From TVPredictions.com DIRECTV: 20-40 New HD Channels Likely By Sept. 16 The satcaster should have 70 new HD channels by the end of September. By Swanni Washington, D.C. (August 29, 2007) -- DIRECTV told TVPredictions.com tonight that it will likely add from 20 to 40 new High-Definition channels by Sunday, September 16. That date coincides with the 59th Annual Emmy Awards and DIRECTV has scheduled a post-awards party that night in Los Angeles to promote its new high-def lineup. Asked tonight if the HDTV expansion will have taken place by the Emmy party, Eric Shanks, DIRECTV's executive vice president of entertainment, said "it will be real close" to that date. DIRECTV launched a new satellite in July to expand its High-Definition capacity to 100 channels by year's end. (The satcaster plans to launch another satellite to increase the capacity to 150 HD channels next year.) In an interview with TVPredictions.com, Shanks said DIRECTV will have added 70 new high-def channels by the end of the third quarter, which ends at the end of September. He said it will have the 100 HDTV channels by year's end. Shanks added that DIRECTV will add a minimum of 20 new HD channels on the first day of the expansion. "It will be more in the 40 range if all goes well," he said. "It's still fluid so we can't say for sure." After the first rollout, DIRECTV will add another group of channels soon thereafter and then another group until it reaches the 70 mark by the end of September. The satcaster now has approximately 10 national high-def channels. In other remarks: * Shanks said the new high-def channels will retain their current standard definition channel numbers. For instance, CNN HD will be channel 202, the same as the standard-def CNN. The satcaster's HD receiver will automatically default to the HD channel when a high-def viewer turns to that channel. However, the standard-def channel will remain and can still be watched by going up or down the dial. "We don't want people to have to learn new channel numbers," Shanks said. HD DVR owners who have set those standard-def channels to record future programs will have to manually re-set the recording to HD if they want to watch the high-def version of the program. * The new HDTV channels will be on DIRECTV's new satellite, launched in July, and will transmit in MPEG4. However, the NFL Sunday Ticket's lineup of HDTV games will remain on DIRECTV's current satellites and will transmit in MPEG2. But Shanks said DIRECTV will not need to drop an existing HDTV channel from the lineup to make room for the high-def games each Sunday, as it did last year. "We will do some shuffling to make room, but there will be no dropping of HD channels like last year," he said. * DIRECTV's existing lineup of HDTV channels will remain in the channel 70s and will stay for now on the current satellites, which transmit in MPEG2.