Penalties of up to $16,000 could be assessed for each call
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided that Dish Network is liable for making 57 million phone calls in flagrant violation of telemarketing laws, including calling members of the "Do Not Call" list established by the US Government. A trial has been set for July in Illinois, with penalties of up to $16,000 possible for each violation. The Department of Justice filed the complaint at the FTC's request in March 2009. The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, is jointly litigating the case with four state co-plaintiffs -- California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina.
New service highlighted by ESPN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network
Dish today announced specifics of its Internet television service. The new pay-as-you-go service, known as Sling TV, includes ABC Family, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, and the Travel Channel. However, possibly the biggest draw for the nascent service is ESPN and ESPN2. Initial compatibility is the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Roku, select smart TVs, and Amazon Fire TV products, including the Fire Stick. Apps will be made available for Android, and iOS, with compatibility with the Apple TV provided through AirPlay.
Google adds Colbert Report set to Street View using Business View
Google has recreated the set of The Colbert Report in Street View, in honor of the show's last episode. The virtual tour of the studio, including around the main desk and interview area, was created by Business View, a service which uses a Google-certified photographer or agency to take photographs at a location before generating the explorable 360-degree images.
Sprint merger appears dead; Dish and France's Iliad expected to bid
Parent company of T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, has reportedly put a price to a possible acquisition. According to industry sources familiar with the matter, the company will entertain offers and begin discussions of a potential merger for a bid between $35 and $40 per share, more than $5 per share than its current offering price of $29.84.
Broadcasting company tried to use Aereo ruling to force a preliminary injunction
Days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of broadcasting companies in the Aereo case, Fox Broadcasting attempted to use the judgment as fuel in a case against Dish Network. Stating that there were large similarities between the devices, Fox believed the defense Dish raised no longer held up. In an opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the judges sitting on the case upheld the lower court's ruling against Fox, as the panel of judges failed to be convinced of the alleged connection.
Simultaneous recording of four broadcast, four user's choice channels
Dishtoday announced that an add-on to the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR platform is available today, increasing the tuner capacity of the Hopper experience. Dish's Super Joey adds two network tuners to the Hopper's three native tuners, allowing a household to record up to eight shows simultaneously.
Move likely used to bolster nationwide cell offerings by Dish
The first round of FCC wireless bandwidth auctions has concluded, with the Dish Network purchasing all of the 1,900MHz license nearly uncontested. With nearly no competition, Dish shelled out $1.6 billion for the acquisition under the cover of a shell company, as expected.
Channel-skipping feature disabled for 72 hours after initial broadcast
The Walt Disney Company and Dish Network Corporation today announced a long-term distribution agreement that will provide Dish customers with access to Disney-owned programming. The distribution agreement grants Dish rights to content from the ABC-owned broadcast stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, as part of an Internet delivered, IP-based multichannel offering -- but with a catch for the consumer. Under the terms of the deal, users must wait three days before being able to skip commercials on new programming saved by the Hopper DVR.
Auction of 10MHz airwaves expected to fetch at least $1.6B
The Federal Communications Commission has started its first major wireless spectrum auction in six years, with more auctions set to occur over the next 24 months. The Wall Street Journal reports today's auction will be for H-block spectrum, a block of 10MHz paired airwaves which is expected to be sold for at least $1.6 billion, with Dish Network likely to be the biggest winner.
LightSquared acquisition failure follows similar Clearwire, Sprint attempts
Dish Network will soon be ending a bid to acquire LightSquared, according to a report. The proposal, originally placed in May last year and said to be worth $2.2 billion, would have seen the satellite TV provider take control of LightSquared's L-band satellite spectrum and potentially use it for an LTE cellular network, though this is apparently no longer going to happen.
Blockbuster tweets the end of in-store movie rentals
Nostalgic movie lovers may want to take notice, as Blockbuster has announced that Saturday, November 9, will be the last day on which its stores will provide movie rentals. Ahead of its imminent shutdown, Blockbuster tweeted notification of the cessation of its in-store rental service, asking customers what their last rentals will be. A follow-up tweet directed customers to the company's Frequently Asked Questions page in order to address any concerns about their accounts as the company prepares to go under.
DISH offers in-flight iPad loans for select Southwest Airlines flights
Dish and Southwest Airlines have announced the release of in-flight iPad 2 borrowing, with content from its "Watch TV on the Fly" libraries. iPad loaning is available on WiFi-enabled flights, such as those departing from Chicago-Midway, Denver, and Oakland International Airports. Guests can 'check out' an iPad for their flight, and can try out Dish's Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR and sign up for Dish home service if desired. TV content can be enjoyed during the flight, and the iPad 2 is then returned to the destination airport's corresponding Southwest library.
Dish API allows full control of Hopper DVR by home automation systems
Dish today announced plans to integrate Control4 home automation technology with its Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR system. As a result, the Hopper platform will soon be controlled by the Control4 system commonly found both in high-end and mainstream home automation installations. Dish will implement Control4’s Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), making it even easier for automation installers to fully integrate the capabilities of the Dish Hopper receiver and service.
Dish pleased about 'consumer choice'-friendly ruling by judge
A ruling by the US District Court for the Central District of California has handed Dish another court victory in just a handful of days regarding its Hopper digital video recorder technology. Fox Broadcasting has been denied a preliminary injunction on the Hopper's "Dish Anywhere" place shifting technology, as well as "Hopper Transfers" which can load DVR content on an iPad or other mobile device.
New bid eclipses Dish offer, shareholder date shifted
In response to Dish Network's latest $4.40 per share bid for Clearwire, Sprint Nextel grew its offer for the company to $5 per share. The move was immediately responded to by Clearwire changing its recommendation in favor of the newest offer, and signaled a shareholder vote for July 8, versus the old date of June 24.
Sprint likely to merge with Japanese carrier SoftBank
Merger talks between Dish Network and Sprint seem to have come to an impasse. According to sources familiar with the matter, a number of disagreements have scuttled the multi-billion dollar deal -- including several reverse-breakup fees payable if the takeover failed to achieve regulatory approval. Sprint claims that Dish failed to generate an "actionable" bid for the company. The inability to make a deal puts the matter back into SoftBank's hands, which had offered $21.6 billion to acquire Sprint, America's fourth-largest cellular network carrier, in October.
Masayoshi Son places $20.1B SoftBank offer above $25.5B rival bid
The CEO of SoftBank believes there is no need to change the Japanese carrier's offer to Sprint, following a secondary offer from Dish Network. Masayoshi Son, also the founder of the company, told the audience of an earnings briefing "There is absolutely no need for that since we believe our offer is above theirs."
Judge: insufficient evidence proving Hopper DVR damaging Fox
Judge Dolly Gee of the US District Court of the Central District of California ruled today that the Dish Network ad-skipping feature and automatic recording feature found in the Hopper digital video recorder system can continue to be sold and marketed. According to the ruling, Fox Broadcasting didn't demonstrate sufficient damages from the features to justify a preliminary injunction before a full trial can take place.
Service hopes to bring broadband to rural US
Dish Network is set to launch its nationwide satellite broadband service in the US. Called dishNET, the service is a collaboration between Dish, ViaSat and Hughes, and hopes to offer the 14.5 million rural residents under-served by DSL and cable internet providers a satellite broadband connection, claimed to be as high as 10Mbps.
Satellite company asks FCC for extension
Dish Network has warned the Federal Communications Commission that it may not be able to meet initial deployment goals for its LTE-Advanced network until 2016 or later. In a filing with the FCC (PDF), the satellite company is asking regulators to modify their official guidelines to accomodate a lengthier buildout schedule.
Auto Hop will skip commercials but only on recorded programs
Dish's Hopper and Joey DVR hubs have just been upgraded with a new feature called Auto Hop. It lets users automatically skip commercials on recorded shows with the press of a single button, though there are some restrictions. For example, only primetime HD programs on ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC are supported, and they need to start at 1:00AM.
Gives subscribers access to 900,000 tracks
Earlier today, Dish Network introduced streaming music service Pandora as an enhancement to the Hopper Whole Home HD digital video recorder (DVR) system. Either a new account or an existing account can be used with the upgrade. A persistent internet connection is required to access Pandora content.
TiVo tries to hold off Motorola suit with its own
TiVo picked an SEC filing to disclose that it had fired back against a 2011 Motorola lawsuit with one of its own. The new complaint, which also includes Motorola customer Time Warner Cable, accuses the two of violating its key Time Warp patents, including for simultaneous DVR recording and watching, converting TV to digital video, and performing functions on a live stream. The filing, as it wasn't a court document, was short on details.
Hub leases for $10/month with basic packages
Dish Network has reportedly begun selling its Hopper whole-home DVR system, which was first unveiled early this year at CES. The system centers around the Hopper, a set-top box that integrates a 2TB drive, and smaller 'Joey' units that serve as extenders to distribute the video throughout a home.
Dish completes buyout of TerreStar, DBSD
Dish Network has now completed its court-approved purchases of satellite operators TerreStar and DBSD. The satellite TV provider plans to use the operators' wireless licenses to offer 4G cellular access and thus compete with cable TV and phone companies. This would be a first for a satellite provider, as they can't provide Internet access to many homes and when they can, the speeds aren't as fast as those offered by cable providers.
FCC says Dish must wait on 4G waiver
The FCC on Friday delayed a decision whether or not Dish could get a waiver for a satellite-free version of its proposed 4G phone network. The agency decided that the "rulemaking process" was necessary for the public good. It didn't give details of when a decision was expected, although claims by a pair of Reuters sources had a decision targeted for the end of the year.
Dish CEO positive on cellphones if FCC clears it
Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen believed his company had an 80 percent shot at succeeding with its potential 4G phone network. It hinged on the FCC giving the LTE network a waiver to run, but he called it both a core part of Dish's plans. Cellphone service could even be a "transformative strategy," Ergen said.
FCC may intervene on Dish, AT&T stoush
Dish is facing opposition from AT&T on its plans to develop a 4G LTE-Advanced mobile broadband network to complement its existing satellite TV and other services. It has petitioned the FCC on the matter, arguing that AT&T is pushing for an ‘overly aggressive and unrealistic schedule’ for its suggested build-out time frames. Dish argues that such conditions would ‘set Dish up for failure or force Dish into unfavorable business arrangements.’
Dish hints willingness to talk carrier deals
Dish in responses to speculation has said it's open to deals that might see a carrier deal. CEO Joe Clayton disclosed to Bloomberg late last week that the company "could be acquired or... could be the acquirer" and was willing to entertain options. While a spokesman wouldn't address speculation about carrier acqusitions, Clayton had previously remarked that Dish would be willing to talk to T-Mobile and possibly other carriers.
Dish Hopper gets our run-through at CES
Dish Network had an unusually strong presence at CES this year and gave us time to try its new Hopper DVR system. The three-tuner box is one of the more aggressive recorders we've seen and can record as many as six shows at once through a unique trick: it loads the four major US TV networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) on one tuner during prime time hours. It's hard to tell if there's any compression artifacts from the recorded shows on those networks, but it looked good in the controlled conditions of the CES floor.
ATT makes no progress on T-Mo asset sale offers
AT&T isn't making any progress in its attempts to sell T-Mobile assets to rescue its attempted buyout of T-Mobile, insiders uncovered Sunday. Discussions with smaller carriers have reportedly "gone cold," the Wall Street Journal heard. Among other problems, attempts to sell assets to Leap for its Cricket service fell as doubts existed that even this could salvage AT&T's proposed T-Mobile merger.
Would also want assets if divestiture required
Dish Network has indicated that it might be interested in acquiring assets from either AT&T or T-Mobile if their proposed $39 billion merger fails to go through. This insight came from Dish's CEO Joseph Clayton in an interview with Bloomberg. Dish has already expressed interest in acquiring customers and spectrum if US regulators require AT&T to divest any such assets in order to allow the deal to be completed.
Dish may use streaming to cut expensive TV
Dish is contemplating a TV streaming service that could be an end-run around costs for traditional TV, according to possible new leaks. The strategy as explained to the Wall Street Journal would see channels from "several" studios licensed for paid streaming online to help make it cheaper to adopt Dish's TV service. Some of the cost would come from excising sports channels it's normally required to carry from the cheapest Internet pricing plans, as they often cost disproportionately much more than other stations.
Yahoo rumored jumping ship from Hulu deals
Yahoo is reportedly out of the increasingly uncertain bidding process for Hulu, a claimed leak said late Sunday. The search engine has allegedly been identified by the WSJ sources as the original mystery bidder but also to have exited entirely. The internal turmoil following Carol Bartz' firing and the possibility of a sell-off were attributed to the departure.
Hulu owners may back out of sale after low bids
Earlier rumors of Hulu going back on its decision to sell itself off are proving true, two sources have told SAI. The bids, while they are still rolling in, aren't as high as initially hoped. Hulu's parent companies are reportedly looking for $2 billion for the online service.
Dish looking for mobile carrier partner: CEO
The CEO of Dish Network, Joseph Clayton, said in an interview on Monday that the company could be looking into partnering or acquiring a wireless carrier. He floated to Bloomberg the prospect of getting either Sprint or Clearwire. The Dish executive admitted, however, that his company also need to secure wireless infrastructure, more technological capabilities, and distribution.
Blockbuster Movie Pass gives perks for satellite
Dish Network made a bet on Internet video Friday with Blockbuster Movie Pass. The service bundles satellite TV with mailed movie, TV, and game rentals as well as Internet streaming. Pitched as a rival to Netflix and Qwikster, it takes advantage of the Blockbuster rights and TV streaming to give a wider catalog of Internet video; 10,000 movies in total will stream to TVs and computers, including from Starz and others who have held out on Netflix to shelter their TV business.
Dish and Blockbuster hint big movie bundle Sept 23
Dish's ambitions for a major Internet movie service were confirmed late Monday after the company sent invitations to a special event for Friday, September 23. The "stream come true" gathering in San Francisco will be broadcast online from 1PM Eastern that day. Little is known about the exact details, but the satellite TV provider was confident it would have the "most comprehensive home entertainment package ever."
Google may try for very special Hulu bid
Google's bid for Hulu may involve a much more elaborate prospect than anyone else, insiders gave out Tuesday. Amazon, Dish, and Yahoo are all offering conventional bids of up to $2 billion, but Google is now thought to have said "there's enough money" for a much more involved deal. Tips to AllThingsD didn't identify what the intentions were, but the amount was enough that Hulu would have normally thrown it out were it not for the cash involved.
Dish plans Internet video push with Hulu, more
Dish Network is planning a big push into direct competition with Apple, Netflix, and other big Internet video services through its acquisitions, two leaks showed Friday. One scoop had it one of just three companies clearing the
Dish now near certain buyer for TerreStar
Dish Network's hopes to buy out TerreStar may have come true as reports have surfaced Tuesday that it's now the only bidder for the satellite smartphone creator. A deadline Monday night has passed with only a nearly $1.38 billion bid from Dish still around, giving it a near-certain win. Cellular carrier MetroPCS had considered a bid to get much-needed wireless spectrum, Reuters says, but has since backed out for unknown reasons.
Dish and EchoStar pay 500m to settle with TiVo
Dish Network and its parent EchoStar started the month of May by reaching a settlement deal with TiVo. Following the loss of its last appeal in a finding of contempt, Dish and EchoStar said they would pay TiVo a total of $500 million to end all lawsuits and end trade bans on DVRs. About $300 million would be paid up front, while the remaining $200 million would be paid between 2012 and 2017.
Appeals court tosses EchoStar contempt for TiVo
EchoStar on Wednesday lost its case in a Federal Court of Appeals to try and overturn a contempt ruling in favor of TiVo. The court upheld a decision that EchoStar's Dish satellite TV DVRs were breaking a permanent ban on violating TiVo patents even after changes were made to the hardware. EchoStar is expected to pay a $300 million fine that it had reversed in May of last year.
Dish will leave 500 Blockbuster stores open
Dish Network, which has recently announced the purchase of Blockbuster, has now said it would take on leases for about 500 of the video-rental's stores as of Tuesday. The papers were filed this past weekend with the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, with a hearing planned for Thursday. After recent store closings, Blockbuster now has nearly 1,700 stores operating in the US.
Judge approves Dish buyout of Blockbuster
A bankruptcy court judge on Thursday gave approval to Dish's buyout of Blockbuster. The clearance for the $320 million deal was needed before the two could complete the deal, which has now been narrowed down from spring to April 25. Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes said he was happy with the deal, in part since Dish would keep business mostly intact and take over many leases and the on-the-spot DVD rental kiosks.
Dish snaps up Blockbuster for 320m
Dish said Wednesday that it had won an auction to buy Blockbuster. The satellite TV provider said it had offered $320 million, about $228 million of which was in cash, to beat out competitors like investor Carl Icahn and SK Telecom. Bids had gotten as high as $310.6 million, from Icahn, before Dish landed the final price.
Dish and Icahn part of bidding for Blockbuster
The bidding to buy out Blockbuster now includes Dish Network and well-known activist investor Carl Icahn, insiders claimed Friday. The two are both supposedly making just the minimum bid, around $290 million, to qualify for the auction before it starts in earnest on Monday. The WSJ in scraping information was warned that new bidders could come into play or make unions with each other.
Deal said to be worth $1 billion
Dish Network has announced that it will attempt to acquire DBSD North America, a satellite communications company that has been involved in ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The deal will reportedly cost approximately $1 billion, including an $87.5 million commitment as a debtor-in-possession credit facility to help bring the company out of bankruptcy protection ahead of the formal purchase.
Motorola plans video media hub for mobile devices
Motorola at the Reuters Global Media Summit Wednesday said it would have a media hub at the CES expo in January. Motorola Mobility president Dan Moloney explained that the device would stream video with a mobile focus, primarily to smartphones and tablets. The unnamed hardware would be offered through service providers and would get its content from outside the home rather than from other nearby devices.
Dish live TV viewing app reaches iPad
Dish Network today formally launched a new version of its Remote Access app for the iPad (free, App Store) to enable the promised live TV viewing option. Those with either the Sling Adapter on a ViP 722 series DVR or a ViP 922 Slingloaded DVR can watch their satellite TV from any high speed Internet connection, including on a sufficiently fast 3G link. Dish didn't mention what quality it would be, although standard definition is more likely.