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DirecTV, the nation’s largest satcaster with 7.5 million subscribers, said Tuesday that it will take to the skies this fall, with plans to begin airing 24 channels of live programming on three airlines.

DirecTV made the announcement at the World Airline Entertainment Assn. trade show in Salt Lake City.

Satcaster plans to offer up to 24 inflight channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, Bloomberg Television, the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, the Learning Channel, the Weather Channel, CNNfn, ZDTV and Animal Planet.

Airline passengers will be able to view the programming on flat TV screens built into the back of seats.

Initially, DirecTV Airborne will bow on select aircraft from Alaska Airlines and two startups, Legend Airlines and JetBlue Airways. However, DirecTV hopes to ink deals with other airlines if the system proves popular.

LiveTV, a joint venture between Harris Corp., a satellite communications provider, and Sextant In-Flight Systems, will supply the equipment.

DirecTV already provides programming to private jets through its DirecTV Airborne Office Choice service, which includes more than 55 networks, premium movie webs and sports channels.