Film and television studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer unveiled plans on Tuesday to launch a high-definition television channel this fall on the DirecTV satellite service with a mix of movies and original programs.
The channel is MGM's first stand-alone HD service in the United States and it marks a major expansion for the studio.
For DirecTV, the deal helps bolster content for its plans to roll out 100 new HD channels by the end of this year.
The high-definition digital TV standard is expected to be a major growth opportunity. U.S. officials are mandating a switch from analog to digital signals and HD is widely seen as being adopted over lower quality standard definition, or SD.
Moreover, satellite and cable TV providers are expected to promote HD heavily to boost their own subscriber growth. The number of U.S. homes receiving HD signals is expected to reach as high as 40 million by 2012, researchers forecast.
MGM owns a library of more than 4,100 movies and the company already has converted 1,200 titles to HD. Beyond replaying old movies, the MGM Channel is expected to provide original shows such as behind-the-scenes tales from making new movies or live coverage of red carpet premieres.