Just a few weeks after Dish Network announced that it would offer 1080p on-demand movies, it looks like DirecTV is getting ready to match them. According to Scott Greczkowski's blog on Multichannel News, DirecTV is currently running a beta test that allows subscribers to download 1080p on-demand movies as well. Here's the relevant snippet:
I am not sure if the 1080p movie was coming from the satellite or if it was being downloaded over the internet. I do know that when I checked my DVR list the next morning the movie The Bucket List was there waiting for me. I quickly moved my HR-20 and hooked it up to my 1080p compatible Samsung TV in my bedroom and watched for a few moments. Again, the picture quality was amazing. I didn't have time to sit and watch this movie again (I saw this movies before, it was a great movie) but what I saw impressed me. There is no word from DirecTV when 1080p services will be rolled out to consumers, but from what I saw it worked and worked well.
We have to admit, we're a little skeptical that 1080p content from either provider is going to be responsible for a big increase in image quality. As others have said, resolution isn't nearly as important as the bit rate-- and Apple TV technically sell HD movies at 720p resolution, but high-def aficionados can tell it's more like high-def lite. We've got a couple of HR-20s in CNET Labs, so we'll let you know if the 1080p on-demand content lives up to the hype, once its available on our boxes.