DirecTV - who gave Rupert Murdoch a satellite TV company?
DirecTV is the remaining division of what was Hughes Electronics (a holdover from the aircraft company created by Howard Hughes). Now Hughes Electronics is called the DirecTV Group and is the largest satellite TV operator in the United States. Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, is a part owner of the DirecTV Group since 2003, making DirecTV another tentacle of the mass media giant.
One of the strengths of DirecTV for the informed consumer is the availability of third-party receivers. This means that if there is a specific satellite receiver you like, you don't have to worry about its approval by DirecTV as chances are it was designed to work with that system. Another strength had until recently been the availability of TiVo-enabled DirecTV boxes. But at the January 2005 Consumer Electronics Show, DirecTV announced several receivers that will use TiVo NDS Group's PVR capabilities. The hint was taken without actually being iterated - DirecTV was dumping TiVo. Without TiVo, your video recording satellite receivers will come from a variety of new satellite set-top boxes from the NDS Group.
DirecTV is a proven competitor in the satellite TV market as the number one in the nation. You can choose from a variety of programming packages that include Sports Packs, Pay Per View, Local Channels if you live in 90% of DirecTV's viewing area. They have the big movie networks including HBO, Starz, Showtime and Cinemax. Basically the programming looks little different than competitor Dish Network's lineup, which in turn looks pretty much like most cable outfits.
The real consideration if you're looking for a satellite service is to see who offers the best prices for the channels you want, including a sweet promotional incentive offer. As with any satellite service, but unlike cable TV, you're subject to a phenomenon called rain fade. This is where the data stream is blocked from your dish by rain or snowfall. Usually this will only be a momentary inconvenience and is rather rare even when snow and rain do come down hard it doesn't always affect the signal. The worst is wet sticky snow attaching itself to the dish. If you live in a climate prone to getting this type of weather (ie. Detroit, Buffalo) you might want to consider keeping your dish well within reach of a brush so you can quickly fix the problem of snow and ice buildup.