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14 Feb

Dish To Air BBC’s Planet Earth II In 4K Ultra HD

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Planet Earth II

Dish Network has announced the live broadcast of the acclaimed BBC Television series Planet Earth II in 4K Ultra High Definition. BBC America will premiere the show on February 18 and Dish Network customers can watch it in the vivid detail of 4K resolution at their homes.

Along with BBC America, other channels such as AMC and Sundance TV are also airing the show, but in a much lesser resolution. Customers can view the premiere of the show in 4K on DISH channel number 540 and in High Definition on BBCA channel number 135. The remaining episodes of the eleven part series along with the 2006 sequel will be aired on BBC America and Dish’s 4K channel on every Saturday night.

Planet Earth is a multinational nature documentary produced by BBC, and it is highly acclaimed with its breathtaking visuals and narration by naturalist Sir David Attenborough. BBC announced that it would be followed by a sequel, titled Planet Earth II. Viewing it in 4K resolution is definitely going to be a visual treat for the customers as the prequels have proven. The high resolution will enable the viewers to enjoy the vivid and crisp detailed images of the planets natural worlds and its inhabiting flora and fauna.

A free preview of BBC America is also offered by Dish starting from today onward and extending to 25 March. Viewing it in 4K, however, requires the customers to use the Hooper 3 DVR or 4K Joey hardware connected to a Hopper 3.

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Dish executive vice president and chief technology officer, Vivek Khemka said in a statement that, “It’s been more than 10 years since the world was first wowed by the original Planet Earth, and the second installment promises to deliver unmatched detail in crystal clear 4K resolution.”

The decision to provide the BBC show in 4K is also elaborated in his statement. “We’ve heard our customers ask for more 4K content, so we’re making every effort to deliver this programming to households as its availability grows,” he said.

BBC America is also excited in Dish’s announcement to air the show in its native 4K Ultra HD resolution. Sarah Barnett, President BBC America said, “The breathtaking visuals in Planet Earth II are nothing short of astounding. We are delighted to partner with Dish in bringing audiences this groundbreaking series in 4K, allowing viewers to get even closer to some of earth’s most incredible creatures and gorgeous landscapes.”

13 Feb

Sling TV Offers Free Preview Alongside Extending Its Cloud DVR Trial

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Sling TV Service

Sling TV is providing a free preview of its service as well as expanding the availability of its cloud DVR trial. This announcement came on behalf of the second anniversary of Dish Network’s renowned MPVD platform.

The free preview is available for interested customers wishing to subscribe to the network. The free preview provides Sling Orange, a channel lineup owned by the service. In addition, selected content such as live NCAA College and NBA basketball games are also provided in the preview.

Reports say that a free preview of Sling TV’s premium offering like HBO and Starz programming is available for the existing customers. The free preview offers many advantages to the customers in the form of good content for a specific period. It will aid new subscribers in getting acquainted with the various services and benefits of using Sling TV. The free preview will further enable the viewers to watch the mid season premiere of the popular television series including The Walking Dead.

Sling TV has also made another major offering of extending its cloud DVR trial to the users of Amazon Fire TV and Android devices. The proposed DVR rollout is in beta testing with more additions to follow like Apple TV. In December, Sling TV has launched the beta version of its cloud DVR for Roku devices users. This service allows users to record about 100 hours of programming without obliging them to pay any additional charges.

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Cloud DVR Trial

Note that there is no option to select the quality of recording, whether it is in Standard or High Definition, although it provides a range of other playback functions like pausing, fast forwarding, and rewinding of the streamed content. However, Sling has only offered specific content to license in its cloud DVR program.

Dish Network rolled out Sling TV in February 2015 with an intention of providing quality live TV programming and content via the internet. They started out with just one service that included 3 extras and over 25 channels. The service has been an immense success with further expansion into 2 base servers, 7 extras, and 3 premium channels, and over 100 channels along with 30,000 Video on Demand content.

Experts say that this provision made by Sling TV on its second anniversary is an attempt to widen its subscriber base and compete with other leading streaming TV providers.

23 Jan

KTXS, ABC38, MeTV Channels Blacked Out On Dish Network

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Dish Network Subscribers

Dish Network users in the Abilene area will lose access to KTXS, MeTV, and ABC38 programming soon. Reports say that the parent company of these stations, Bonten Media Group, blacked out the local channels from Dish Network in Abilene and seven other markets due to their contract expiration.

David Caldwell, who is the vice president and general manager of KTXS, said that they would eventually reach an agreement with Dish Network. He also added that both the companies renegotiate the agreements every three years. As per the agreements, cable and satellite companies can transmit the KTXS signal to their subscribers, for which, they need to pay KTXS an agreed charge for the right to transmit their signals. This price is the point of contention.

As per the news release from KTXS, they asked Dish Network for a part of the fee that they charge the customers to help KTXS pay for the local network, news, and other programs that they provide. However, Dish Network executives said that Bonten Media Group made use of channel blackout in order to “gain leverage” on the deal.

According to a news release from Dish, the broadcaster seeks “above-market rate increases nearly double the current Dish rate.” Yet again, Bonten representative told that they are asking Dish for compensation like what other satellite and cable companies offer.

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Bonten Media Group

“Bonten chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use innocent customers as bargaining chips” with Dish willing to grant an extension – said Warren Schlichting, Dish programming executive vice president.

Dish Network offered Bonten a short-term extension on the contract. The extension would allow users of Dish Network to access Bonten stations while the negotiations continue. Both Bonten media and Dish Network are working to resolve the issues, but this interruption of service can be long term if an agreement is not reached between Dish Network and Bonten media.

“We are actively working to negotiate an agreement that promptly returns this content to Dish’s programming lineup,” Schlicting said. The action of Bonten Media Group has affected the Dish Network subscribers in eight markets, but the users can still access the stations over the air making use of an antenna.

16 Jan

Sling CEO Severely Criticizes DirecTV Now For Streaming Glitches

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Sling TV Vs DirecTV Now

The CEO of Dish Network’s Sling TV, Roger Lynch severely criticized the latest online streaming platform from AT&T, DirecTV Now, through his social media profile. DirecTV Now had suffered a number of technical issues since its launch and some subscribers were deeply concerned about the bad reception. Some of the DirecTV customers even showed their frustrations and disappointment through social media platforms.

Interestingly, Sling CEO issued a series of tweets in which he highlighted the streaming errors and glitches of DirecTV Now. Lynch tweeted: “You should add @directvnow to that list of things to stay away from!” This tweet was actually a response to DirecTV Now’s tweet, where the provider asked their customers to stay away from the masks, woods, and cabins featured in the Friday the 13th movies.

Sling CEO even added, “Try @Sling instead!” One user responded to the tweet from Lynch and said, “@RogerLynch tried the 1 wk w/ @directvnow I have to stay w/ @Sling Better reception better service.” Lynch responded back to the user and thanked him for preferring Sling TV to DirecTV Now.

On the other hand, one of the top executives from AT&T stated that the launch of DirecTV Now has actually been a lot better than what they initially expected. AT&T Entertainment’s CTO and the executive in charge of the technical aspects of DirecTV Now, Enrique Rodriguez said, “Absolutely there were problems the problems were not as big as I expected. I’m so proud of the quality we delivered.”

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DirecTV Now Issues

It is to be noted that DirecTV Now is not the only streaming service that faced numerous technical issues and other streaming problems during the launch. Even Sling TV suffered numerous high-profile streaming issues in the first few months after its launch.

Sling TV customers had earlier reported that they experienced serious streaming issues during the broadcast of a premiere episode from the popular TV show, The Walking Dead. Sling TV users even complained against this on social media platforms such as Reddit and Twitter, and Sling TV support staff individually apologized to over 100 users for the inconvenience.

No matter what, streaming services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now has opened numerous options to the viewers and they are the best choice for cord cutters. These services are a lot cheaper when compared to all other traditional cable TV services, and even these small glitches do not discount their freedom of use.

05 Jan

Sling CEO Believes Online Streaming Services Are The Future Of TV

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The Future Of TV

Dish Network introduced their online streaming service, Sling TV, exactly two years ago. The launch of this streaming platform has brought numerous benefits to Dish Network and the service quickly become much popular among cord cutters and other traditional TV viewers.

Many analysts firmly believe that online streaming services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now represent the future of TV. In a recent conference, Sling CEO Roger Lynch said, “The future of TV, I believe, is going to be streamed.”

He discussed about the evolution of telephones and about the launch of applications such as Skype. “I think the same path will be followed by video and traditional TV, moving from analogue to digital and then software applications like Sling,” Lynch added.

This might be a long-term vision, but we do have to accept the fact that the Sling CEO has an interesting view on the role of “Pay Lite” in the current market. He also added that the analysts and viewers should compare Sling TV to music services such as Spotify, rather than comparing it with Dish Network’s or Comcast’s pay TV offerings.

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Online Streaming Services

“When consumers engage with Spotify for the first time they download a mobile app and start a free trial,” Lynch said. “There are no contracts and there is no installation. That is how most people start a relationship with Sling TV.” Sling TV is currently one of the cheapest streaming services available to the users and the basic package of Sling TV is available to customers at just $20 a month, which offers more than 30 popular channels.

The President of EchoStar Corporation and CTO at Dish Network, Vivek Khemka said, “Sling TV is differentiated around the business model – no contract, no commitment, no installation; you sign-up and watch TV in a few minutes. We have aggressively delivered smaller packagers rather than a big bundle. You do not have all the programming that DISH offers and that is by design.”

He added, “Sling TV is still evolving and we do not intend to make it in any way inferior to the full Pay TV experience. We have a philosophy where we want to embrace change and if people want streaming TV, then so be it. There is no reason to fight that or prevent it from happening by making Sling an inferior service.”

29 Dec

Dish Network Green Signals Randolph County

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Dish Network has given a favorable reply to providing Birmingham TV to Randolph County. Dish Network has also reserved the right to potentially increase the raters for the services if necessary. Interestingly, DirecTV has not yet given a favorable letter to Randolph County yet, and supporters are intending to resubmit the request to DirecTV authorities. It is reported that if the second attempt also fail, the effort will be moved forward without DirecTV and with Dish Network only.

State Rep. Bob Fincher, Lance Ward, Wedowee Mayor Tim Coe, Ken Conaway, and Barry Smith met in Birmingham with Sharon Tinsley, who is the president of Alabama Broadcasters, and general managers for all the important Birmingham TV stations like CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, and NBC. The meeting was a productive one and the bottom line was that all of the stations support Randolph County obtaining Alabama television.

All the owners of the stations also support the cause. The only problem is the complexities of the Designated Market Area (DMA) contracts with shows. The attorney for the Alabama Broadcasters also attended the meeting and supports Birmingham TV stations serving the Randolph County.

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Alabama Broadcasters

As per the attorney for the broadcasters, once Randolph County becomes successful, viewers will continue to receive Atlanta TV, as Randolph County will remain in Atlanta DMA. In addition to that, they will also receive all the Birmingham TV stations that are okay to serve the region. Nevertheless, if these stations plan to charge DirecTV and Dish a fee for serving the Randolph County, then the charge might be passed through to the Randolph County customer.

It is reported that at least three counties, one in Colorado and two in Wisconsin, are ahead of the Randolph County in the process. These counties have received their certification from in-state television stations and have filed their applications with the FCC. Local supporters of the initiative are watching the applications closely and they will be in touch with the counties to understand how they solved the syndicated show issue.

It seems that the delegation still feels positive that Birmingham TV will happen. The only problem is that they do not know how long it will take.

23 Dec

AirTV Player Set Top Box From Dish Will Combine Netflix, Sling TV, And OTA Live Channels

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Sling TV Users

Sling officials recently revealed a new set top box named the AirTV Player on their website. This set top box will allow Sling TV users stream live cable channels on their TV, just as users do with Roku, Apple TV, and other streaming devices.

The AirTV Player makes a difference though, as it also integrates live, over the air network programs into the interface, making use of an antenna that is sold separately. This means that the users will be able to watch CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox channels as long as the antenna can normally pull down the channels wherever the user lives.

In addition to that, AirTV Player also includes support for Netflix, but the user will need to subscribe it separately. All these sources are bundled together in the user interface and guide of Sling TV.

Sling TV also offers live programming from ABC (a $5 add-on to Sling TV Orange subscription) or Fox and NBC (both are available in select markets offered as part of the $25 per month Sling Blue subscription). Currently, Sling does not offer a way to get all these programming all together, and CBS is not offered by Sling TV.

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Dish And Sling

If users go for the Sling Orange package, they will not get the Disney-owned networks like ESPN, but will get channels like NFL and USA Network. With AirTV Player though, Dish and Sling are allowing users to select a package of cable channels that they want and are offering alternative way for the four big networks.

The FAQ page of Sling TV says that AirTV Player needs no monthly charge to use. A subscription for the Sling TV service is also not needed, but the user will not get warranty support for the set top box hardware until the user log-ins with a Sling TV account.

It is rumored that the set top box works on Android too, as there is a Google button provided on the remote controller near to Netflix. The set top box has seen some redesigns, with blue and white colors. It is believed that the AirTV Player will fill a niche for the customers who are not willing to drop the traditional cable networks for the new internet TV services and lose the big four networks.

14 Dec

Dish Network Offers Free Access To Benefit Concert

Dish Network Channel List

Smoky Mountains Rise

The devastating wildfires have left the people of Tennessee in a state of terror and the recovery efforts are continuing in this location. Dish Network recently announced that all their customers would be able to access and watch Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund, which will be airing on December 13 at 08:00 pm ET on Great American Country.

This event will be headlined by Sevier County native Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Kenny Rogers, and Reba McEntire. These performers will raise money for the affected families, whose homes have become uninhabitable or entirely destroyed due to the wildfire.

Dish Network is also planning to deliver free dishNET satellite broadband in order to help the relief efforts in Gatlinburg and on other affected areas in the Sevier County. The provider is operating with the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) to offer connectivity at the Volunteer Reception Center and Forward Operations Base.

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Free DishNET Services

Dish executive vice president and a member of the Dish Cares executive steering committee, Warren Schlichting, said that, “Dolly Parton, Great American Country, and DISH care about Tennesseans whose lives have been impacted by the fires, and we are working to ensure they have the resources they need to rebuild. We are offering all DISH customers free access to the benefit concert with the hope that our subscribers will understand the magnitude of this disaster and contribute to the My People Fund. We are also proud to help power the volunteer relief efforts already underway through dishNET connectivity.”

Joe Hillis, operations director for ITDRC said, “At the Volunteer Reception Center alone, we are seeing anywhere from 700 to 1,100 volunteers per day who are providing crucial relief efforts, and DISH makes it possible for us to register and stay connected with all of these volunteers. We expect to be on the ground for several more weeks and we know DISH will be with us each step of the way as they have been in numerous other disaster relief efforts.”

Great American Country channel is available to the Dish Network subscribers with the America’s Everything Package, America’s Top 250 package, Smart Pack, or Flex Pack. This channel can be accessed on channel number 165 and it will be available to all Dish Network subscribers on December 13 during the airing of Smoky Mountains Rise.

28 Nov

FCC Commissioner Says WTJX-TV Should Be Made Available On Satellite TV

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Satellite TV Services

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a post shared on their official website, that the government owned WTJX-TV, which is also a local PBS affiliate, should be available to satellite TV customers in the US Virgin Islands. She shared the post after her recent visit to the territory, together with Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett.

“Imagine living in New York City and discovering that your pay-TV provider does not carry the local PBS affiliate and instead provides you with a Philadelphia based station. While this unusual arrangement would preserve access to some of your favorite nationally-televised PBS shows like Antiques Roadshow and NewsHour, unless you have an over-the-air antenna, it would mean missing out on the high-quality local programming that broadcasters are required to provide their communities of license,” writes Clyburn.

She said that the issue was brought to attention by Plaskett on her visit to the territory. Sources say that the issues affecting the residents of the island were discussed during the visit.

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Federal Communications Commission

“The local PBS affiliate, WTJX-TV which has been broadcasting for more than 40 years is not available to satellite customers, including a growing number of residents who have chosen DISH as their provider. In its place, DISH carries WMTJ, a Puerto Rico based station. Geographically, Puerto Rico is just over 100 miles from the Virgin Islands, but make no mistake they are very different communities, not to mention that they have a different dominate language,” Clyburn said.

The FCC Commissioner also added that she met with Tanya-Marie Singh, who is the CEO of the Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System, to discuss the matters. Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System includes WTJX-FM 93.1 and WTJX-TV, and highlights local shows that are of high quality like Ritmo Del Doce, Meet the Candidates (during election cycles), and Face to Face with Addie Ottley.

Clyburn said that WTJX-TV is not being transmitted by some of the satellite TV service providers at present, as the territory is not in a Nielsen Designated Market Area. “This means, in sum, that WTJX cannot elect must-carry or retransmission consent. And while I cannot compel carriage of WTJX as an FCC Commissioner, I do believe it is the right thing to do” she said.

“We owe it to the people of the Virgin Islands to ensure they have access to local public broadcasting, just as those living in the continental United States, Hawaii, and parts of Alaska have come to expect and I call on the powers that be to make it happen, now,” Clyburn concluded.

18 Nov

Analysts Claim That Sling TV Is Not Making Huge Profits

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Sling TV Profits

More than a few analysts from all over the country firmly believe that Dish Network might have been in a far worse state, if their online streaming service Sling TV had failed to perform. However, Dan Rayburn, Streaming Media analyst seems to disagree with this fact and he has his own take on this topic.

In a recent interview, Rayburn said that Dish Network is not doing enough to solve the chronic technical problems experienced by Sling TV. He also added that Sling TV doesn’t have as many as subscribers as other analysts assume. “If Sling wasn’t owned by Dish, it would already be out of business. It’s not profitable,” Rayburn said in a statement.

As per Rayburn, Sling TV has only managed to attract approximately 600,000 to 700,000 subscribers to their offerings. However, many other analysts, including Deutsche Bank’s Bryan Kraft, have estimated the total number of Sling TV subscribers to be around 1 million.

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Pay TV Vs Streaming

Rayburn also noted that both HBO and CBS Corp have announced that their SVOD services have hit the 1 million-subscriber mark, where Dish Network is still refusing to disclose their total number of Sling TV subscribers. “If their number was a million or two million, they’d be out there talking about their numbers,” Rayburn said.

When asked about the decreasing Content Delivery Network (CDN) prices, which were recently touted by Dish Network Chairman and CEO, Charlie Ergen, during their third-quarter earnings call, Rayburn admitted that the CDN pricing have dropped to a fraction of what it was five years ago. However, he added that, “It’s not immaterial, but it is not a cost that we worry about because the costs have continued to come down so significantly.”

Rayburn also asked that why Dish is not doing more to fix the ongoing streaming issues of Sling TV, if the costs are in control. “Sling’s vendors talk to me off the record, and they make it clear that Sling TV has some very interesting concepts on how streaming should work. And those concepts don’t work very well,” he said.

“There are people like Twitch that are pumping out a lot more traffic than Sling TV who are getting it right. Live streaming is complex, but it’s not hard. The NFL does it. Major League Baseball does it. And nobody was complaining about the streaming of the Olympics.”

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