DISH Networks announced a series of deals for HD, including a partnership with Sharp to offer discounts on Sharp Aqous HDTVs. DISH will also offer free DishHD service for six months and a free upgrade to an HD DVR receiver. The Sharp television partnership offers up to an $800 discount for a new Aqous HDTV. To top everything off, they will throw in free HBO and Cinemax for 3 monhs. There are obviously a variety of terms and restrictions, including an 18 month term commitment. On the surface, it’s a compelling HD bundle.
The battle for HD subscribers is increasingly becoming intense. DirecTV has garnered much press for their claims of being able to soon offer over 100 HD channels, including local broadcast channels. The cable industry claims to offer better HD reception. Verizon is toting their ability to provide VOD HD feeds. The HD landscape is clear – most competitors are trying to find ways to leverage their own HD edge (real or perceived) to build competitive advantage. HD adoption is appears to be accelerating – and at a pace that many underestimated. The availability of lower priced HDTV’s from retailers like Wal-Mart has certainly played a role. The content community is beginning to catch up, with almost weekly announcements of HD content availability. The result is a marketplace where competitors will need a robust HD strategy, and quickly.