The battlefront for the technology-challenged satellite industry now hinges on two fronts: HD and DVR. DIRECTV is having trouble on both. A lawsuit this summer alleged that DIRECTV has dropped its data allocations to its HD channels below the ATSC standards, to the point where DIRECTV HD is not actually HD quality.
Meanwhile, the company is spinning the performance of its mediocre DVR line (and its dubious decision to abandon TiVo). Strategy is to pepper the street with long-term plans for DIRECTV On Demand, the company’s (net-dependent) VOD via DVR service. Comcast’s repsonse has been fairly candid: the DIRECTV “faux VOD” service (their term) is over a year behind. And even when launched, it will be much more complicated than what cable MSOs offer today. It will be interesting to see what Malone and co. do with this mess when thay assume control of the company from News Corp. Odds are it will be a vast improvement.