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EchoStar offers cablecos Aria hosted OTT service using Sling and Move

Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network and EchoStar Technologies just can’t keep out of the news, and after its recent dust up and settlement with TiVo and Dish

By PETER WHITE

Published: 9 June, 2011

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Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network and EchoStar Technologies just can’t keep out of the news, and after its recent dust up and settlement with TiVo and Dish’s sudden improvement in finances, it has decided to help out the world’s smaller cable operators by positioning a series of its product acquisitions and technology licenses as a way forward in the Over The Top world.

EchoStar may easily find some traction with its new Aria approach both among smaller cable operators in the US as well as in Europe, as it offers up an eco-system which takes in its freshly purchased right to build Time Shifting DVRs, with its twin acquisitions, Move Networks and Sling Media

The core of the strategy is that smaller cable companies haven’t got the resources to build a modern Content Delivery Network in the manner of Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable, and this is a fair point. The old way of delivering VoD was haphazard and relied on satellite delivery of minimal video assets. These days, as these companies push on towards making perhaps 25,000 video assets available at any point in time, and making them available both through QAM based DOCSIS channels as well as through the internet. And to do that they have all invested hard in CDN infrastructures which pushe video to the edges of their networks, and servers which can deliver in either format.

Fitting this type of architecture into a multi-device world, where Tablets are becoming the order of the day, is a real challenge to the smaller cable operator, and failure to achieve it rapidly will put them at a huge disadvantage compared to larger rivals. It’s true that there are now copious suppliers in this market and they all talk about delivering from existing infrastructure, to the internet. Many of these focus on the content protection side of things in both environments, a difficult enough task on its own; others talk about multiple encode sizes and adaptive streaming technologies, while others still offer CDN software and server capability. Meanwhile set top makers the world over, and here EchoStar is as good as many, have the difficult task of developing DVRs which can store both types of program, and keep both safe, while allowing them to serve multiple device types.

In the larger cable operators they also have begun the task of taking

Recommendation engines, search and discovery systems to the cloud, based on remote servers, raising another hurdle for smaller rivals to cope with, not to mention they must also create navigation on multiple devices in the UI, as well as the CDN side of things we mentioned before.

While EchoStar will always be regarded with suspicion by major US cable operators, it has major advantages in its own chosen strategy which suit smaller pay TV operators. It owns the intellectual property of Move Networks which has just been granted a patent for adaptive streaming and will begin chasing technology suppliers and operators for a license to this technology.

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