet finalized what that offer will be. As for your dish, you will only need one dish to receive the local HD channels as well as standard-definition programming.

Thanks

Bob


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Vice President, Communications
DIRECTV, Inc.
310 726-4656
[email protected]
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Old 01-20-2005, 04:35 PM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sole_Survivor
Robert where you getting that info from about they will upgrade all the MPEG2 HD boxes?
He attended the CES show in Las Vegas this year! He's got some awesome picks on his website!
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Old 02-17-2005, 05:18 PM   #14  
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Well, it looks like current HD customers will NOT have to buy a new box to view the MPEG4, they're all getting new boxes.
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Old 02-17-2005, 06:20 PM   #15  
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That's good and bad news. The good news is they will provide a new box, I guess. I still don't have a definite answer on 3rd party sales. The bad news is I will have a lot of mad customers that currently have Zenith SAT-520s who will end up with some other box. Lots of reprogramming of the remote controls.
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