Video services

DirecTV On Demand Update

10:00 AM -- TVPredictions.com has a few more nuggets about the coming "on demand" service from DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), which is being tested by about 1,000 subscribers. (See DirecTV Pushes Play on VOD Beta .)

Citing DirecTV exec Eric Shanks, the item points out that the commercial version of the service will launch early in the fourth quarter with a library of 2,000 to 3,000 hours of content. As much as 20 percent will be in hi-def format, and 85 percent will be in the "free" category.

Not a bad selection. But save for some content that DirecTV might seed onto receiver hard drives ahead of time during off-peak hours (a good strategy for high value pay-per-view movies), customers will of course have to wait for other titles to download when they are selected for viewing.

No word yet on whether customers will have to wait for the entire title to download before they can begin to view it or if they can start to watch a show as it is being downloaded.

Either way, the onus is on the cable industry to do a better job of communicating the difference between its two-way, interactive on-demand product and what DirecTV is passing off as on-demand. The blame will fall squarely on cable's shoulders if it allows DirecTV to shape consumer perception in an area where it holds a distinct advantage over one of its fiercest competitors.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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