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Judge Halts DirecTV HD Ads

Feb 8, 2007  •  Post A Comment

A judge has ordered DirecTV to cease running two national ads that claim the satellite provider offers a superior HD service to Time Warner’s.
The move blocks DirecTV from running the televised and online ads in Time Warner’s markets until the outcome of the cable operator’s lawsuit against the satellite provider has been decided.
Last December, Time Warner sued DirecTV for false advertising due to a series of ads featuring Jessica Simpson and William Shatner that claimed DirecTV has a better HD picture than cable. The suit requests unspecified damages and that DirecTV halt ads touting HD superiority.
Federal District Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York ruled that Time Warner’s case was strong enough to warrant an early ruling blocking DirecTV from running the comparative ads.
However, Ms. Swain also ruled that DirecTV can still claim to offer an overall better picture quality than Time Warner, just not a better HD picture quality. Ms. Swain rejected Time Warner’s request that DirecTV run corrective ads as well.
In response to the ruling, a DirecTV spokesman released a statement: “Of course, Time Warner will attempt to spin this preliminary ruling as a victory, but essentially all they have done, by wasting legal fees and management resources, is to obtain an order which stops us from running two spots in their local markets that finished their flights nearly two months ago … we can continue to aggressively market our better overall picture quality, which is permitted by the court’s opinion, and soon we will have far more HD capacity than cable. It’s obvious their strategy is to fight with us in the courts since they can’t compete with our superior product in the marketplace-we are confident we will prevail on both fronts.”
DirecTV has come under fire during the past couple of years for its HD picture quality and services, which some have claimed is inferior to other services due to the satellite provider’s crunched bandwidth. The satellite provider plans to launch at least one satellite this year to help add more HD channels.

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