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A Short History of DirecTV



Launched in 1994, DirecTV beams its programming into millions of homes across the country and beyond. It provides both satellite based digital television and audio. It currently holds the rights to three of the most popular sports packages available: NCAA Mega March Madness, NFL Sunday Ticket, and NASCAR Hot Pass.

DirecTV started out as an arm of Hughes Communications. Fresh on the heels of a failed venture to create a service known as Sky Cable, the company created the DirecTV brand and entered into an agreement with both USSB (United States Satellite Broadcasting) and Thomson Consumer Electronics to provide the DBS satellite systems and the digital equipment to receive the signals.

Rather than using “big dish” technology, which required repositioning a large satellite dish to receive signals from various satellites, this new technology allowed consumers to receive 175 separate channels on a small 18 inch fixed dish. The contract to create and launch new satellites was awarded to Hughes while DirecTV and USSB both came to the agreement that these satellites would carry each of the companies’ programming.

The official launch of the DirecTV and USSB services took place on June 17, 1994. The hardware for DirecTV came from Digital Equipment Corp., customer care was handled by Matrix Marketing, and the billing software was created by DBS Systems.

DirecTV had a truly diverse beginning, but this was soon to end. The company began a series of strategic buyouts and sellouts in an effort to consolidate its main operations.

By 2007 DirecTV began to make its push into the HDTV market and had introduced 70 HDTV channels available nationwide. Today the company continues along this path of leading the market into the era of digital satellite TV. While its major competitor continues to be DISH Network, there is no arguing that DirecTV will continue to push into new territory when it comes to providing consumers with a wide variety of choice in what to watch.

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