DirectTV will commission its first MPEG-4 services in the summer of 2005, marking the first use of the new high definition compression technology by a North American direct broadcast satellite television provider.

Tandberg Television has confirmed that it has been selected to provide the encoding technology in a deal valued at more than $9 million.

“We are proud to be the first to market with this technology and an integral part of the first North American advanced encoding system for HDTV,” said Eric Cooney, chief executive of Tandberg Television.

DIRECTV demonstrated its planned HD video services using the system at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

DIRECTV will launch four new satellites over the next three years to increase the number of local and national high-definition channels it carries. The first two satellites will launch in 2005 with the capacity for more than 500 local high-definition channels. The next two satellites will launch in 2007 with the capacity for an additional 1000 local high-definition channels and more than 150 national channels of high-definition television.