Archives For Satellite TV

Funny. TiVo wants to be the Google of television… but so does Google.

What Google did for the Internet, TiVo is now doing for the TV, bringing people a combination of excellent search results and innovative discovery that can’t be found anywhere else. -Tom Rogers, TiVo CEO

At Google’s annual developer conference yesterday, they elaborated on their television intentions – beyond the spring soundbite. As you might expect given Google’s search DNA and the appification of everything, Google TV supports both. And, taking a page from Yahoo’s Widget TV initiative, Google intends to work with a variety of hardware manufacturers to deliver Google TV.

For starters, we know DISH is onboard for some sort of satellite television integration and Sony will provide at least one connected television and Google TV-ed Blu-ray player. Logitech’s doing something too. (Huh, using Google TV as a remote control for TiVo?)  The first devices are expected to hit this fall, at which point I’ll probably have more to say.

While it’s a commendable goal to bring web content to the TV in a manageable way (like a variety of others, say Boxee), the best web video originated on television or in theaters. I don’t need access to thousands of websites serving random content of varying quality. It’s the same reason many of us want Hulu everywhere. We don’t care about “Hulu” per se, but we do care about that large catalog of professionally crafted content. The future of TV is… TV. I’ll let Mari sum it up for me:

Click to enlarge: (via BGR):

I don’t have a lot of details on what will be reheard in the TiVo/DISH/Echo DVR patent infringement saga, as the story is breaking and I’m hopping on a plane in minutes. (I’m also no lawyer.) But I believe this is specific to continued infringement and contempt related to DISH’s workaround, rather than a revisit of the original patent dispute (and TiVo victory). TiVo shares are currently plummeting, down more than 1/3rd. I’ll try to update this item when I land, should additional details present themselves. From Business Week:

TiVo Inc.’s legal victory against Dish Network Corp. and EchoStar Corp. for infringing a patent on digital-video recording services will be reconsidered by an appeals court. The court said it will consider whether the judge erred in not giving Dish a trial to determine if its workaround was still infringing TiVo’s patent.


TiVo’s remarks…

We are disappointed that we do not yet have finality in this case despite years of litigation but we remain confident that the Federal Circuit’s ruling in our favor will be reaffirmed after all of the judges on the Federal Circuit have had the opportunity to review the merits of this case

DISH/Echo’s remarks…

DISH Network and EchoStar are pleased that the full Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has granted their petition for rehearing en banc. We believe the issues that will be considered by the full court on rehearing will have a profound impact on innovation in the United States for years to come.

After several months of private testing, followed by an open beta, DirecTV has formally introduced their whole-home DVR service. As a fan of the ‘hub and spoke’ digital distribution model, the MoCA-based solution looks quiet compelling. Of course, DirecTV subscribers would need at least one HD DVR. But each additional room (up to 15!) can be outfitted with a less pricey HD receiver to schedule or view recordings from the primary DVR. Free would be nice, but you really can’t go wrong a low $3 monthly surcharge.

Thanks, Jon!!

CNET’s Molly Wood sat down with TiVo CEO Tom Rogers earlier this week and hit him with a variety of reader-submitted questions. I can’t say there were any shocking revelations. Then again, I have a short attention span and skipped around the video (above). The only item new to me was the revelation that the next generation DirecTV TiVo, originally scheduled for a 2009 launch, has been further delayed. Last I heard, we were on track for early 2010, followed by spring 2010. It turns out we’re now looking at “the latter part of this year.” However, this is probably old news to investors and impatient DirecTV subscribers.


Seems the blogosphere got itself into a bit of a lather upon learning DISH and Google were collaborating on set-top box functionality, including search and YouTube video. But anyone who follows DISH/EchoStar shouldn’t be entirely surprised… Just check out the picture I shot of DISH’s app store (above) at CES 2009 on their yet-to-be-released VIP 922 DVR. Featuring a Google tile. It’s unclear if the recent “news” represents merely the piloting of an enhanced Google app, or a more significant Android-based set-top experience (as many have concluded). Regardless, the broadcast and broadband lines are quickly blurring. And DISH surely needs to do something dramatic to recoup the hundreds of millings they’ll soon (?) be depositing at the First National Bank of TiVo.

I’ve been covering the TiVo/DISH/EchoStar patent infringement case for years. (With varying degree of interest.) And it looks like we’re that much closer to a conclusion given today’s ruling/affirmation by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit:

Appellants (collectively, “EchoStar”) appeal from the district court’s decision finding them in contempt of the court’s permanent injunction order. TiVo Inc. v. Dish Network Corp., 640 F. Supp. 2d 853 (E.D. Tex. 2009). Because we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing sanctions against EchoStar, we affirm the finding of contempt.

The Premiere may not have moved the needle, but there’s nothing like the prospect of (large sums of) cold, hard cash to whip the investors into a frenzy:

Yes, TiVo should be receiving (additional) cash from DISH and/or EchoStar. And, yes, it looks like a number of DISH DVRs will be disabled. Davis Freeberg and I are still sifting through the ruling to get a better sense of what this ultimately means and if DISH/Echo has any moves left. I’d also keep an eye on Engadget’s resident legal eagle for a more thorough analysis.

Earlier this week, DirecTV expanded their previously private whole-home DVR viewing pilot into an opt-in open beta. DirecTV’s rendition of multi-room viewing is similar to most – stream recorded content from a HD DVR to any other HD DVR or receiver around the home via a unified or filtered playlist. Additionally, you’ll be able to schedule recordings or delete programming from any receiver. In addition to having received the appropriate software update, you’ll also need to have networked your HD DVRs (models HR20-23) or receivers (models H21-23). In this case, on your own via Ethernet or via a DirecTV-purchased powerline or MoCA solution. Unlike most whole-home DVR solutions, once launched from beta, DirecTV will charge for this functionality. Something unseen since the days long ago that TiVo sold a Home Media Option. For more details, including hands-on experiences, check out DBSTalk. In addition to an active, evolving thread, they’ve also put together a PDF (mirrored below) covering the multi-room service with pics.

It’ll be interesting to see if the upcoming DirecTV TiVo solution will support multi-room viewing at launch. (Or at all.) Related, I’d like TiVo to launch a more modern, sophisticated MRV within their retail product line to the replace simplistic show copying (often prohibited by one’s cable provider).

(via Multimedia-PCs)


So much for getting to bed at a reasonable hour… as EchoStar just hit us with four Sling-related announcements. As I promised last week. Unfortunately, none of these Slingbox devices are headed to retail and will be exclusively offered via cable or satellite provider. Which, in the near term, means solely DISH Network.

The Sling Monitor 150 (above) and the Sling Receiver 300 (below center) represent the evolution of the SlingCatcher concept, if not platform – providing a means to remotely display streamed content from a Slingbox-esque device, such as the upcoming SlingLoaded 922 DVR. The Slingbox 700u (bottom left) looks to be a USB accessory to provide non-SlingLoaded DISH/Echo STBs with placeshifting capabilities. Lastly, we’ve got the sexy looking WiFi & IR Sling Touch Control remote designed to interface with SlingLoaded DVRs, plus your other A/V accessories, and display an EPG. Collectively, DISH Network is branding their placeshifting product line and functionality as TV Everywhere. (Where have we heard that phrase before?)

I’ll be swinging by EchoStar’s booth Thursday AM to get a firsthand look at the new Sling gear and dig a bit deeper into their distribution strategy. Because as it stands, it seems to me that they just announced their intentions to abandon direct-to-consumer retail sales. (When is Palm’s press conference? Maybe they’ll pleasantly surprise me with a webOS SlingPlayer client.)

Click to enlarge: