USSBs Thorne Looks Ahead to HDTV


U.S. Satellite Broadcasting last week appointed retailveteran Gary Thorne to the newly created position of vice president of businessdevelopment.

Among Thorne's duties are determining where DigitalSatellite System licensees, such as Thomson Consumer Electronics, Sony Electronics Corp.and Toshiba America, are headed with their businesses, especially as they move into theworld of digital and high-definition television.

Several manufacturers are expected to build DSS receiversdirectly into digital televisions and digital set-top converters within the next year.

"My experience in the consumer electronics industrywill help in my role as the primary liaison with the manufacturer," said Thorne. Hehad been president of the Minneapolis-based specialty retailer Audio King before it mergedwith Ultimate Electronics, a Colorado-based superstore chain, last summer.

USSB will be among the first programming providers to offeran HDTV signal, Thorne said. "HDTV will be brought to market by HBO [Home BoxOffice]," he said, "and since we're the provider of HBO for the DSSplatform, we'll do HDTV."

Thorne has also been charged with evaluating potentialbusiness opportunities surrounding USSB's unused spectrum. It holds licenses from theFCC for three transponders at 110 degrees west longitude and eight at 148 degrees westlongitude. Although some have speculated that offering data services would make the mostsense, Thorne would not comment on possible use of the spectrum until the company has adefinitive service to announce.