DirecTV OnDemand Heads for Beta-Testing

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Las Vegas -- Offering more details about its download service, DirecTV said Monday that it plans to start beta-testing DirecTV OnDemand in the first quarter, possibly rolling it out in the middle of the year.

At an International Consumer Electronics Show press conference here, DirecTV executive vice president of entertainment Eric Shanks described the direct-broadcast satellite provider’s video-on-demand plans, which are enabled by its new HD digital-video recorders.

“HD DVR is our shot at working with industry standards to connect to all of the devices in the home, to connect to your network, as well as to connect you to the outside world,” he added.

At last year’s CES, DirecTV laid the groundwork for a convergence strategy of offering customers the ability to move content from platform to platform by reaching a deal with Microsoft. That pact was to permit subscribers to view and use DirecTV programming on Windows-based PCs.

Today, DirecTV subscribers can plug their HD DVR into their home network and “can watch anywhere in the house photos and listen to music on their television,” according to Shanks.

“Later on in this year, that connectivity grows even wider, outside the home, for a product we will call DirecTV OnDemand,” he added. “When you plug your box into your home network, it opens up a whole new world.”

DirecTV created on on-demand program guide that Shanks claimed will make it easier for customers to find content.

“These titles can be delivered a number of ways -- satellite, high-speed connection,” he added. “These will show up in box as items in your play list.”

DirecTV OnDemand will also have a feature called G Message -- news about programming or information from networks that will pop up on the program guide -- according to Shanks.

“We’re really excited about the opportunities this opens up for us to talk with our customers,” he said.

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