DirecTV Touts 160 HDs, Bashes Dish's Claims

DirecTV said it will add more than 30 new 24/7 high-definition channels in the next few months -- bringing its HD lineup to more than 160 -- and took a swipe at rival satellite provide Dish Network's claim this week that it offers 200 HDs.

DirecTV said it will begin rolling out the new HD channels in May, including Lifetime HD, Travel Channel HD, MSNBC HD, ESPNU HD and Hallmark Channel HD.

On Monday Dish Network claimed to be the first pay-TV operator to offer 200 national high-definition channels, but 57 of those "channels" are in fact HD video-on-demand selections available only to Dish customers with the recently introduced ViP 922 DVR.

"While Dish Network is very skilled at grossly inflating their HD numbers, you'd be hard pressed to find an actual list of comprehensive HD channels that match their recent claims," Derek Chang, DirecTV's executive vice president of content strategy and development, said in a statement.

Chang continued, "We invite consumers to go to to see a list of all of DirecTV's more than 160 HD channels. We challenge Dish to publish a list of all their full-time HD channels so consumers can decide and count for themselves."

Of those 160 HD channels, at least 27 are DirecTV Cinema pay-per-view movie channels while 25 are regional sports networks and 22 are premium movie networks.

DirecTV named 21 HD channels in its announcement Tuesday, and said it would also add a number of new DirecTV Cinema pay-per-view HD channels over the next few months as well.

The new HD channels are: CSN Bay Area HD, CSN California HD, Encore HD East, ESPNU HD, FSN Florida HD, GolTV HD, Hallmark Channel HD, Hallmark Movie Channel HD, HBO Zone HD, HBO2 East HD, Lifetime HD, Showtime Beyond HD, Showtime Next HD, Showtime Women HD, Starz Cinema HD, Starz In Black HD, Telefutura HD West, TMC Xtra HD East, Travel Channel HD, Univision HD East and WGN HD.

DirecTV also plans to launch four 3DTV channels in June: ESPN 3D; N3D, sponsored for 12 months by Panasonic; a 3D DirecTV Cinema channel; and a 3D DirecTV on Demand channel.

DirecTV and Dish Network have been engaged in a fierce marketing fight, which culminated in a false-advertising suit DirecTV fired off against Dish in February. Dish responded with a countersuit alleging DirecTV has made misleading ad claims of its own. The two companies settled the dispute out of court last week; terms of the agreement were not disclosed.