DirecTV Aims High: HD Starship

DirecTV, which has been on an advertising blitz promoting its promise to offer 100 HD channels by Jan. 1, has taken the effort further skyward.

The satellite operator flew a branded blimp, the DirecTV HD Starship, above Boston's Fenway Park last night. It provided Fox with aerial shots in HD for the first game of the World Series below. The blimp offered DirecTV spots shot in HD on an LED screen placed on its side.

The current DirecTV ad campaign promotes 70 HD channels launched so far, en route to the 100.

The HD Starship is scheduled to be used at other events, including NFL and college football games and NASCAR races.

DirecTV has opted to plug its HD lineup as its differentiation point in its subscriber battle with cable and telco TV operators. The service doesn't offer its own branded phone or broadband service in a bundle--a potential advantage for the others.

The company believes that sports will drive HD adoption, and it has agreements to offer feeds of nine regional sports channels along with the Big Ten and NFL networks, plus three ESPN channels. Today, DirecTV will sponsor a special trailer of Fox's coming new season of hit drama "24" to be carried on a large screen in New York's Times Square.



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