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DirecTV is a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service that broadcasts digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States and the rest of the Americas. DirecTV is owned by DirecTV Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation's Fox Entertainment Group.



DirecTV was launched in 1994 by General Motors subsidiary Hughes Electronics. It was the first high-powered DBS service in the world.

In 1998 DirecTV acquired its partner, USSB for $1.3 billion. In 1999 DirecTV acquired PrimeStar for $1.83 billion. In 2003, a merger with EchoStar, owner of DISH Network, fell through.

On December 22, 2003, controlling interest in Hughes Electronics was sold by General Motors to News Corporation.

DirecTV has long been a victim of an active piracy underground but has recently begun to crack down on illegal reception of its signals. On its anti-piracy website (, DirecTV claims to have sued over 24,000 end users as of March 17, 2004, including celebrity O.J. Simpson. DirecTV bases their suits on purchase records of ISO-7816 Smart Card devices, which are used to rewrite DirecTV's access cards.

General information

DirecTV typically uses smaller 18-inch satellite dishes to receive its signals. Slightly larger, 18 * 24-inch oval antennas to access multi-satellites are becoming more common as DirecTV (as well as other DBS services) are attempting to squeeze more programming onto their growing systems, particularly local television network affiliates stations as well as hybrid systems that also receive broadband satellite Internet service.

DirecTV is often abbreviated as "DTV". However, DTV has recently been used to refer to digital television. Due to this conflict, and the fact that Echostar is often abbreviated "E*" ("E" for Echo, "*" for star), DirecTV is more commonly abbreviated as "D*".

DirecTV receivers (television set-top boxes) were originally referred to as "Digital Satellite Service", or DSS, so that services being broadcast by both DirecTV and USSB would appear to be received by generic equipment. In 1998, after the acquisition of USSB, an American court ruled that the term "DSS" was an already trademarked term that could not be used by DirecTV.

DirecTV offers local channels in 93% of US markets . Local channels are transmitted over terrestrial optical fiber networks to the Castle Rock Broadcast Center, in Castle Rock, Colorado, where they are uplinked.

DirecTV also offers high definition (HDTV); and a digital video recorder (DVR) service in partnership with TiVo. As of March 31, 2005 DirecTv US has 14.45 million customers in the U.S. and 1.57 million in Latin America. 2005 revenues for DirecTV US is now $3.15 billion.



  • Chase Carey (

President and Chief Executive Officer

  • Bruce B. Churchill (

Executive Vice President

  • Larry D. Hunter (

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

  • Michael W. Palkovic (

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

  • Romulo G. Pontua (

Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

  • Patrick T. Doyle (

Senior Vice President, Treasurer, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer

senior director,Marketing

List of channels on DirecTV and channel Numbers in the United States

Below is an alphabetical representation of the channel lineup. Some channels may have a East Coast and West Coast feed, airing the same programming with a 3 hour delay on the latter feed, creating a backup for those who missed their shows. The 3 hour delay also represents the timezone diffrence.

Number of Subscribers throughout the years

<tr><td>1994<td>320,000 <tr><td>1995<td>1.2 million <tr><td>1996<td>2.3 million <tr><td>1997<td>3.301 million <tr><td>1998<td>4.458 million <tr><td>1999<td>6.679 million <tr><td>2000<td>9.554 million <tr><td>2001<td>10.218 million <tr><td>2002<td>11.181 million <tr><td>2003<td>12.290 million <tr><td>2004<td>13 million</table>

DirecTV Smart Card History

DirecTV is now utilizing the fourth generation of ISO7816 smart access cards.

  • P1, also known as F cards, were used until 1997. F cards have a picture of a satellite on the front.
  • P2, also known as H cards, were introduced in 1996 to replace F cards. H cards look the same as F cards. H cards were in use until 2002.
  • P3, also known as HU cards, were introduced in 1999 and are no longer supported. HU cards have a picture of a football player on the front. HU cards originally shipped with receivers with serial numbers above 0001 700 000.
  • P4 cards were introduced in 2002 and are the current standard. P4 cards are labelled "Access Card: 4."

The newest card, which was introduced after they had some compatibility problems with the P4 cards in some receivers, is commonly called the "D1" or "P11" card, These cards can be identified by the silver edges, and just have the word "directv" on the front (no number).

Satellite fleet

Satellite Orbital slot Launch date Satellite type
DIRECTV-1 110W December 17, 1993 Hughes Electronics HS-601
DIRECTV-2 100.8W August 3, 1994 Hughes Electronics HS-601
DIRECTV-3/Nimiq-3 91.1W June 10, 1995 Hughes Electronics HS-601
DIRECTV-1R 100.8W October 10, 1999 Hughes Electronics HS-601HP
DIRECTV-4S 101.2W November 27, 2001 Hughes Electronics HS-601HP
DIRECTV-5 72.5W May 7, 2002 Space Systems/Loral LS-1300
DIRECTV-6 109.8W March 8, 1997 Space Systems/Loral LS-1300
DIRECTV-7S 119W May 4, 2004 Space Systems/Loral LS-1300
DIRECTV-8 101W May 22, 2005 Space Systems/Loral LS-1300
DIRECTV-9S TBD (est.) early 2006 Space Systems/Loral LS-1300
SPACEWAY-1 102.8W April 26, 2005 Boeing BSS-702
SPACEWAY-2 99.2W (est.) June 15, 2005 Boeing BSS-702
DIRECTV-10 TBD (est.) 2007 Boeing BSS-702
DIRECTV-11 TBD (est.) 2007 Boeing BSS-702
DIRECTV-12 TBD (est.) 2007 Boeing BSS-702

See also

External links


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