Programmers Face New Challenges As EchoStar Sells Recording And Streaming Technology To Cable

Throughout the opening of the 2012 International CES I’ve had a feeling that the technology news here will delight TV viewers — but frighten Hollywood studios and other content owners. My impression was clinched this morning at a small presentation by EchoStar, Dish Network’s technology-focused corporate cousin. The company’s new gadgets make it possible for pay TV providers to offer customers television’s most popular shows on-demand — including via TV Everywhere-like Internet streams to out-of-home smartphones and tablets — without having to pay programmers additional license fees. Some of those capabilities were displayed on Monday when Dish unveiled its Hopper DVR: Dish subscribers with one of these boxes can watch any ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC primetime show from the previous eight days. The boxes also use technology from Sling Media (which EchoStar owns) to stream any of the channels that users receive or and shows that they record at home.

But this morning’s presentation made it clear that EchoStar is starting to build bridges with cable operators — the dominant providers of TV services and, ostensibly, Dish’s mortal enemies. (more…)

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