CES2014: Where’s DIRECTV?

There’s been too many questions to ignore this topic. DISH is making a bigger-than-ever splash at the International Consumer Electronics Show, but DIRECTV hasn’t had a public presence since 2007. Starting in 2008 they have occupied an increasingly private suite in one of the ancillary buildings. It was a really exciting place to be in that first private showing. Here’s a picture from someone who was there (courtesy of DBSTalk.com):

Back then DIRECTV was launching new HD channels almost daily and had just shown the AM21. Since then, even their meeting room presence has gotten less and less flashy. Here’s an image from their showroom in 2013:

This year, your Solid Signal Blog staff had the opportunity to visit with key DIRECTV staff and all we’ll tell you is that the room wasn’t filled with flashy prototypes with new model numbers. Other blogs have been deceived into thinking it would be, but we were ready to see what we saw: a presentation largely devoted to the products that will keep DIRECTV profitable in 2014. There was no HR46, no HR54, no KS23… just a way to let investors and technology partners know that DIRECTV is strong and getting stronger.

DISH’s massive show-floor display is certainly fun to look at but it’s also clear that they’ve bought into the traditional “show it now, sell it much later” mentality of other consumer electronics companies. No question that the Super Joey, the Wireless Joey and the Virtual Joey will ship, but you won’t be able to get one today. (For the record, you won’t be able to get the ’90s themed “Joey McIntyre” today either, just a running gag from the blog staff.)

DIRECTV is the unquestioned leader in pay-TV, the only company that consistently grows quarter after quarter and the only one with 20+ million residential subscribers in the US alone. They are aggressively moving into Latin America where the demand for premium TV is through the roof. They are slowly improving their US TV experience, constantly innovating, and focusing on those changes that benefit the most customers. Those aren’t really glamorous things but they are what stockholders look for. Right now that seems to suit DIRECTV just fine.

There will be a lot of new stuff from DIRECTV this year, but… you won’t see it at CES.