Could Dish drop ESPN?

Prepare for the next TV blackout: Dish and Disney are currently in negotiations about their next deal, and the Hollywood Reporter is reminding us that their deadline coming up at the end of the month. After that, blackouts are possible. But could Dish go nuclear and drop Disney’s ESPN network? Most people don’t think so, but Dish boss Charlie Ergen recently said that it may be time to take that step.

BSkyB shows how streaming could be the future of pay TV

Long before TV Everywhere became a reality in the United States, U.K. satellite TV provider BSkyB was allowing viewers to stream live TV to their PCs and Xbox 360 game consoles. Could it provide a model for streaming video services here in the U.S.?

Live Webcasts of Major Events: The Inside Story

The people who brought you live online coverage of Olympics, Tiger Woods’ epic U.S. Open win, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Oprah’s web casts and the presidential debates share tales from the trenches today at NewTeeVee Live.

  • Tom Morgan, Chief Strategy Officer, Move Networks
  • Eric Schmidt, who runs Microsoft Silverlight’s monetization and adoption efforts
  • Mark Taylor, SVP, Level 3 Communications
  • Alex Withers, Director of Digital Media for USGA

Om: Live video is exploding on the web so let’s talk about the business and economics of live video. The cable and telephone companies like to talk about live video breaking the Internet. But today, do you think Oprah can bring the network down?
Morgan: In the old days it might have, but with new CDNs the capacity to scale the business and grow the business is growing exponentially. Read More about Live Webcasts of Major Events: The Inside Story

AT&T May Drop Dish, But Still Has U-verse

AT&T has decided not to renew its contract to resell television services provided by Dish Networks. The announcement, made last night in a filing from Dish with the SEC, have sent shares of the satellite company tumbling and analysts rushing to point out that this may not be the end for Dish and AT&T. My question is, why not? Where the heck is AT&T’s belated IPTV service?

Several analysts said that AT&T’s refusal to automatically renew the five-year-old contract means the telco will try to negotiate a better deal by bringing Dish rival DirectTV to the table. Others say this kills any hope that AT&T might buy Dish. But Dish has been a stopgap measure to give AT&T a triple play of voice, data and video as the cable guys encroached on the voice business. AT&T has always wanted to offer its own video service.

Six years ago I sat through demos of AT&T’s Project Lightspeed (now Homezone) and marveled at the coming television service options ahead. By that measure I’ve spent a fifth of my life waiting for U-verse as it worked through technical hurdles and issues with the Microsoft platform. And only now is the service getting widely rolled out. Dare I hope that AT&T is actually getting close to owning its own triple play?

Right now, according to an emailed response from an AT&T spokesman, “U-verse TV is our primary offering in the areas where it is available, but AT&T | DISH is available across our footprint.” As U-verse expands, losing the AT&T contract may not be such a blow.

SiRF Cuts Jobs, Wipes Out Mobile TV

GPS chip maker SiRF Technology has reduced first-quarter sales estimates and implemented a cost-savings plan that will cost about 50 people their jobs and result in the closure of SiRF’s offices in Stockholm and South San Francisco. Aside from general economic malaise softening demand for personal navigation systems, the other whammy for SiRF was a lousy mobile-TV market. According to the release, it’s getting out of the market altogether.

“Although SiRF has made considerable progress on the development of its mobile TV technology, the market for mobile TV has been slow to ramp up. In view of this, the Company has stopped further product developments in the mobile TV space and will focus its efforts on its core business.”

Much of the data has pointed to this, but companies, such as Broadcom, which has pushed its mobile TV chips into higher-volume production and Dish Networks, which recently bid $712 million for spectrum that can be used for mobile television, still haven’t gotten the memo. Either they can afford to play now at a loss, in hopes of a slow market eventually arriving, or they know something we don’t.

Do We Really Need More Mobile TV?

The Financial Times suspects that DISH Network is building a mobile television service thanks to its relationship with Frontier Wireless, the winner of a $712 million hunk of spectrum offered in the recent 700 MHz auction. Frontier walked away with nationwide licenses to the E block of spectrum, which is good for one-way service. It’s something Om had prophesied, but does it really make sense?

Crown Castle tried to do this a few years ago with its Modeo service, which was unceremoniously shuttered in July 2007 after Qualcomm’s MediaFLO digital television won the deal to provide service to Verizon Wireless and AT&T. After losing out on those carriers in the United States, I suppose the Modeo guys, faced with the costs of building out a network, wondered why they should bother. Since then, AT&T and Verizon have only gotten bigger as their subscriber numbers have grown.

It is possible, judging from the anemic numbers associated with MediaFLO and the overdue MediaFLO service from AT&T, which was supposed to launch last year, that DISH sees an opportunity. I’m still not sure I do. Mobile TV isn’t exactly soaring in the U.S.