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DirecTV Taps Tandberg for MPEG-4

DirecTV Inc. signed a $9 million deal with Tandberg Television for MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Expert Group) compression technology that will be used as the base for the direct-broadcast satellite operator's local HD strategy.

Later this year, DirecTV will launch the “Spaceway 1” and “2” satellites -- birds capable of delivering 500 local HD channels between them. In 2007, the company will launch “DirecTV 10” and “11,” with the capacity for an additional 1,000 local HD channels.

DirecTV is buying a supply of Tandberg encoders for the first of 26 MPEG-4 advanced-video-compression HD-enabled transponders the DBS provider will commission starting this summer. The features include Tandberg's “EN5990” encoder and “Tandberg 1+1 HD” multiplexing system.

DirecTV said the encoding systems will be installed at both its Los Angeles broadcast center and its uplink facilities in Castle Rock, Colo.