DirecTV was one of the first direct broadcast
satellite (DBS) companies to begin satellite broadcasts in the United
States. DirecTV was launched in
1994 and was the premiere DBS provider in the world. DirecTV Group is a subsidary of New Corporations Fox
DirecTV has a few competitors in the DBS market,
but they are the powerhouse company among the United States satellite service
providers. DirecTv currently (as of 2004) services more than 12.5 million customers
in the United States. In addition, it offers services to 1.5 million members in various Latin American
DirecTV typically uses an 18-inch satellite dish to receive their satellite signals.
These dishes, slightly larger than the small, compact dishes, offer
customers a choice of services, such as: satellite TV, broadband satellite
internet, audio and HDTV.
In 1998, DirecTV acquired USSB (it's current business partner) for $1.3 billion.
In 1999, DirecTV followed that purchase with the purchase of PrimeStar for $1.83 billion. An attempted merger with EchoStar
(owner of DISH Network) fell through in 2003.
DirecTV is not only a pioneer in satellite
services, but also a pioneer in tracking down piracy. DirecTV has suffered from an active underground system to
sell priated satellite cards. As of March of 2004, DirecTV claims to have sued 24,000 users who purchased smart
card devices, which could possible rewrite original DirecTV access cards.
There are some rumors floating about that DirecTV
will merge with BSkyB (the UK satellite company), and form a global satellite
DirecTv certainly offers consumers a solid competitive satellite service.
While it does have the largest market share among it's competitors, it's
by no means the only option to consider when looking at satellite service. Competition among satellite TV
companies ultimately benefits the consumer, by offering new services and
quality customer interactions.