The latest DirecTV 11 satellite just built by Boeing could potentially increase the total capacity of their programming network to 150 national HD channels and 1,500 local channels. So get ready to fire up those HDTVs—the satellite is expected to launch in March. [Boeing]
I am excited that they continue to expand their HD lineup. It is difficult to ignore all of the problems, however:
1. A significant number of the channels out there are still not available in HD.
2. When they are available in HD, much of their programming is in SD and actually looks worse on the HD channel.
3. DirecTV is using MPEG4 (I believe) to compress, and the quality is noticably worse than Comcast which is noticably worse than over-the-air HD. All of which is to say, DirecTV is not winning any quality awards.
4. Every couple of years DirecTV is expanding their number of satellites to provide new content which requires the purchase of a new dish and new receiver boxes, and — a new two year contract.
I subscribe to DirecTV currently and Comcast before that, and to be honest - it is a mixed bag. There were some things I liked better about Comcast and some thing I liked much worse. Clearly, overall, I like DirecTV better, but it is not significantly better. And, I look forward to trying FiOS TV from Verizon in the coming year, although I hear there are problems with that, as well.