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100 HD Channels, Who's Counting?

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Old 07-13-2008, 01:06 PM   #1  
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Default 100 HD Channels, Who's Counting?

100 HD Channels, Who’s Counting?
Scott Greczkowski

July 11, 2008

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Today in the Satellite world a lot of folks are not talking about the new iPhone but they are talking about yesterdays bug announcement of the new 17 HD channels announced and the new TurboHD packages from Dish Network.

Yesterday’s press release seemed to create as much confusion as it did excitement. Since the press release came out I have been flooded with emails from readers asking me if their bill is going up. I am going to try to answer with what I know, I know if I am wrong someone from Dish Network will contact me and correct me.

Is your bill going up? The answer to that is no! The confusion of everything is the announcement of Dish Networks new TurboHD packages. These packages are HD ONLY packages and at this time are meant for new Dish Network customers.

If you are a Dish Network customer now with standard definition service and want to add HD it’s an additional $10 a month for the general HD services. If you want the additional 7 niche HD channels (such as Universal HD, World Fishing Network HD, HDNet Movies, etc.) its an additional $10 a month. This is what the pricing is currently, and it is what it will cost in August.

For those who currently subscribe to the Dish Absolute package (which is an HD only package which gives you all of Dish’s HD channels) you will be grandfathered in that package and at that price until next year.

In Dish Networks press release they boasted the fact they are the first provider with 100 national HD channels, but I personally don’t buy this since no Dish Network customer can call up and subscribe and see all 100 HD channels. And to make matters worse a number of Dish Network’s “National HD Channels” are regional sports networks, but these are not even full time channels, these are “select game-time only HD broadcasts” from where I sit to call them channels and include them in the channel count is just wrong.

So how many national HD channels does Dish Network and DirecTV have today?

According to my count Dish Network currently has 41 and DirecTV has 45. These are channels which anyone can pick up anywhere in the USA.

If we add in premium channels such as HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz then the numbers look like this. DirecTV 60 and Dish Network 47. (This is not including the 13 premium services Dish will be adding on August 1st bringing them to tie DirecTV at 60)

In the PPV field Dish Network has 5 HD PPV channels (7 if you have a Dish which is aimed at the 129 orbital location), while DirecTV dominates the field with 13 HD PPV channels.

In the regional sports network department DirecTV again dominates the field with 11 24/7 HD RSN channels, while Dish Network currently has zero. In the game time only HD RSN count DirecTV has 28 and Dish Network has 33.

So where do they count 100 HD channels? And if they are advertising 100 national HD channels why can’t anyone subscribe to all 100 HD channels?

We also need to remember that in reality Dish is only adding 2 new national HD channels as Dish removed 15 of the VOOM HD Networks channels from their lineup. None of these new channels being offered have the true 24/7 all HD content that the VOOM channels had. Some folks are still missing the VOOM channels for that very reason.

Sure the 100 number sounds great, but I won’t believe it until I see 100 channels in my guide that I can actually tune to. Numbers are supposed to be absolute, but as you see in these counts that the numbers just don’t add up.
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:22 PM   #2  
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Good article. I am sure most of you will comment on his general theme of how companies count and what should be counted. Or the fact that most subs don't care about the total number of HD stations, they only care about the number of of HD stations within their particular subscription package and the quality of those stations.

I do want to focus on this one point about the RSNs.
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In Dish Networks press release they boasted the fact they are the first provider with 100 national HD channels, but I personally don’t buy this since no Dish Network customer can call up and subscribe and see all 100 HD channels. And to make matters worse a number of Dish Network’s “National HD Channels” are regional sports networks, but these are not even full time channels, these are “select game-time only HD broadcasts” from where I sit to call them channels and include them in the channel count is just wrong.
There is a difference between the way Direct counts their 95 HD channels and the way Dish counts their soon to be 100 HD channels. That is, Direct does not count their part time game only HD RSNs and Dish does count them.

But, Direct does count their full time HD RSNs. Scott says they should not count because, these are not channels in which anyone can pick up anywhere in the USA. This however is simply false. Any Direct sub can watch any out of market full time HD RSN pretty much 24/7 (only will be blacked out when ones home team is being broadcast on another RSN). The sports pack and/or premium package gets you access to all of these RSNs with pro games blacked out. These blackouts can be avoided with individual sports packages such as EI. In a sense, every single sub can watch every out of market RSN full time on Direct if they are willing to pay. This is still national.

What needs to be done IMO, is that both or all TV providers need to use the same standard of counting. When both Direct and Dish use the same standards, the actual number of HD channels on each is much closer, with Direct getting a slight edge (even after the addition of the 17 new stations).
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:55 PM   #3  
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A reintroduction of voom will bring dish back to its hdtv leader status (lame standard of counting not withstanding)...hopefully new satellites for dish will keep this war going.
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:10 PM   #4  
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A reintroduction of voom will bring dish back to its hdtv leader status (lame standard of counting not withstanding)...hopefully new satellites for dish will keep this war going.
Yep...This competition is good for both sides.
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Old 07-13-2008, 04:26 PM   #5  
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also remember all the hd channels that direct has for the sports subcriptions. mlb, nfl, nba, nhl. these ain't fulltime channels but they are hd.
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:50 PM   #6  
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also remember all the hd channels that direct has for the sports subcriptions. mlb, nfl, nba, nhl. these ain't fulltime channels but they are hd.
Direct does not count them as part of their "official" 95 total National HD channels. They are simply simulcast of broadcast from other channels.
Although they do still take up Conus bandwidth.
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