Archives For Satellite TV

DirecTV Samsung 4K

This probably isn’t the year to buy an Ultra HD TV for that special holiday someone. Despite nearly-reasonable prices ($1400 for this Samsung 55-incher), there just isn’t a lot of 4K content yet to enjoy on a new TV.

However, if you’re dead set on the idea, there’s good news coming at you from DirecTV. The satellite provider has started to deliver 4K content to Samsung TVs that are paired up with the Genie HD DVR. Initially, the 4K catalog only includes nature documentaries along with 19 movies from Paramount Pictures and K2 Communications. But DirecTV says there are “more titles to be announced soon.”

DirecTV also makes a point of noting that it is “the first multi-channel video provider to offer 4K Ultra HD programming direct to customers’ TVs.” Back at CES in January, Comcast said it would launch a 4K app for Samsung TVs before the end of the year, but that’s looking less and less likely by the day. Bet we’ll have more announcements at CES 2015!

echostar-sage

After a several years of TV-centric home automation tech demos at CES, Echostar got serious and recently unveiled “Sage” – their “secure” take on the space and presumably targeted to siblings partners like DISH and overseas providers, versus selling direct to consumers à la Staples Connect or Smarthings.

From the Rethink Technology Research newsletter:

EchoStar is planning on expanding its set top range firmly into the smart home with the new Sage home controller and device ecosystem. […] The box itself contains ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth Low Energy and WiFi radios. […] With a single push the UI would pop up onto the screen and shrink the TV picture into the top right quarter. […] The back end architecture is all based on the existing Sling infrastructure that EchoStar already has in place, and there are plans to add the Sage tag to other Dish products.

Beyond their HDMI-out hub and third party device support, Echostar just passed their own wireless doorbell, light switch module and home automation dongle through the FCC. Continue Reading…

By way of the TiVo Community and an FCC filing, we learn that TiVo has petitioned the powers that be for access to customers of a combined AT&T and DirecTV – should the merger be approved (now with NFL in the bag). And they do make a compelling argument… including drawing a clever parallel to Ma Bell (which is entirely unrelated to the current entity in anything other than name).

Any FCC action approving the merger of the leading DBS MVPD and the leading IPTV MVPD must require that the merged company comply meaningfully and effectively with existing law, including Section 629’s obligation to support commercial competitive devices.

If the merger is allowed, the merged company, in addition to being the largest MVPD, will be the only MVPD to supply programming and services via both direct satellite and wired transmissions. With its national scope, the new AT&T will in certain respects resemble the original AT&T system — a system that was required to open its network to device competition under the Commission

Further, TiVo doesn’t pull any punches in regards to DirecTV, leading us to wonder if their current partnership has soured in some way. TiVo has previously indicated discontent in regards to DTV’s decision to develop and deploy the prior TiVo experience…

TiVo’s experience with DIRECTV has shown that technical access to programming has not been a stumbling block to the use of retail devices. Device competition has been constrained, instead, by DIRECTV’s business objective of controlling the relevant device market, in a manner contrary to the intent of Section 629 and Commission regulations.

DISH Hops onto PS3 with $7/Mo Virtual Joey App

AT&T To Acquire DirecTV

Dave Zatz —  May 19, 2014

As widely rumored, AT&T has formally announced their intention to purchase DirecTV for $95/share.

This purchase price implies a total equity value of $48.5 billion and a total transaction value of $67.1 billion, including DIRECTV’s net debt.

While this transaction, should it be approved, would result in one of the largest pay television providers, I see it largely as a defensive maneuver on AT&T’s part in an industry where they should be on the offensive with more forward thinking plays as linear television looks to contract. Further, it’ll be interesting to see how DirecTV’s negotiations with the NFL evolve given new ownership, with deeper pockets and potentially broader distribution potential … and if they are granted exclusive rights.

There goes the Hopper: Dish agrees to limit ad skipping in Disney deal

wireless-joey-fcc

The DISH Network Wireless Joey, unveiled at CES, is one step closer to release having just passed thru the FCC. The Echostar-produced Hopper extender hums with 802.11/a/n/ac to handle those high def streams of live and recorded content, without requiring a coaxial connection. Those with 802.11g networks need not apply. Via the filing, we also learn the Wireless Joey will ship with an RF remote – meaning a more sprightly response and the ability to hide WJ in a cabinet or behind your television. While I prefer DISH’s whole-home solution over TiVo’s, due to unrestricted placeshifting and Android support, I’m not quite motivated enough to switch providers given an ongoing reliance on Comcast or Verizon for broadband services. And despite TiVo’s recent layoffs and new emphasis on cloud services for cable providers, like Jason Nealis of RCN, I too hope they have a little more hardware left in them and pine for a similarly specced wireless TiVo Mini.