The DISH Network satellite television service announced Wednesday that they are adding local HDTV channels in 11 markets, which nearly doubles the number of cities and now reaching a total of 24. The new cities are Dallas; Houston; Miami; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; and Spokane. They plan to make local HD coverage available to more than half of US households by the end of 2006.
The company’s HD offerings also include ESPN2 HD, Universal HD, and five original VOOM HD channels. According to the company, they offer subcribers more than 1,700 hours of HD programming every week on 23 channels.
The whole idea of providing local station content in HD is important, as far as I’m concerned, and I think DISH Network is on the right track with this. And while I knew that there was lots of HD programming available already, the 1,700 hours a week does take me by surprise. That’s an average of more than 70 hours per 24 hour day (though I expect that some of the programming will be concentrated on the weekends, due to sports coverage). I suspect that even I could find an hour or two of programming that I’d want to watch out of that 70.