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Learn more about DIRECTV

DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster based in El Segundo, California. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America, and the Anglophone Caribbean. Its primary competitors are Dish Network and cable television providers. At the end of 2011, DirecTV had 19.89 million subscribers. DirecTV's name is a portmanteau of direct (as in direct broadcast satellite), and TV, the common abbreviation for television.


General information


DirecTV provides television and audio services to subscribers through satellite transmissions. Services include the equivalent of many local television stations, broadcast television networks, subscription television services, satellite radio services, and private video services. Subscribers have access to hundreds of channels, so its competitors are cable television service and other satellite-based services.

Most subscribers use reception antennas which are much smaller than the first generation antennas, which were typically a few yards (meters) across. Advances in antenna technology, including fractal antenna layouts, have allowed a general reduction in antenna size across all industries and applications. Receiving equipment includes a satellite dish, an integrated receiver/decoder and a DirecTV access card, which is necessary to operate the receiver/decoder.

Consumers who purchase DirecTV subscribe to various packages of DirecTV programming for which the subscriber pays a monthly fee. Additional monthly fees may include a protection plan (which provides for repair or replacement of consumer leased equipment from damages caused by lightning, power surges, floods, etc.), DVR/HD access, additional receivers, and added premium packages. A subscriber also can order pay-per-view events and movies. DirecTV contracts with and pays program providers such as cable networks, motion picture distributors, sports leagues, event promoters, and other programming rights holders, for the right to distribute their programming to its subscribers. All programming distributed by DirecTV is delivered to its broadcast centers in Castle Rock, Colorado, and Los Angeles, where it is then digitized and compressed. The resulting signal is encrypted by DirecTV to prevent its unauthorized reception. DirecTV then transmits these signals to several satellites located in geostationary orbit.

As of December 31, 2006, DirecTV had approximately 16 million customers in the U.S., 1.4 million in Latin America through its wholly owned subsidiaries, 1.3 million through its 74% ownership of Sky Brasil Servicos Ltda., and 1.4 million though its 41% ownership of Innova, S. de R.L. de C.V. of Mexico. 2006 revenues were US$14.76 billion.

In addition to serving consumers, DirecTV offers service to bars, restaurants, hotels, dorms, and hospitals through their DirecTV for business service. The company also offered mobile service for cars, boats, and RVs (DirecTV Mobile) as well as aircraft (DirecTV Airborne) in cooperation with Connexion by Boeing.


Assets

DirecTV owns regional sports networks Root Sports Pittsburgh, Root Sports Northwest, Root Sports Rocky Mountain, and Root Sports Utah (all under the umbrella of DirecTV Sports Networks). DirecTV also owns the majority of Game Show Network, and a minority stake in MLB Network.


Exclusive content

DirecTV has its own exclusive general entertainment channel called Audience Network, and an exclusive 3DTV channel called n3D. DirecTV is also the exclusive U.S. rights holder to sports packages NFL Sunday Ticket, NASCAR Hot Pass, and the "DirecTV Experience" (bonus coverage of Men's Majors Golf Tournaments and Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments).

Satellite fleet

DirecTV currently uses 12 satellites. Its 13th is currently being built by a specialist.

Customer service

DirecTV was awarded a J.D. Power award for residential cable and satellite TV customer satisfaction in 2007.

DirecTV's customer service is provided by many third-party owned call centers both inside and outside the United States. DirecTV also has a subsidiary named DirecTV Customer Service LLC, which owns call centers in Denver, Colorado (opened in 2007); Boise, Idaho; Huntsville, Alabama; Missoula, Montana; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Pharr, Texas; and, most recently, Huntington, West Virginia. N.E.W. provides technical assistance by phone to customers who subscribe to DirecTV's Protection Plan. Most of the call centers are contracted to provide agents to answer customer phone calls regarding billing or technical questions.

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