Bell Atlantic Corp.'s Bell Atlantic Video unit said last
week that it would bring its full-service DirecTV Inc. offer to two new cities: Boston and
The telco-marketed service is already available in several
other East Coast areas, including Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; northern Delaware; New
Jersey; and Philadelphia, as well as certain multiple-dwelling-unit properties in New York
After testing the product in employee homes, Bell Atlantic
will begin mass-marketing efforts in the two cities in early June via direct mail.
Customers who call the phone company directly can also
request the service, which includes a $5.99-per-month rental option for a DirecTV
satellite dish and set-top box.
Some consumers choose to rent equipment rather than buying
it because they're concerned about rapidly changing technology and they don't want to have
to swap out the set-top box later, Bell Atlantic Video president Dick Beville said.
Bell Atlantic is working with DirecTV's equipment
manufacturers to make sure it is able to offer any future enhancements to its video
customers. "What's interesting is how we'll price the lease models as different
things become available," Beville said.
DirecTV equipment manufacturers plan new set-top boxes for
interactive-television services, high-definition television and satellite-delivered
local-into-local broadcast programming.
In New Jersey, Bell Atlantic Video is running trials to see
whether consumers who take DirecTV programming would also be interested in having caller
ID services displayed on their televisions.
Beville said the company may look at other ways in which it
could co-market video with other Bell Atlantic products, such as telephone and consumer
In Boston, DirecTV's programming stacks up well against
incumbent cable operators' offerings, Beville said. DirecTV has regional sports networks
in its basic package, while some local cable operators do not.
Bell Atlantic Video hopes to bring its DirecTV offer to the
single-family-dwelling market in New York later this year, Beville said, adding that the
company is watching to see whether local-into-local legislation is passed first.