Archives For Satellite TV

tivo-slays-dish

After decades of DVR patent litigation, the court’s most recent decision has forced EchoStar (SATS) and DISH Network into a $500 million settlement with TiVo. Above and beyond the court-sanctioned penalty of $100+ million paid in 2008.

As the story goes, TiVo approached DISH way back when to partner and dropped off an early DVR for evaluation. Well, a deal didn’t get done and that DVR was never seen (by TiVo) again. Yet the underlying tech was reverse engineered, finding its way into EchoStar’s own DVR offerings. And, thus, TiVo filed suit. It’s been a long and winding road. Including a sleep-inducing visit to the US Courts of Appeals by yours truly. While most other corporate entities would probably have settled sooner at a smaller cost, DISH/Echo CEO Charlie’s Ergen’s strategy appears to have been dragging litigation out as long as possible until they either caught a lucky break or TiVo ceases to exist. Heck, TiVo challenged the courts to do the right thing and wrap this up in a timely fashion. It didn’t happen, DISH/Echo were found in contempt (again), and here we are. $500 million isn’t the $1 billion (!) TiVo was posturing for. However, for a company that has very rarely found profitability by actually selling its own product, this is a huge windfall and the respective parties can finally put it to bed. Assuming the courts let them.

Some details of the settlement from a joint announcement: Continue Reading…

directv-survey

DirecTV (DTV) hit up some of their customers today with a web survey. A very interesting web survey. As it’s nearly all about Netflix (NFLX) – usage patterns, both physical discs and online streaming. Most intriguing is revelation of a DirecTV “concept” that would provide a “Netflix-like service” to existing satellite television subscribers:

In this next section, we would like you to evaluate a new service that DIRECTV is thinking about offering to their customers. DIRECTV plans to offer a streaming-only Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month, which would appear as a line item on your monthly bill.

  • The service would allow you to stream thousands of movies and television shows over a broadband internet connection to your television, computer or tablet.
  • The content available would likely be past season of current shows as well as older TV series and older movie released (released more than 5 years ago).
  • You could watch as many programs as you want for one flat monthly efe, similar to what Netflix streaming offers.

Continue Reading…

DISH Network has won the bankruptcy court auction of Blockbuster in a transaction valued at $320 million. Although they’ll surely invest much more as they attempt a turn around of the sullied but “highly recognizable” brand.

At first blush, their play struck me as highly bizarre. However, acquiring a streaming video solution and 1,700 brick & mortar outposts is potentially cheaper and certainly quicker than starting from scratch. And you know DISH intends to leverage their new storefront as a means of marketing satellite service when the deal closes in the next month or so. Although Blockbuster didn’t previously seem to have much success reselling TiVo or the PS3.

Lastly, DISH has been picking up spectrum and could conceivably make a cell phone or broadband play… and perhaps Blockbuster is where one would acquire a DISH Network cellphone as part of a triple play?

DirecTV iPad App Now Available

Dave Zatz —  February 28, 2011 — 6 Comments

After a mere 5 day tease, DirecTV is out with their free Apple iPad app. DBSTalk has produced a multi-page overview, which you can peruse above, and also kindly provided the screengrabs below.

Given its size, I find the iPad cumbersome as a full-time remote replacement. Yet, like TiVo’s iPad app, DirecTV has rounded out the experience with additional info and features that potentially make it a compelling couch-side companion. While there doesn’t appear to be as much in-depth content info as found within the TiVo iPad app, the DirecTV app is customizable and provides a dedicated sports section… with live scores. For maximum functionality, including the virtual remote control and access to remote scheduling, you’ll need a broadband-connected DirecTV Plus HD DVR (models HR20, HR21, HR22, HR23, HR24 and H21, H23, H24).

More details and pics can be found on DirecTV’s site and Engadget has posted the press release. Or just hit the App Store to check it out for yourself.

directv-tivo

As we’re about out of runway for an “early 2011” launch and in light of DirecTV’s recent communique possibly suggesting the schedule has slipped again, I’ve been directed to DBStalk for details on the new DirecTV TiVo experience.

Now I can’t vouch for the info from the forums, but there appear to be multiple data points. Which seem to suggest DirecTV TiVo prototype hardware is based on the vintage Thomson HR22-100. And supposedly there it is in the photograph above. (Technicolor was previously disclosed as the manufacturer… and was once known as Thomson.)

As with most engineering initiatives, project timelines slip, slide around. Of course, adding a partner company to the mix adds complexity. In fact, you may want to check out Megazone’s thoughts on potential scope creep and the guilty party. Yet, discussion seems to suggest that the new DirecTV TiVo, as currently implemented, runs the classic TiVo UI and lacks multi-room viewing. Which brings us to timing…

As recently as last month, speculation suggested an April launch. However, the current thought is we’re on for a June or July release. But given the history of this project, originally slated for a 2009 release, there’s not much point in reading these particular tea leaves. It’ll arrive when it arrives. However, if the new DirecTV TiVo has indeed been further delayed, I hope the time is put to good use by applying the Virginized TiVo interface and implementing DirecTV’s multi-room viewing experience.