According to Advanced Television, satellite TV leader DIRECTV has reemphasized its commitment to the development of Ultra-HDTV transmissions. These next generation transmissions are due to start hitting the satellite airwaves within the next four years. DIRECTV expects to convert its current standard-definition Ku-Band signals to U-HDTV by 2016.

In addition, DIRECTV plans to convert all of its standard-definition transmissions to HDTV. Ceasing standard-def broadcasts will free up some of the satellite spectrum for more Ultra-HDTV in 20 million DIRECTV subscriber homes.

The plan for DIRECTV is to have the U-HDTV signals ready to go when the prices of Ultra-HDTV sets goes down. Currently, those particular televisions are around $20,000, but a regular HDTV ran about that in 1998. The prediction is that those prices will go down and more consumers who want the latest technology will want Ultra-HDTV broadcasts to go with their new high-quality sets. DIRECTV is also banking on the fact that U-HDTV will become the standard going forward.

In the UK, Sky-D is also following the same plan.

DIRECTV is currently the leader among satellite TV companies, with more subscribers than DISH, and only behind Comcast in pay TV subscriptions across the United States. DIRECTV’s current advantage is a broader channel lineup than other satellite providers and the exclusive rights to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET package. Coincidentally, that contract with the NFL ends in 2016. Could the move to have U-HDTV in place by then be a way to compensate for possibly losing NFL SUNDAY TICKET or at least the exclusive rights to the Sunday game day NFL package?

DIRECTV’s high profit margin also allows for the development of more technologies than other cable and satellite providers. The company has long been a leader in satellite TV.

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