Cable Gets Dished

As receivers shrink and channels multiply, direct-to-home satellites pose a fresh challenge to cable TV

They have been around for a couple of decades, clunky-looking status symbols from an era before Al Gore had even heard of the information highway. The sight of a 6-ft. satellite dish on the front lawn traditionally signaled one of two things: here is a house so far away from civilization that the cable company won't even bother coming, or here is a homeowner rich enough to afford the most expensive toy in the media supermarket.

That is changing fast. Direct-to-home satellite broadcasting is making a fresh bid for a share of the television market -- not just people in the...

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