DIRECTV HD & Movie Choices Get a Lift With Successful Satellite Launch

December 29, 2009

As the DIRECTV 12 satellite soars into space following its successful launch today, DIRECTV customers will soon see a stellar lineup of new HD channels and movie choices.

When the satellite begins operations in the early second quarter of next year, it will be among a fleet of five powerful HD satellites delivering an unprecedented array of programming and other services to households across America.

The new satellite will boost DIRECTV’s High-Definition capacity by 50 percent, to more than 200 HD channels, increase the number of local HD markets DIRECTV will serve and significantly expand movie choices on the DIRECTV CINEMA™ and DIRECTV on DEMAND services. DIRECTV offers more than 130 HD channels today and delivers local HD programming to 138 markets, representing 92 percent of U.S. TV households. Click here to see which HD channels DIRECTV currently carries.

D12, a Boeing 702 model satellite, lifted off on an International Launch Services Proton Breeze M vehicle at 4:22 p.m. PT yesterday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Controllers at the ground station in Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, have made contact with the satellite and confirmed that all systems are functioning properly.

“With the successful launch of our DIRECTV 12 satellite, we will have the capacity to dramatically expand HD and movie choices for our customers and further extend our content and technology leadership,” said Romulo Pontual, DIRECTV’s chief technology officer. “With a robust fleet of 11 satellites, including five spacecraft delivering HD programming, advanced transmission and set-top box technology, we are able to provide our customers with an unparalleled viewing experience and maintain a significant competitive advantage for many years to come.”

DIRECTV 12, the eleventh owned and operated satellite in the DIRECTV fleet, will be maneuvered into a circular orbit at 102.8 degrees West longitude and when tests are completed, it is expected to begin operations early in the second quarter of 2010.