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DirecTV Plans Launch of Dual-Mode VOD

Multichannel news reports that DirecTV Inc. is preparing to launch two types of video-on-demand (VOD) services: one that will be broadcast via satellite and one that will be delivered via high-speed-Internet connections.

The satellite service, available sometime over the next few months, will deliver a limited set of top movies to the hard drives of DirecTV customers with digital-video recorders. Customers would pick a movie off the shelf, in effect, and pay for it at that time. The on-demand offering would also include TV shows from NBC Universal and FX, as well as other content providers.

In the fourth quarter, DirecTV -- which has more than 15 million subscribers all told -- also expects to allow customers to use a high-speed connection that they purchase from any source -- be it cable company, telephone company or other provider -- to download thousands of movies and other video programs, then watch them on their television sets.

This "broadband VOD" service will be made possible with the introduction of HD versions of DirecTV set-top boxes with DVRs, officials said at the direct-broadcast satellite provider's investor meeting. The newer boxes, available later this year, tie together TV sets and high-speed-Internet connections, according to Eric Shanks, DirecTV's executive vice president of entertainment.

DirecTV broadband video will launch with 2,000 titles, which will include cable-TV shows, movies, premium service and non-linear-channel content. DirecTV expects that it will have 300,000 boxes that can support this service deployed by the end of the year, Shanks said.

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