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DBS Catches a Break

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has officially given DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) the OK to phase in carriage of local high-definition broadcast stations and avoid a potential capacity crunch in front of the February 2009 U.S. digital TV transition.

In an order published Thursday, the satcos won't have to comply with the "carry one, carry all" rule until 2013, meaning they aren't forced to offer the hi-def feeds of all local TV stations in markets where they offer at least one station in the eye-popping format.

News of the rule leaked out ahead of the published order, leaving the American Cable Association (ACA) to wonder if the FCC might show the same leniency for a blanket waiver it's seeking for smaller cable systems. (See Small Cable Lobby Asks for DTV Exemption .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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