The DISH Network booth at CES 2009 was emblazoned with a huge banner touting service including more than 50 HD channels and 15 premium movie channels and a free HD DVR upgrade for just $9.95 a month. Now, that’s only a six-month promotional rate (only three months of the premium movies), but it’s still pretty attractive. After the promotional rate expires, the rate jumps to $45 a month, but that still compares favorably with cable rates for HD service.
And the fact is that a lot of people are going to be considering a satellite subscription a month from now. When the transition to digital TV broadcasts ends the analog broadcasts, many viewers are going to find that they’ve lost some or all of their TV stations because they’re in a fringe reception area. And these locations are often sparsely populated and thus may not be served by cable. So the only option for many of these people will be to get satellite service instead.
According to one DISH Network representative that I spoke with, the company saw a noticeable increase in new subscriptions in the Wilmington, NC market on the day before, the day of, and the day after that area’s transition to digital broadcasts last September. As a result, they expect to see a similar bump nationwide next month.
All I can say is that I hope they have a lot of phone lines available for the three days around February 17th.