DISH Network announced some significant enhancements to their HD offering, including “…becoming the first in the industry to offer high definition programming in 1080p, the highest and best HD resolution available.” DISH also says they will have 150 HD channels live on their system by the end of the year, starting with the availability of 17 new HD nets on August 1. DISH is obviously trying to catch up with their chief rival, DirecTV, who has done a decent job of establishing themselves as the premier HD service provider. If DISH delivers on all of these promises, they will surpass DirecTV and their cable and telcoTV competitors with more HD options and features (at least temporarily).
The 1080p feature will only be available on MPEG-4 HD DVR receivers. It remains to be seen if this advantage can translate into tangible subscriber additions (and defections from competitors), since the average consumer probably doesn’t understand the difference between 1080p and 720p. DISH will have to do a fairly decent marketing job to get people to notice and understand the difference. But give them credit for trying something. DISH has seen its fair share of competitive challenges recently. They also experienced an HD setback through the loss of a satellite earlier this year. They’ve apparently managed not to let that set back materially impact their HD efforts. DISH also reiterated their new all HD programming package, labeled TurboHD, which is priced at $25/month. Will these moves help DISH recover from their recent underwhelming growth results?