Dish first to deliver 1080p HD television programming

Satellite television service Dish will be the first to offer live programming "full HD" 1080p resolution, while the return of an all-HD package hearkens back to the days of Voom.

Dish purchased the assets of Cablevision's Voom in 2005, and much of its content was folded into the satellite provider's offerings. None of the Voom HD channels exist on Dish any longer, as they disappeared in May. Now, however, it seems like the company is ready to try the Voom approach once again: a package of only HD channels.

Such an offering is now much more viable considering the Dish network offers 114 separate high-definition channels, with plans to expand to 150 by the end of the year. At its height, the all-HD package from Voom only included 21.

17 new HD channels will be added on Friday, mostly in Dish's premium lineup, including one new Cinemax channel, Encore, seven new HBO channels, and four Starz networks. Other additions include CBS College Sports HD, Lifetime HD, Lifetime Movie Network HD, and Planet Green HD.

Another difference is the price: the entry level package for what Dish is calling 'TurboHD' would begin at $29.99 USD per month (which includes local channels). Exact details of Dish's HD pricing tiers were not available by press time, and BetaNews is awaiting a response to a request for clarification.

To support the new 1080p programming, Dish is sending out an upgrade to all MPEG-4 HD DVR receivers that would allow the units to display content in that resolution. The company says the update should roll out to all of its subscribers by early August.

As part of the rollout, Dish will offer a 1080p version of I Am Legend for free to those who have the HD boxes through its pay-per-view offering.

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