Cable Tech

Dish: It's All Good

Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) -- in an attempt to eliminate fears that the company's hi-def plans could be delayed following a "launch anomaly" of the AMC-14 satellite on March 14 -- confirmed today that its HD expansion plans "remain on track." (See Dish: HD Plans 'On Track' and Bird Problems .)

The satellite TV firm, which is trying to keep up with DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) (and soon cable, too) in terms of HD channel tonnage, said it will soon expand its local HD programming footprint by more than 60 percent. Company chairman and president Charlie Ergen noted in the release that, with two more satellites slated for launch later this year, Dish fully expects to reach a goal of supporting 100 local HD markets and beaming 100 "national" hi-def nets by year-end.

"Dish Network customers can be reassured that the expansion of our HD programming over the next few months will proceed as planned," Ergen said.

The "anomaly," which occurred during the second burn of the fourth state of the rocket, caused AMC-14 to be placed short of its planned geostationary transfer orbit. Engineers at SES Americom and Lockheed Martin are working on how to insert the satellite into its intended, proper position (61.5 degrees West).

While it's clear that the AMC-14 should function properly, the companies involved have yet to determine how the problem will affect the bird's original 15-year service lifespan.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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