New day at DISH

9 January 2012 by Steve Blum
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The Direct Broadcast Satellite pioneer has a new management team, new logo and new products. The core of the company is still satellite television, but there’s a more coherent and seamless integration of the company’s other offerings, such as satellite radio, DVRs, Blockbuster movies and more.

Joe Clayton has firmly taken over the helm from founder Charlie Ergen. He’s brought over some key players from the team that launched what is now known as DirecTv. Back in 1994, Joe led RCA when it joined with United States Satellite Broadcasting and Hughes’ DirecTv unit to launch DSS – the Digital Satellite System.
Ergen launched DISH a year and a half later. It’s now the world’s largest independent satellite television company, but still shows its maverick roots. Less so, though, now that Clayton has banished the traditional casual shirts with DISH logos and put his team into suits and ties, old school RCA style.
Clayton only slipped once today, referring to DISH as RCA. But he was the same uber-salesman, walking into the press conference carrying a live, baby kangaroo (their new flagship products are called Hopper and Joey, represented by kangaroo mascots).
The Hopper satellite receiver is a home video hub, and the Joey is a thin client that connects to it. Several Joeys can connect to a Hopper, allowing subscribers to watch 4 different shows in four different rooms, while recording a half dozen shows simultaneously on the integrated DVR.
Hopper is based on a 750 MHz Broadcom 7420 chip and comes with a 2 TB hard drive. It supports MOCA, ZigBee, Bluetooth and RF4CE connectivity, and interfaces with DISH’s Sling service, which allows viewing on a variety of devices. It also supports photo sharing, satellite radio, Pandora and personal music collections. And, of course, Blockbuster Internet video.
Clayton wrapped it up by previewing an upcoming satellite broadband service, offered in conjunction with ViaSat and using new satellite capacity due to be launched this summer. The satellite data service is specced at up to 12 Mbps will be bundled with subscription TV packages. Starting price point is $79.99.