Net Briefs

Apr 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

EchoStar receiver melds DBS, PVR
Satellite television powerhouse EchoStar Communications has introduced in select independent retail stores its newest set-top receiver, which includes a digital video recorder. The box, called the Dish PVR 501, was first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year.
The 501’s video recorder-which is designed to compete with similar services provided by TiVo, Microsoft’s UltimateTV, Sonicblue’s ReplayTV, and Scientific-Atlanta-is EchoStar’s latest move in its push to compete with cable operators. The 501, which sells for $299 with no monthly service fee, features OpenTV’s interactive TV software. Cable operators, which have been testing digital video recording services, are expected to also offer digital video recorders to mass audiences if they see a spike in consumer demand for the service.
An EchoStar spokesman said he expects Sears stores to begin selling the 501 receivers within the next few weeks.
Satellite radio
hits roadblocks
Satellite radio networks, which plan to broadcast content created by numerous cable television studios, have yet to convince automobile manufacturers to offer their radio consoles as a standard rather than optional feature in cars.
Packaging the radio service as a standard feature with a new car is widely viewed as the key to convincing consumers to pay about $10 per month in subscription fees to hear programming that promises fewer commercials and more innovative content than analog radio.
“Dealing with Detroit is a challenge for us,” said Sirius Satellite Radio Director of Talk and Sales Partners Elana Sofko. “They are not equipped to mobilize as quickly as a company like Sirius … it’s like trying to turn around a cruise ship in two seconds flat.”
General Motors has aligned itself with XM Satellite Radio, while Ford, Chrysler and BMW are working exclusively with Sirius.