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DirecTV’s GameSearch Helps Viewers Find Blacked-Out Games

5/23/2008 10:45 AM Eastern

DirecTV is helping frustrated fans find local blacked-out games with GameSearch, a new search engine-based technology.

When a DirecTV receiver is tuned-in to a channel with a blacked-out game, GameSearch recognizes the blackout and immediately looks to see if the game is on another channel.

Sports blackouts occur when a sporting event isn’t televised in a certain market to protect the teams, the sports leagues, and the stations, which are the rights-holders to the game broadcast.

“Blackouts have always been the bane of sports fans and while we can't make them go away, we can be the first to make it easier for fans, who have been left in the dark, to find their game if it's being broadcast on another channel," DirecTV executive vice president of entertainment Eric Shanks said in a prepared statement. “Like our HD and interactive services, GameSearch is another DirecTV technological innovation developed in response to what our customers want and what will provide them with the ultimate viewing experience."

GameSearch will automatically recognize when a DirecTV receiver is tuned-in to a channel with a sports blackout. The search engine will immediately scan the DirecTV channel lineup to find alternative channels that may be broadcasting the blacked-out game.

If a non-blacked-out broadcast of the game is found, GameSearch displays an on-screen message giving the viewer the option to tune in to that channel. If a non-blacked out version is not available, an on-screen message will let the viewer know the game is not available. When a game is scheduled to be recorded on a DVR, GameSearch will find the game that is not in black-out and automatically record it.

The GameSearch technology is free of charge to DirecTV customers and is now available to those with the company's HD DVR HR20 and HR21 receivers, as well as the just-released R22 SD DVR. Later this year the service will be rolled out to basic DVRS and next year to HD receivers.

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