DISH NetworkDIRECTV, do you hear those footsteps behind you? That's the sound of DISH Network starting to pick up steam in the MPEG-4 and HDTV race. Echostar's newest satellite, named Echostar X, lifts off courtesy of Lockheed-Martin on Wednesday of this week. These satellite names leave a bit to be desired, but we weren't asked our opinions; Echostar: we'd be happy to run an HDBeat contest to name your next one.

The new A2100 sat will work at 110-degrees and west, showering consumers with more DTV and HDTV goodness, no doubt part of DISH's plan to expand high-def local availability. It generally takes a few weeks to get the new sats up in their geo-synchronous orbit, so don't start looking for new channels this week.

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Echostar X satellite launches this week