Comcast, DirecTV Settle HDTV Lawsuit

Comcast Corp. and DirecTV have agreed to settle a legal spat regarding the use of customer research in advertisements for their high definition offerings.

While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Comcast will continue to use its results from a Frank A. Magid survey that the cable operator commissioned. “We’re pleased to have settled the outstanding litigation on a basis that’s mutually satisfactory,” said Comcast’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications Jenni Moyer.

"The parties are pleased that they have settled the outstanding litigation on a basis mutually satisfactory,” a DirecTV spokesman said.

The dispute began in May when DirecTV filed an injunction against the cable operator for advertisements that claimed direct-broadcast satellite customers preferred Comcast’s HD picture quality, based on findings from the Magid study. Comcast countered in July with an injunction against DirecTV’s ads that claimed superior picture quality.

In August, an Illinois court favored Comcast’s motion for injunction and against DirecTV’s motion. 

Cable companies have been ramping up their HD marketing efforts in response to DirecTV’s push to carry the most linear HD channels. DirecTV says it will have capacity to carry 150 channels by the end of 2008. Cable has countered by touting their ability to offer more HD content on-demand and superior picture quality.

Cox Communications ran advertising based on the same Magid study, but DirecTV sued on the basis that picture quality varies from system to system and the Cox claims were unfounded based on a study that used Comcast for its comparison. Cox eventually removed the material.