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DirecTV’s plan to roll out an expanded package of high-definition channels will probably prod its cable-television competitors to step up their own HD efforts, a panel of industry experts said Monday.
“This could be the best thing that has happened” to the HD industry, Craig Moffett, a cable and satellite analyst with Sanford Bernstein, said at a panel held at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing conference in Washington.
DirecTV’s promotional efforts for its new package of HD channels will raise awareness for all TV providers who offer high definition, he said. That, and the increasing number of people opting to buy HD sets over traditional sets, is pushing the adoption of high-definition faster than past technologies have caught on, Mr. Moffett said.
“DirecTV is lighting a fire in cable to reconsider the pace at which they invest” in the technology, said Starz executive VP, affiliate sales and marketing, Ed Huguez at the event moderated by TelevisionWeek Publisher and Editorial Director Chuck Ross.
Cable long boasted high definition offerings that were superior to satellite’s, but DirecTV’s new package will take the crown away from cable, Mr. Moffett said.
“DirecTV will have a momentary advantage,” he said. “Cable has pissed away three years of actual advantage.”
As HD becomes commonplace, focus will shift from how many HD channels networks can put on the air to the content of those networks, said Josh Sapan, President and CEO of Rainbow Media Holdings, whose Voom service offers original HD content on multiple channels.
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