Verizon FiOS Challenges DIRECTV as HDTV Leader, Analysis Shows

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

SILVER SPRING, MD — DIRECTV continues to offer the most high-definition channels of any pay TV provider, but Verizon is catching up quickly with its FiOS TV service, according to a new analysis by market research provider Pike & Fischer.

In a new report, “HDTV Service Comparison,” P&F finds that as of January 2009, DIRECTV was offering as many as 104 channels in HD. But that only beats Verizon’s HD menu by one channel, the report shows.

Comcast, the largest cable operator in the United States, has one of the smallest selections of HD channels, according to the study. Comcast in some markets is offering less than 40 HD channels, although the company’s marketing focuses on its large selection of HD movies, TV shows and other content available on demand.

Cable networks do not have the same capacity as Verizon’s all-fiber infrastructure and DirecTV’s satellite coverage, and thus face more constraints on bandwidth for HD channels.

Most providers examined in the study charge a premium price for HD service — usually less than $10 per month. But some, including Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, offer a substantial number of HD channels for free.

“Some providers have clearly assembled both the physical plant and the contracts with content owners to provide more HD content than their competitors,” the report concludes. “But it is important to look at what content is actually being offered, and at what price.”

Pike & Fischer, a BNA Business, offers a host of legal and business products covering the telecommunications industry. The report, “HDTV Service Comparison,” is priced at $699 and is available for purchase at