DirecTV, Thomson Market Triple Play to Multiple Dwelling Units

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DirecTV and Thomson are launching the first satellite-TV distribution system for multi-dwelling units to use Internet-protocol technology, officials said Tuesday.

The introduction of the DirecTV MFH3, or Multi-Family Housing Version 3 distribution system, jointly developed with Thomson, is timed to support the satellite company’s expansion of HD services this fall.

The DirecTV MFH3 system -- designed to solve satellite-distribution issues in dense living spaces such as apartment complexes, condominiums and master planned communities -- enables the delivery of all the satellite provider’s programming and services using existing in-building and distribution wiring, lowering the cost of installation.

As an IP-distribution platform, service providers that have won the rights to deliver communications services to MDUs or planned communities can integrate the MFH3 with their existing voice and Internet services and deliver triple play services over a single infrastructure.

The MFH3 system uses IP technology as a simple distribution platform to deliver satellite television and other services from a private headend facility to each customer dwelling. A single headend system currently supports up to 500 devices, with larger systems in development, to effectively meet the needs of the largest apartment complex.

“By leveraging our new MFH3 platform, we will have the ability to deliver the full DirecTV television experience to our MDU customers, including our industry-leading HD programming, exclusive sports, DVR, DirecTV Interactive and our soon to launch on DirecTV on Demand service,” Daren Benzi, DirecTV’s vice president of sales development and strategy, said in a prepared statement. “These services can now be combined to more easily deliver a bundle with voice and Internet service. MFH3 also offers real estate developers, managers and service providers a next-generation platform that more easily and efficiently integrates with existing building infrastructure and at lower cost."

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