DirecTV beefs up high-definition roster to 72 channels
subscribers now can buy access to 72 high-definition channels.
The California-based company issued a statement yesterday updating progress toward its goal of offering 100 high-definition channels to its 16.3 million customers by the end of the year.
Its Hawaii-market competition, Colorado-based DISH Network, advertises 38 national HD channels on its Web site. Oceanic Time Warner Cable's 21-channel HD tier includes local network affiliates with the exception of CBS affiliate KGMB-TV.
For $9.99 a month, high-def viewing on DirecTV can be added to service packages beginning with the one that costs $44.99 a month, which will give viewers "the bulk of" DirecTV's HD channels, said Robert Mercer, public relations director.
"But there are like, half-a-dozen channels that are in what we call the DirecTV HD Extra Pack, which costs an additional $4.99 per month."
The charge is separate because HDNet, HDNet Movies, Universal HD, MHD, Smithsonian HD and MGM HD do not have standard-definition counterparts, he said.
A few channels on DirecTV's list appear twice, reflecting separate channels for East Coast and West Coast feeds of Cinemax, HBO and Starz, for instance.
Oceanic doesn't cover the nation, and needn't devote separate channels for a provider's East- and West-coast feeds, said President Nate Smith.
It is planning to expand to 30 HD channels by the end of this year and up to 50 next year.
Fox Business digital-only
Oceanic was among the cable operators that added Fox Business Network upon its debut yesterday.
The News Corp. business channel went live as planned at 5 a.m. Eastern time yesterday and tracked business news throughout the day.
The Hawaii debut was statewide, but the channel that promises to "demystify" business news for average investors will be available for Oceanic's digital subscribers only, on Channel 108 on Oahu.
Its main competitor CNBC, owned by General Electric Co. and aimed more at a sophisticated Wall Street audience, is available to all Oceanic subscribers.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org