Dish and Fox end carriage dispute, Fox News returns to Dish

The blackout of Fox News and Fox Business News on Dish is coming to an end: Dish and Fox “have agreed to the major terms of a new long term agreement” that will bring the news network back to Dish, according to a statement released by the satellite TV operator, which noted that there are still a few things up in the air: “We are working with Fox on a few contractual details but we are optimistic that these channels will be restored very quickly.”

Fox confirmed the agreement with a news release, but noted that “terms of the agreement were not disclosed.”

Fox News and Fox Business went dark on Dish in late December after both sides failed to agree on terms to renew their carriage agreement. At the time, Dish complained that Fox was trying to add other channels to the bundle that hadn’t been part of the original agreement.

“It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well,” said DISH’s senior vice president of programming Warren Schlichting back then. It’s unclear whether the new agreement includes any of those additional channels, or just the two channels that went off the air in December.

Also unclear is whether the impending agreement includes any additional digital rights. Dish officially announced its Sling TV streaming service last week, and has plans to sell consumers an add-on news package for $5 per month on top of a $20 base subscription. At this point, that news package looks fairly slim with Bloomberg being the only actual news network. Adding Fox News to that mix would certainly help Dish to make a better case for Sling TV.

All you need to know about Dish’s new Sling TV service

Dish’s Sling TV online streaming service, which the company plans to launch in the coming weeks, made waves at CES earlier this month, but a few questions were left unanswered. Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch took to Reddit this week to answer some of them in the form of an AMA-style crowdsourced interview.

Here are some of the highlights of the AMA, as well as other previously announced details that potential Sling TV customers may be interested in:

  • Base package content: For $20, Sling TV will get you access to live feeds from ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN.
  • Kids’ package content: An optional $5 kids’ package gets you access to live feeds from Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV and Duck TV.
  • News package content: Sling TV’s optional $5 news and information package includes access to live feeds from HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY and Bloomberg TV.
  • Sports package content: There will eventually be a sports add-on package as well, but details are still scarce. Said Lynch: “We’re not ready to announce specific channels for the ‘Sports Extra’ add-on pack, but you can expect to see more great channels from ESPN, as well as other popular sports networks.”
  • WatchESPN: Access to WatchESPN is included, said Lynch. But the devil is in the details: Sling TV base package subscribers only have access to ESPN1, ESPN2 and ESPN3 via WatchESPN, according to an ESPN spokesperson.
  • Number of devices: “You can have Sling TV on as many devices as you want, however at launch, Sling TV will be a single-stream service,” said Lynch.
  • Resolution and bandwidth: Sling TV will be available in 720p and 1080p, and users will be able to tweak their streaming settings: “Through settings, we give you tools to limit the bandwidth for your streaming if you’re worried about your data cap,” Lynch said.
  • Speaking of bandwidth caps: Sling TV’s CEO seems to be aware of last-mile issues, especially since he’s competing with ISPs and their TV services. “We do have concerns about net-neutrality and the effect the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger could have on the broadband market,” he said.
  • Surround sound: Sling TV supports Dolby surround sound where available. “We support DD 5.1 and it will be available on most channels and most VOD content,” Lynch told Reddit readers.
  • 4K: Won’t be available at launch, in part because TV networks aren’t quite ready. “No live channels are offering 4K content yet,” he said.
  • Device availability: Sling TV will be available on Android TV, Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, iOS, Android and desktops. The iOS app will support Airplay. There won’t be any Chromecast support at launch, but it’s coming: Lynch said, “We plan to launch on many more devices throughout the year, and Chromecast is on our list!” He was notably less enthusiastic about bringing Sling TV to the Playstation, saying: “Not at launch but we’re always open to new device partnerships.” That might be because Sony is about to launch its own TV service on the Playstation.
  • How to get access: Sling TV will officially launch in the coming weeks, but Lynch shared a trick for everyone who wants first dibs: “Just go to Sling.com to get your invite. We’re rolling these out later this month before the general public.”

Warren Buffett dumps stake in Gannett and buys into Dish

http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/15/investing/berkshire-buffett-newspapers/
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (s BRKA) has sold off its $38 million stake in newspaper publisher Gannett Company (s GCI) and purchased $23 million worth of shares in the Dish Network, according to SEC filings. CNN Money notes that Berkshire Hathaway remains the largest outside shareholder in the Washington Post (s WPO), which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently acquired for $250 million.

CBS takes aim at a rival, shoots CNET in the foot

The Hopper from Dish Network was a finalist in CNET’s “Best of CES” awards — until parent company CBS told the tech news-and-reviews site that it couldn’t include the company because CBS is suing it. How can readers trust CNET’s journalism after such a decision?

Pay TV stops growing: Top 4 services all lost video users in Q2

With satellite carrier DirecTV reporting its first-ever net quarterly loss of subscribers, the Big Four pay TV services collectively lost 407,000 U.S. video customers in Q2. This was not offset by gains of 322,000 net video users reported by telco services AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS.