Satellite TV's special circumstances are history

27 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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For more than 20 years, satellite television companies have gotten a pass on many of the federal regulations that apply to their cable competitors. There was a lot of righteous rhetoric in those days about why Direct Broadcast Satellite was unique and should be allowed to live by different rules. But the underlying thinking was that satellite companies were small, cable companies were big and it was in everyone’s interest to foster a competitive alternative.

Those assumptions no longer hold.… More

DISH hops in late to California's Charter party

21 January 2016 by Steve Blum
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DISH, the only independent direct broadcast satellite company in the U.S., has been trying to scuttle Charter Communications’ purchase of Time Warner’s and Bright House’s cable systems. Up until today, it’s focused its efforts on the Federal Communications Commission’s review of the deal. Now, though, in kind of a daddy’s not sure, go ask mommy move, it’s asking the California Public Utilities Commission for permission to get into the proceeding here.

In its filing, DISH says it fears Charter will use its control of the high speed broadband market to kill off competition…

This transaction would permit and motivate the combined company (“New Charter”) to hurt or destroy online video rivals, including the Sling TV over-the- top video service [owned by DISH], through its control over the broadband pipe…

This transaction will create a duopoly in the market for high-speed broadband service (defined as 25 Mbps and above), as it will result in two broadband providers – New Charter and Comcast – controlling about 90 percent of the nation’s high-speed broadband homes between them.


DISH is first to complete the 4K product-content-distribution loop

6 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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Any 4K you have.

Like HDTV before it, 4K ultra high definition television programming will enter the U.S. consumer mainstream via satellite. At its CES press conference yesterday, DISH Network announced that it will soon offer the 4K Joey. That’s what it calls its new set top box that streams satellite-delivered UHD channels to any 4K-capable television. Content availability, though, is less clear. According to the company…

DISH will deliver 4K content from several providers.


Sling TV offers traditional channels via broadband for $20 a month

5 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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Best of all, no cable company.
Roger Lynch, CEO Sling TV

Targeting the millennial generation, Sling TV – a sister company of DISH Network – announced it will offer a line up of 25 to 30 traditional cable channels via broadband for $20 per month, with no commitment or contract, beginning later this month.

“All you need is a credit card and a broadband connection”, said DISH CEO Joe Clayton. The channels can be streamed on pretty much any device you have: mobile phone, tablet, PC, smart TV and, crucially, streaming devices made by other online television providers like Netflix or Hulu.… More

DISH hops out fighting

7 January 2013 by Steve Blum
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Joe Clayton takes a combative stance.

“If skipping commercials is illegal, I guess we're all just a nation of outlaws,” said Joe Clayton, DISH CEO. He was speaking at a CES press conference today, defending the AutoHop feature on DISH's Hopper set top boxes and calling for change. Change in the pay TV business model, change in the attitudes of networks and change in industry attitudes towards consumers.

Clayton was positioning himself as a consumer advocate, saying the industry was moving toward “a tipping point” on programming costs.… More

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.