Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference Kicks Off in Australia

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A major international conference on agricultural biotechnology starts in Melbourne, Australia, today (August 6, 2006).The Agricultural Biotech International Conference (ABIC) brings together representatives of biotech companies, agricultural researchers and policy makers from across the world.

The theme of this conference is Unlocking the Potential of Agricultural Biotechnology. Some of the topics to be discussed include:

* Importance of biotechnology in meeting global food requirements.

* Application of agricultural biotechnology in biomedicine.

* Commercialization of innovative biotechnology.

* Practical applications of genomics to cereal crops.

* Using biotechnology to protect and enhance food supply.

* Biotechnology in developing countries.

Unlocking the potential of agricultural biotechnology is an issue that has been with us since the commercialization of the first genetically modified crop a decade ago. Developed countries, notably the U.S. and Canada, appreciate that agricultural biotechnology has been a prime mover of their economies. They have massively invested in it, effectively eclipsing the so-called conventional agriculture. The gains have been innumerable.

Farmers in these countries have almost doubled their income from cultivating genetically modified crops, that are usually high yielding and pest resistant.

In developing countries, the picture is different. Agricultural biotechnology remains a contested issue. Many developing countries would not embrace because of their distrust for the developed countries. Others have been fed with lies that agricultural biotechnology, and in particular Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), pose danger to the environment and the health of consumers.

Positive attributes of agricultural biotechnology must be played out at the Melbourne meeting for all to listen.

It’s encouraging that delegates from developing countries such as Prof. Jennifer Thomson (South Africa), Dr. Jagadish Mittur (India), and Dr. Rangsun Parnpai (Thailand) are attending this conference. They have a chance to learn firsthand how agricultural biotechnology has revolutionized the economies of such countries as the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. These delegates must explore how their countries can similarly benefit from agricultural biotechnology.

Since this is a gathering of experts in agricultural biotechnology, it’s expected that there will a productive debate on the potential of agricultural biotechnology. Delegates should conduct their deliberations with developing countries in mind. It’s here where agricultural biotechnology is in dire need.

Developing countries delegates are encouraged to view this conference as a window of opportunity to learn from as many experts as possible on the potential of agricultural biotechnology.

Once the curtains of this conference fall, delegates from developing countries must ensure that they share the lessons learnt with policy makers, scientists and farmers in their respective countries.

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Television Watching – A Thief Of Family Time?

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Television Watching is popular throughout the whole world. At the early stage of television in 1931, the chairman of the Radio Corporation of American said “the potential audience of television in its ultimate development may reasonably be expected to be limited only by the population of the earth itself”. The numbers of television worldwide is estimated to stand at 1.5 billion, with many more viewers, love it or hate it; television plays a major i.e. in people’s life.

Television Watching can be a powerful teaching tool. By means of it, we learn about lands and people we may never visit, “we travel” to tropical jungles and polar ice caps, to mountain peaks and ocean depths. We pee into the intriguing worlds of both atom and stars. We watch news as to happen in the other side of the world. We gain insights into politics, history, current events and culture. Television Watching captures the lives of people in both tragedy and triumph.

The time that many people devote to Television Watching is astonishing. Recently, global study showed that, on average; Television Watching per person is about three hours each day. North Americans watch four and a half hours daily. While the Japanese top the list at five hours per day. These hours add up. If we watch four hours daily, by age 60, we will have spent ten years in front of the screen. Yet, none of us would want inscribed on our tombstone “Here lies our beloved friend, who devoted one sixth of his/her life on Television Watching.”

How are Television Viewers affected by a steady diet of Television violence and sex? Critics charge that Television violence causes people to act aggressively and to be less sympathetic towards victims of real-life violence. They also assert that the portrayal of sex promotes promiscuity and undermines rival standards.

Similarly, it has been difficult to prove that violence seen through Television Watching causes crime and antisocial behavior. Many studies do suggest that there is such a link. It is hardly surprising, then that there are opposing points of view. A Canadian psychologist wrote. “The scientific evidence simply does not show that watching violence either produces violence in people or desensitizes them to it.” “However, the American psychological Association Committee on Media and Society said. “There is absolutely no doubt that higher levels of Television Watching of violence are correlated with increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and increased aggressive behavior.”

Increasing number of Television viewers are becoming addicts. Though Television Watching offer much that is worthwhile, heavy Television Watching can cut into family time, hinder reading and academic performance in children and contribute to obesity. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, “Based on the cumulative evidence of studies conducted over several decades, the scientific and public health communities overwhelmingly conclude the viewing violence poses a harmful risk to children.”

The National Institute on Media and the Family puts it this way. “We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that there should be ‘NO TELEVISION WATCHING for children ages two and under.’ These children, who are undergoing tremendous brain development, need active play and real people interactions to promote their developmental, physical and social skills”

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Web 2.0 And Demolition of Print Media

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Web 2.0 is an open source for all netizens to exercise their democratic rights without misuse. To me, the constitution of web 2.0 reads, ‘We, the people of e-space, having solemnly resolved to constitute the cyber world into sovereign, secular, democratic, republic, and to secure to all its netizens”

In plain, web 2.0 is a netizens/Internet users driven world. It has following features:

Network as platform

User driven/controlled contents

A rich, interactive, user-friendly interface based on AJAX technology

Social networking Aspects

1:1 Connection Between Mobile and Website

Any website based on web 2.0 concept has lots of scope for users. In short, democracy is the main feature of web 2.0. Thus, Web 2.0 is ‘For the People, Of the People, and By the People’.

Web 2.0 implies Netizen journalism. As web 2.0 popularizes Neitizen journalism and more people are becoming ‘public writers’, there is a fear that journalism as a distinct profession is becoming harder and harder to sustain. The boundaries between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ performance are breaking down

Until web 1.0, Internet was more or less treated like print media in digital form. But the technological advancement has made it possible to unleash the full potential of the Internet. Today, Internet is recognized as the most powerful medium, even more powerful than newspapers and TVs. According to a study, majority of youngsters surf Internet for a long time than sitting silently in front of the ‘Idiot Box’. Why?

  • Internet is one stop place for both motion pictures (TV) and literary texts (Newspapers)
  • Internet offers a place for 1:1 interactions
  • Internet Today offers lots of spaces for users’ to participate (web 2.0)

In short, Internet serves everything you wish for! Under these circumstances, one can never undermine the scope of Internet at time when the wave of web 2.0 is floating across. It’s high time to recognize the potential of Internet as important media, which seems to be dominating print and visual media (TVs). While TVs continue to grow at their own pace, print media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) may likely to face a tougher challenge from Internet.

I cannot predict how long newspapers will remain. But I do feel confident in predicting that the Internet will continue to demolish the printed world. And with the advent of new technologies (WEB 2.0 AJAX), creating multimedia advertisements inside web pages will make online marketing closer to the highly effective television and radio market strategy. Flash and JavaScript have added visual interactivity–and scripted database functions fill the web with more possibilities than even TV and radio.

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International Copyright Protection

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Copyright Intellectual Property can be protected at National and International. Copyright has international protection such as Berne convention, universal copyright convention, WIPO copyright Treaty, Rome convention, Brussels convention etc.

The International union for the protection of literary and artistic works was established in 1886 in Berne, Switzerland. It is popularly known as Berne Convention. It entered into force on 5th December, 1887 and it has been revised for five times. It is administered by world intellectual property organization (WIPO). The Berne convention has 38 articles and special provisions for the developing countries. The convention has established a minimum of protection of life plus 50 years or an alternative of fifty years from publication of anonymous work and pseudonymous work. India is a member of the Berne convention.

One of the International copyright protections is Universal Copyright Convention (UCC). The universal copyright convention was signed and entered into force on September 6, 1952. It was revised on 1971 at Paris. The protection given is for published as well as unpublished works. The member countries must grant a minimum copyright term of 25 years from publication, or life of the author plus 25 years. The foreign authors of other member countries must be granted exclusively rights for at least seven years.

The next International Copyright protection for the performers, producers of phonogram and broadcasting organizations is Rome convention. The Rome convention was completed on October 26, 1961 and entered into force on may 18, 1964 basically intend to protect the neighboring rights. Phonogram is a sound recording. The rights in respect of phonograms and performances and broadcasting are called neighboring rights.

The benefits of this convention are performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasters. The protection is granted for twenty years term will vary according to the nature of work. The eligibility to participate in this convention is that a state must be a member of either of the Berne convention or the universal copyright convention.

Another International Copyright protection is WIPO copyright Treaty. It was adopted by the diplomatic conference at Geneva on December 20, 1996 and entered into force on January 1, 1996. This convention is for the protection of rights of performers and produces of phonograms. The term of protection is fifty years.

Some treaties convention gives protection for the unauthorized duplication. On October 29, 1971, the convention for the producers of phonograms against unauthorized duplication of their phonograms is signed at Geneva. The main purpose of this Geneva Convention is to fight against the practice of piracy by third parties.

The convention relating to the distribution of programme- carrying signals transmitted by satellite and audio- visual works is Brussels convention signed on may 21 1974. The main purpose is to battle the misappropriation of satellite signals on an international level. The treaty on international registration of audio-visual works Geneva signed on April 20, 1989 at Geneva. It deals with the registration of audio- visual works at the international level.

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Delivering Highly Successful Online Video and Viral Campaigns

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There are many that say that the creation of high traffic viral campaigns is a science and not an art and that luck has little to do with it. There are arguments for and against, although there are some expert providers in this space who may ether agree or disagree with this argument and there are some that actually it is both a science and an art.

Recent examples of online videos going viral include:

Konyvideo– This video was clearly designed to go viral, but it is unlikely that the author thought that it would attract an audience of over 75 million viewers across the planet however was this because that it ticked the “Social Controversy” box?

Anfield Cat – This is a more uplifting online video clip, but I ask myself was the cat let out of the bag by accident or was it a cleverly designed video campaign by an animal lover who knew how to create and design a viral campaign.

1. Capture the Moment

There are several events that enable us to Capture the Moment and companies are using these events to project their brands onto the consumer. One example would be Paddy Power’s video campaign “Chav Tranquilizer’s“. This clearly combines humour with the traditional, more commonly viewed stiff upper lip event of the Cheltenham Festival.

Paddy Power has clearly captured the moment and integrated the content and the Cheltenham event with the brand making use of laughter and light humour.

2. High Quality and Relevant Content

Using the same Paddy Power example, the content and setting was clearly relevant in terms of the brand and capturing the audience in a funny way. This campaign was genuinely creative and the content was highly relevant to the target audience. This was clearly meant to be controversial which typically engenders “Social Sharing“;

3. Social Sharing

The Paddy Power campaign was clearly designed as a viral marketing tool; hence it was designed with Social Sharing in mind. People use all types of social sharing mechanisms, such as traditional email.

If you Google Chav Tranquilizer’s“, you will see comments about this campaign being banned on TV. This brings into play the “Social Controversy” approach, which has clearly been integrated into this video ad with a view to creating Social Conversations on a grand scale;

4. Brands and Products

It is vital that the content, the campaign theme and the setting are clearly identifiable and relevant to the brand and to the product. This is to ensure the brand and ultimately the end product engages with the target audience. Remember, not to be too commercial, this is generally a consumer put-off and will not engender “Social Sharing”. Viral campaigns are largely used to engender brand awareness; however brands are also now using online video advertising to launch products and services.

5. Consumer Attention Span

Content length is vital to get right. Too short and you can lose the message, too long and you can lose the audience. Therefore, it is important to ensure the first ten to fifteen seconds really captivate the viewer and at all costs avoid long load times for videos and games. Rememberevery consumer is just one click away from your competitor. With technology, consumers are becoming increasing impatient; hence their attention span is reducing.

capture your consumer, draw them into your world and make your message stick in their mind;

6. Viral Video Seeding

Unless the content is exposed to high numbers of users it is unlikely that the video advertisement will become a truly viral campaign.

To improve the likelihood of a truly viral campaign, it is vital that the video ad is properly seeded (geography / brand / product / context / relevance) with relevant distributors as well as with the highly known video viewing sites and blogs.

Once seeding is properly undertaken the content should take care of itself via “Social Sharing” hence on the basis that that the content works this will lead to a successful viral campaign;

7. Technical issues and bandwidth

Bandwidth has been an issue in the past but most providers have overcome this with much more robust technical solutions.

High volume viral campaigns would usually be viewed from sites like YouTube or similar video sharing sites; once the word spreads you then need to ensure that:

(i) other distributors have similar levels of bandwidth capabilities and that the quality of the content is not spoiled by bandwidth viewing issues;

(ii) the video ad formats you provide are used by the large majority of consumers and have minimum resistance to viewing; hence be wary of video formats that require special plug-ins or software upgrades. Use a few of the most common formats and ensure that consumer compatibility remains in the high ninety-nine percentile;

8. What’s in it for the Consumer?

The reason commercial radio and TV advertising has been and continues to successful is due to the fact that there is something in it for the consumer.

Radio stations generally play the latest and most popular music whereas commercial TV content is generally of a high-quality to attract a certain audience, with TV commercials being shown in between TV advertisement breaks. Therefore there is clearly something in it for the consumer with commercial radio and TV media.

However in the online world this is sometimes amiss as brands prefer their online video ads to be free of “Rewarded Media”.

Rewarded media has its place and can play an important part in terms of “Social Sharing” (everyone likes to receive and share a bargain with their friends). Whilst Rewarded Media seems to be a taboo in this segment it could play an important part for product launches and film releases especially if “Social Sharing” can be integrated someway with “Rewarded Media”;

9. Analytics and key metrics

All viral campaigns should have a campaign distribution plan. This is vital to ensure that the video ad achieves all of the targets and metrics that were initially set-out with the brand.

To ensure that all viral campaigns stay on plan, they should be properly tracked with continual analytics and using key performance metrics. This will help the advertiser to better understand the consumer audiences, who have interacted with the content, providing data such as times of use, places of use etc. Be wary of gathering too much information on potential consumers (for example email addresses) as this can turn-off your audience and create a barrier for the online video advertisement.

10. Continual Improvement

Post campaign evaluation is essential for continued improvement. This will enable you to ascertain important data such as: what has worked and what hasn’t, traffic sources, what consumers were saying in forums and social networking sites.

Try to understand why the video ad generated the level of traffic it did and this should enable you to identify key tools that can be replicated for a future viral campaign.

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Dishing Out Television!

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It’s almost the beginning of July 2006. The Direct to Home (DTH) scene in India is getting ready for the mother-of-all battles. The Subhash Chandra owned Dish TV is going to have a competitor in the Rupert Murdoch backed TATASKY DTH platform soon. Though TATA owns seventy odd percent in the venture we all know where the technical expertise is going to come from.

Newscorp via STAR TV will no doubt be building a strong product for Indian households. Let us not forget that they own and operate BSKYB in the United Kingdom where they are almost considered untouchable in both quality of service and reach. DISH TV too is not sitting still. Only a few months from their launch, they started offering services like Movie On Demand and of course the more recent announcement of the inclusion of extra channels including SONY on their DTH platform.

STAR having stayed off the DISH TV platform with only STAR UTSAV making a token appearance, have made their intentions clear. This year promises to be an all out exciting one for television viewers in the country. Both the players are known to be aggressive. They are not going to pull any punches and surely aren’t taking any prisoners. When BSKYB launched to a lukewarm reception in the UK, SKY started giving the set top boxes free, they also bought all the exclusive football rights for an astronomical amount to bring in the viewers. Free set top boxes plus the only place to watch their football the Brits bought into BSKYB big time making it a thundering success. ZEE on the other hand back home is constantly updating their services portfolio. The latest addition to their list is Mobile DISH TV. Yes, that’s right you will be able to watch all their channels on the move in a car or a bus. They have a year’s head start over TATASKY and are looking to consolidate their lead.

TATASKY on the other hand has deep pockets and a vast library of content to dish out on their platform. It’s too early to tell who will win this fight but signals are out there that the fight will be long and fought hard. Especially now since SONY has joined DISH TV the lines are drawn. Like I mentioned some time back, people do want all the goodies that a DTH service brings but how many will want two different boxes at home is the question? Maybe it will lead to the mother-of-all mergers…the TATASKYDISH TV Network!

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How International Audio Conferencing Works

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Audio conferencing enables individuals from different locations to connect and speak with each other using the services of a secure telephone line. The process allows people who otherwise may not be able to physically meet each other to communicate and have meetings. This is a preferred mode of communication as it is more economical for businesses than to have their personnel travel across cities or countries to attend meetings. International voice conferencing allows people in different countries to communicate with each other at a pre-determined date and time.

This is more commonly known as teleconferencing or voice conferencing, any number of people can be connected at the same time. This form of communication is widely in use in commerce, education and business. It also saves time as traveling from one country to another can take time, and delays can always make such trips much longer. Traveling also causes disruption at work as the time it takes for an employee to travel means time away from the office.

An international audio con-call differs from an ordinary phone call in the sense that there are more than two people who make up a voice con-call. Callers are connected to what is known as a conference bridge which is a server that makes it possible for many people to communicate with one another.

There are different types of international voice conferencing services available today. The first type is the “dial in” which is simply dialing a number that has been pre-designated and given to all the participants of the conference to call. It is normally accompanied with a code or passkey that needs to be entered via a touch tone phone.

The second type is called the “reservation-less call” which is most commonly used for businesses that choose to allow participants in Canada and/or in the US to connect toll-free into the con-call. If the participant is outside the local dialing calling area, there is no long distance cost incurred as these are charges to the host of the con-call. This type of call also utilizes a passkey or pass-code.

The third type of voice conference call is “operator assisted.” Operator assisted con-calls uses services offered by a conference call company which normally includes the bringing of participants to the call (operator dial out), call moderator and live call monitoring, roll call, faxing or emailing of any documents to all the participants, services like translation, and many more services.

Such voice con-calls allow businesses to communicate with people in different locations or countries without incurring traveling, hotel costs, per dime costs, and any travel delays that can arise.

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Satellite TV Comparison Shopping Made Easy!

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DirecTV vs. Dish Network and Satellite TV vs. Cable TV

With so many satellite TV providers competing for your business, how do you know who to choose from? Let’s take a look at two of the more popular satellite TV service providers, DirecTV and Dish Network for an apple to apples comparison.

Dish Network

Dish Network Satellite is the nation’s second largest provider of satellite TV. Does that mean that Dish Network offers better service? Not necessarily.

Dish Network does provide most of the satellite TV resources other providers do, including a satellite TV guide, free satellite TV dishes, free dish network deals and more. Dish Network also offers customers the option of purchasing HDTV equipment and service packages, giving viewers access to 8 high definition channels, a bonus for consumers with high definition TV sets.

In addition Dish Network does have a slightly larger channel selection that DirecTV which is a benefit to some customers.

Here is a summary of the major services offered by Dish Network:

  • More than 180 channels
  • HDTV for up to 8 channels
  • More than 30 sports dedicated networks including subscription options to NBA League Pass, and NHL Center Ice
  • Foreign Language Programming in many languages
  • More than 103 local channels available
  • Monthly cost generally less than $100
  • Available in all 50 states

DirecTV

DirecTV is the nation’s largest provider. Like Dish Network, DirecTV is available in all 50 states. DirecTV’s claim to fame is that they offer more channels dollar for dollar than other satellite TV providers.

So how do you know whether DirecTV or Dish Network is right for you? Let’s look at some of the specifics of DirecTV. DirecTV does offer fewer overall channels than Dish Network satellite (but not much fewer) but it does feature exclusive sports packages including NFL Sunday Ticket, which are a bonus for avid sports fans.

DirecTV also offers a high definition package including four feature high definition channels. DirecTV also offers many of the same freebies Dish Network does, including free Direct TV receivers, free satellite TV dishes and satellite TV resources.

A summary of the benefits of DirecTV is as follows:

  • More than 150 channels
  • More than 30 sports networks including special and exclusive sports package deals
  • Foreign language programming in Spanish and Chinese
  • Up to 8 HDVT channels
  • Approximately 126 local channels
  • Monthly costs less than $100
  • Available in all 50 states

DirecTV or Dish Network Satellite

So, with an apple to apples comparison, you can see that you get most of the same benefits regardless of which provider you choose. There are some subtle differences between the two, Dish Network offers slightly more overall channels and a larger foreign language programming selection. DirecTV offers some exclusive sports networks and greater access to local channels. DirecTV Tivo is an added benefit for DirecTV consumers, which providers channel recording capability to consumers.

Which provider you select may depend on your location. Some may offer better deals or service in some areas than others.

Satellite TV vs. Cable TV

The question of satellite TV vs. Cable TV is an age old one. How do you know which to choose?

Thus the two also deserve a comparison.

Cable TV

  • Equipment – Requires a TV set top box in order to access digital services
    Transmission – Usually Analog but consumers have the option of upgrading to digital for a higher premium. Analog channels don’t convert to digital in this situation.
  • Programming – Supports more than 260 channels and offers options such as pay per view, where viewers can buy movies for a small fee. Usually cable TV offers more local channel options than satellite. Offers fewer HDTV services
  • Pricing – Cable is usually more expensive, in part due to additional costs added onto monthly premium, which may include fees, taxes, pay per view and equipment

Satellite TV

  • Equipment – Requires use of satellite dish and receivers. Many providers offer free satellite TV systems, free satellite TV dishes to entice customers.
  • Transmission – Satellite TV services are all digital, which consumers usually translate to mean better quality reception. TV reception can be subject to interference during inclement weather, but this happens with cable service too.
  • Programming – Usually offers 200 or more channels, including more international and sports channels than cable. High definition channels are more easily accessed through satellite
  • Pricing – Satellite TV can be less expensive than cable particularly if equipment is thrown in for free. Local channel packages are usually extra with satellite, but over time the expense is less.
    So which do you choose?

For many it’s a matter of price, and satellite TV seems to be at an advantage here. Both cable and satellite offer similar channel line ups, though if you plan on watching a lot of foreign or international films you might opt for a satellite provider such as Dish Network or DirecTV.

That said most consumers just end up getting whichever is convenient at the time they are setting up home. No matter your choice, you’ll end up with decent service and a wide channel range which is all most consumers are looking for in the end. Buyer beware, you should know that cable TV fans are very strictly cable, and satellite TV fans very strictly satellite.

You could literally cause an argument between two otherwise friendly neighbors simply by asking them to rate satellite TV vs. cable. That said, you’ll probably find that once you make your selection, you too begin an avid supporter of one vs. the other.

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Direct TV and HD – What's The Story?

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So, you want to get into the HD scene and don’t know where to start? First, you’ll need to make sure you have an “HD-ready” television set to go with the service, that way you’ll actually be able to see the beautiful views and awesome sounds that HDTV will provide you with. You’ll most likely have to check your TV’s manual to find out if it supports 720p, 1080i, or 1080p, 720p and 1080i are the same, but most TV makers put 1080i to attempt to fool you, so watch out for that.

Now, you’ll need to decide which TV service you would like, Direct TV, Dish TV, or cable. With cable, you’ll get about 55 HD channels depending on which cable provider, with satellite TV, you’ll get 73 HD channels, and with Direct TV, you’ll receive 92 of your favorite HD channels, whereas with cable and Dish TV, nearly half of the HD channels you’ll be getting will be ones you’ve probably never heard of and if you have they are ones that you want and feel you need for the total HD experience.

For example, have you ever heard of Treasure HD, or Equator HD? No, no one has, and no one watches those channels either, so in fact, many people are paying extra for tons of channels that they have never heard of and will never watch. With Direct TV, you’ll be getting all the HD movies you could ever want with channels like Universal HD, Sony, Warner Brothers, and the traditional movie channels in HD, such as HBO and Starz. Direct TV also offers local High-Def channels, unlike what the cable companies would like to tell you on their commercials and DirecTV adds more HD programs all the time so there is little worry of tiring of these movie stations. Direct TV offers as many local HD channels as cable does, such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. Of course, like cable, the availability depends on the region.

As with cable, you will also have to get a separate receiver for your HD channels with HDTV Direct TV. The basic HD Receiver for Direct TV will give you 1080i (720p) picture, while the Plus version will give you the full 1080p picture that is truly worth showing off on your new flatscreen. You’ll only pay a one-time fee, though, for most Direct TV boxes, while with Cable ones, you have to pay so much per month.

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