February 16, 2007
| by Rebecca Day
With all this high-definition hardware popping up, what is there to watch? More than you’ll be able to take in. In addition to the brimming pot of prime-time fare on broadcast and cable TV, look for DirecTV to add hundreds of channels of HDTV programming during 2007, including 150 national channels and as many as 1,500 local HD channels. Contingent on the deployment of two new satellites, DirecTV will add HD for A&E, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNN, Food Network, FX, HGTV, MTV, National Geographic, Sci-Fi Channel, TBS, The History Channel, The Weather Channel and USA Network along with regional sports networks such as YES and Fox Sports.
Expect to see the Internet play a larger role in TV entertainment, too. HD content will be at a minimum at first, but Sony, for one, will make sure you can see trailers of upcoming movies in HD. Bravia owners who purchase the Internet Video System, a videocassette-size box that attaches to the back of Bravia TVs, can connect via Ethernet to a router to stream preselected video content from AOL, Yahoo and Grouper—without a PC. Content will appear in a size that’s smaller than an HD screen, and users can zoom up to whatever size they’re comfortable with. “A lot of content will be user-created and might have been shot with a cell phone camera,” says Sony product manager Jon Reilly.
A price for the Sony box hasn’t been set, but service, for now, is free. “We think that the Internet will be an important part of the TV experience,” says Phil Abram, vice president of TV marketing for Sony. “In the next several years there’s going to be growing demand for access to it. What determines which way it will go is how content providers see higher-value content and work to develop it. In the future, we see subscription or download models, and it could be an ad-supported model if there are enough viewers.”
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