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DirecTV Weighs Alternatives To Broadcast Retrans

DirecTV chairman and CEO Mike White said the satellite giant is weighing its options to providing broadcast television service, including investigating antennas and Aereo-like technologies that could bring programming to customers at a lower price.

White, speaking on a conference call with analysts to discuss its third quarter results, said the satellite giant has always had the option of providing antennas to customers and has looked into installing antennas on set-top boxes as a way to avoid paying high retransmission fees. White said with retrans fees up 50% this year and expected to climb higher in the future, customers will demand a solution, including buying their own antennas to avoid paying for local stations.

While White said nothing is imminent, the satellite giant continues to research the matter.

“We are trying to anticipate with new technologies what we might be able to do,” White said. “…Mostly it’s a function of what level of discipline we see in retransmission fees.”

Aereo has developed a technology that captures broadcast signals and delivers them to customers for a monthly fee. The service is currently available in several cities but has been sued by several broadcasters that believe the service infringes on their copyrights.

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