claims that their new DirecTV 12 satellite will boost their HD
capacity by 50 percent and enable them to dish out more than 200
national HD channels and 1,500 local HD channels. DirecTV currently
offers around 130 national HD channels.
DirecTV 12 is a model
702 satellite built by Boeing in El Segundo, California. It will join
four other DirecTV satellites in broadcasting HD signals to North
America, including Hawaii and Alaska. 131 national and
spot-beam Ka-band transponders are used, while the payload includes
two 9.2-foot reflectors and nine smaller antennas.
the successful launch of our DirecTV 12 satellite, we will have the
capacity to dramatically expand HD and movie choices for our
customers and further extend our content and technology leadership,"
said Romulo Pontual, DirecTV's Chief Technology Officer.
"With a robust fleet of 11 satellites, including five
spacecraft delivering HD programming, advanced transmission and
set-top box technology, we are able to provide our customers with an
unparalleled viewing experience and maintain a significant
competitive advantage for many years to come."
DirecTV 12 is currently being maneuvered into a circular orbit at
102.8 degrees West longitude for testing. It is expected to begin
regular broadcast operations in the second quarter of 2010.
Network, DirecTV's primary competitor, recently began broadcast
operations on Nimiq 5, a Loral FS1300 satellite that uses 32
Ku-band transponders. That capacity was originally supposed
to be used by Canadian satellite TV provider Bell TV, but a last
minute deal resulted in Dish Network leasing that capacity instead.
Meanwhile, Bell TV has resorted to heavy signal compression as it
awaits the launch of a substitute satellite.
currently no plans by DirecTV
for more satellites, according to a company spokesperson.