HDTV News: Dish Network Launches HDTV Channel, Sampo HDTV Products Hit US

Last week, EchoStar Communications Corporation announced that, starting this week, its Dish Network will begin showing HDTV versions of popular motion pictures, beginning with the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. EchoStar claims that the Dish Network currently serves more than 4.3 million customers.

Echostar also says that its "Dish-On-Demand" HDTV channel, 9428, can be accessed by customers who have a satellite dish pointed at the 61.5°W longitude orbital location. The company adds that customers who use Dish Network's 6000 satellite television receiver (Dish HD) or 5000 satellite television receiver with an HD modulator can decode the movies, which will cost $5.99 each to view.

According to EchoStar, its HDTV presentations will feature 1080i resolution, 16:9 widescreen format, and Dolby Digital sound. Other movies planned for broadcast on Dish-On-Demand HD are Supernova (October 14) and The Ninth Gate (October 24). EchoStar says that the Dish Network also offers one channel of HBO and one channel of Showtime in HDTV with the purchase of their "HBO The Works" ($11.99/month) or "Showtime Unlimited" ($10.99/month) packages.

In other HDTV news, Sampo America says it will enter the US market this fall with a full line of HDTVs and DVD players. Sampo America's James Chen states that "for years, Sampo has produced high-performance digital consumer-electronics products for the world's top brands. This time, we're bringing next-generation digital convergence products to the US under our own name."

Chen adds that "we will focus on distributing our products through regional retailers such as the members of the Nationwide Buying Group, and select e-commerce sites. This strategy will allow small- to medium-sized retailers to carry a high-performance, high-value HDTV/DVD player line that will differentiate their offerings from the lines currently carried by national chains."