Dear Dish Network: An HD Movie Is Not a 'Channel'


Now available on Dish Network: The Men Who Stare At Goats Channel.

Dish has taken HD marketing claims to absolutely absurd new lengths. On Monday the satellite operator proclaimed that it had become the first pay-TV provider to offer “200 national high-definition channels” (see Dish: We’re First With 200 HD Channels).

OK, Dish did add eight new high-definition TV channels: Epix HD (part of the PlatinumHD tier, $10 extra per month) as well as G4 HD, Headline News HD, History International HD, Nat Geo Wild HD, ShortsHD, Style HD and Turner Classic Movies HD.

But the problem is, 57 of those 200 supposed HD channels are VOD titles — and require the ViP 922 DVR. They’re not actual linear TV channels in the sense that, well, everyone understands them (see Dish’s 200 HD ‘Channels’ Include 57 VOD Titles).

Did nobody on the Dish marketing team think this was stretching things a little bit too far? Aren’t subscribers going to be disappointed when they figure out that a big chunk of the 200 HD “channels” are video rentals?

Recall that Comcast was snickered at when it countered DirecTV’s 100-channel HD lineup with “1,000 HD choices” touting video-on-demand options. Comcast was “clearly and meticulously counting every lame HD stream that a consumer could conceivably order up,” Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett wrote in 2007.

Lame, perhaps, but at least Comcast didn’t confusingly claim to offer 1,000 HD channels.