DIRECTV demonstrated what it claimed to be the world’s first live MPEG-4 high-definition transmission via satellite at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The advanced video compression scheme will be used by DIRECTV to expand its video offer by launching hundreds of local and national HD channels later this year and in 2007.

The company will continue to use MPEG-2 for standard definition broadcasts and will eventually convert all existing HD customers to MPEG-4.

“This is the most advanced transmission in the world, mapping out a bold new path for the delivery of HDTV via satellite to every consumer in America,” said Romulo Pontual, chief technology officer for the DIRECTV group.

In September 2004 DIRECTV announced plans for the carriage of 1,500 local and 150 national high-definition channels over the next two years via four new satellites. The satellites are now under construction and two will be launched early in 2005.