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July 16, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:06pm

HUGHES COMBINES SATELLITE NET AND TV AS DIRECDUO

By CBR Staff Writer

The Hughes Network Systems Inc division of Hughes Electronics Corp has launched DirecDuo, a combination of its DirecPC internet-via-satellite service, and its DirecTV digital satellite television programming via a single 21 elliptical satellite dish. Up until now users required separate dishes. The dish is three inches bigger than before, but it points at different satellites for TV and internet services. Hughes’s satellite system downloads at up to 400 kbps, but uploads at whatever speed users systems and their Internet Service Providers can support. Existing DirecTV customers can upgrade with a DirecPC card and DirecDuo antenna for $600. The set-top box would not need to be changed. The complete package from scratch costs $900 to $1,000. And existing DirecPC customers will also need to spend $600 to upgrade. All the prices are Hughes’ recommendations, and are likely to be lower in stores. The company has also a new internet access package for lighter home users, called Moon surfer II. It offers unlimited access at weekends and evening at speeds of up to 200kbps for $20 per month, plus $0.80 per megabyte during the day. The current Moon surfer package costs $40 per month and offers access at up to 400kbps, plus the same daytime charge. Meanwhile, the telecommunications and space division of Hughes Electronics Corp saw operating losses fall 29.5% to $40.2m in the second quarter, on revenues that soared 72.1% to $1.62bn, but including a $489.7m pre-tax gain from the acquisition of PanAmSat and its four satellites. The growth of the DirecTV in the US and Latin America was partially offset by lower sales of wireless telecommunications products. DirecTV subscribers totaled 2.6m in the US at the end of June.

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