Dish and DirecTV Snub Local HD

Some Dish Network and DirecTV high-def subscribers may not see local channels in HD until 2013 due to a ruling this week by the Federal Communications Commission. The satellite carriers insisted they didn't have the capacity to carry all the local stations that broadcast in HD by 2009, and the FCC agreed.

This is sure to irk satellite consumers and small-scale HD channels. Cable providers weren't able to shirk the "must-carry" rules for regional channels.

The FCC says Dish and DirecTV will have to add in high-def local channels over time, but they can start with any markets they want, meaning big cities might be the only ones satellite companies choose to serve with local HD until 2013.

Local stations that have made the investment in HD broadcasting equipment often include local news networks that obtain the rights to show the occasional major league (baseball, basketball, football) home game. If this type of programming is shown in dumbed-down standard-definition, how many satellite HD subscribers would consider switching to cable? -Rachel Rosmarin

Multichannel News