Las Vegas -- DirecTV Inc.'s best consumers and Starz! On Demand customers
will get free access to subscription video-on-demand in the fourth quarter, when
the DBS company releases the its latest version DVR, company officials said.
The box, co-developed by DirecTV and Tivo Inc., and manufactured by Hughes
Network Systems, will offer five Starz! titles a week, residing on a
DirecTV-branded page under a 'now playing' label.
The box and subscription services will carry the DirecTV brand; the Tivo logo
will only appear on screen where consumers find the content-maneuvering
'Time doesn't mean anything anymore' to a consumer's viewing experience, said
Brad Beale, senior vice president, advanced products and new media.
DirecTV launched its first DVR in 2000, and while consumers embraced the
technology, research showed they resent service fees and resisted the $399
purchase price, Beale said.
The company demonstrated the new box at this week's Satellite Broadcasting
& Communications Association show in Las Vegas.
The new version, which will be broadly available late this year but marketed
initially only to current DirecTV customers, will be sold for $199.
Total Choice package consumers get functionality fee-free; buyers of smaller
programming bundles will pay a subscription fee of $4.99.
The latest box will have a 40 GB hard drive initially but may be expanded;
and a USB 2.0 port to enable future enhanced uses.