Archive for January, 2010

Shuttle Specials

Monday, January 18th, 2010


A couple of soon-to-be former space shuttles are going to be transferred to museums and the like. Now NASA has reduced the cost of such a transfer to $28.8 million…


The original RFI in December 2008 noted that a potential shuttle recipient would have to pay an estimated $42 million for the cost of "safeing" an orbiter, preparing it for display and ferrying it to a U.S. destination airport. NASA has updated the requirements and tasks needed to make each orbiter safe for disposition. The agency will not ask recipients to provide the funds for this activity. Except for cost and scheduled delivery changes, the 2008 and 2010 RFIs are virtually the same. In this follow-up RFI, NASA revised the estimated display preparation and ferrying costs to $28.8 million.

The schedule for transferring the orbiters may be six months earlier than originally anticipated. NASA also desires to make selections a year before receipt of the orbiters, so recipient organizations will have sufficient time to conduct any fundraising activities necessary to support preparation and ferry costs.

RFI responses are due to NASA by 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. Organizations that responded to the original RFI do not need to resubmit a full response, but should clarify their positions with respect to these changes.

NASA is planning to transfer space shuttle Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum. Shuttle orbiters Endeavour and Atlantis will be available for placement no earlier than July, 2011.


Check NASA’s RFI page for more details. Got the space and money? Get it for your people.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits for January 15, 2010

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

London based IPp news team is using a satellite link to report on Haiti disaster, as are most news teams.
[IPf – 01/16/2010]


China orbits a navigation satellite via a Chang Zheng-3C (CZ-3C) launch vehicle from the Xi Chang Satellite Launch Center to open  their 2010 launch campaign.
[NASA Space Flight – 01/16/2010]

Inmarsat and Sky Terra collaborate to ensure that relieve and recovery efforts in Haiti have access to essential satellite communications.
[Earth Times – 01/15/2010]

Google and Skype offer free Haiti calls but United Nations Foundation worker says communications systems in Haiti unusable; only staff with satellite phones were able to communicate with outside world.
[ReadWriteWeb – 01/15/2010]

IT companies in Haiti rush to re-build – Satellite phones are most needed technology.
[Computer World – 01/15/2010]


Quake in Haiti knocks out submarine cable system, leaving it to rely largely on satellite communications and damaged mobile networks for international communications.
[GiGa om – 01/15/2010]

Chinese satellite broadcaster forms acquisition partnership with ITV Studios of the U.K.
[Satellite Today – 01/05/2010]

Globecomm Systems receives $9.1M contract extension from NATO to extend communication services and onsite support for Globecomm’s previously deployed GPS-Base Force Tracking System.
[TMCnet – 01/15/2010]

ITU works on roadmap for implementing 3D TV.
[SatNews – 01/15/2010]

ViaSat receives $4.8M order from the U.S. Department of Defense for Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS-LTV) terminals.
[Satellite Today – 01/14/2010]

Destruction in Haiti causes array of communications difficulties; water is scarce, cellular and satellite capability spotty at best.
[Broadcasting and Cable – 01/14/2010]

Satellite imagery helps rescuers pinpoint where need is the greatest in Haiti.
[cosmiclog.msnbc – 01/14/2010]


Satellite images show destruction in Haiti earthquake.
[Spaceflight Now – 01/14/2010]

Some of first personnel deployed to Haiti included communications specialists from the 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron who included satellite link as part of communications systems set up.
[ – 01/14/2010]

Intelsat S.A. announces that within hours of first customer request for assistance after earthquake, Intelsat established two communications networks – one C-band and one Ku-band – to provide critical communications links.
[Enhanced Online News – 01/14/2010]

Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) is granted a license by the U.S. FAA to operate a commercial, horizontal launch spaceport at Cecil Field, FL.
[Satellite Today – 01/14/2010]

Sanswire Corp official describes how lighter-than-air UAV STS-111 could hover over stricken region carrying payload to operate as a relay for cell and satellite phones and provide internet service to relief agencies.
[CNN – 01/14/2010]

Dangerous asteroid safely bypasses Earth by distance of 80,796 miles.
[Space Daily – 01/14/2010]

Russian modules on the International Space Station will realize uninterrupted communications with the ground by 2013.
[Space Travel – 01/14/2010]

Russian spacewalkers start up new docking port on roof in International Space Station lab.
[ – 01/14/2010]

China’s Lunar Probe Project features early guiding satellite, Change-2, whose camera resolution can reach 1 meter as it closes in on the moon.
[SpaceMart – 01/14/2010]

Gilat SkyEdge II VST receives latest DVB-RCS compliance certification; first vendor to receive version 1.3 certification which includes DVB-S2 in forward link and Quality of Service for voice, video, and data.
[CNN Money – 01/14/2010]

MEASAT announces commencement of service across Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East on AFRICASAT-2, in inclined orbit.
[SatNews – 01/14/2010]

Hybrid cellular companies could enhance AT&T with satellite service this year, as Terrestar gets FCC clearance to integrate its 20 MHz "S" band spectrum with cellular networks.
[Beta News – 01/14/2010]

SkyTrac selected by United Arab Emirates based Aquiline International Corporation to supply SATCOM/flights following solutions for its fleet of ANTONOV-24, ANTONOV-26, and ILUSHIN-76 aircraft.
[SatNews – 01/14/2010]

atrexx, a satellite service provider based in Germany, is offering African end-users access to satellite communications via iDirect iNFINITI service after their iDirect5 iNFINITI service on Intelsat-14 was discontinued.
[SatNews – 01/14/2010]

TS2 Satellite Technologies introduces new broadband services on Eutelsat EB4 and W6 satellites to soldiers in Afghanistan.
[SatNews – 01/14/2010]

Euroconsult announces that growth in the satellite pay-TV market remained strong in 2009 is spite of the economic downturn.
[SatNews – 01/14/2010]

Inmarsat announces that its mobile satellite communications services are being deployed to support emergency relief efforts in Haiti.
[TMCnews – 01/13/2010]

Globecomm Systems installs 3G core switch to expand its managed wireless business to offer affordable, 3G hosted mobile services to under-serviced areas worldwide.
[SatNews – 01/13/2010]

NewCom teams with Hispamar to deploy one-hop in-satellite hub services to Latin American on Hispamar’s Amazonas 2 satellite with on-board intelligent processor.
[PR Web – 01/13/2010]

Space Systems/Loral announces that the GOES-10 satellite, originally planned for a 5-year mission tracking storms, hurricanes, and cyclones, has been retired after 12 years.
[SatNews – 01/13/2010]

SES Astra 5B, to be launched in 2013, will host a second SES hosted navigation payload for Europe’s Egnos service; the first will be on the SES Sirius 5 satellite to launch in 2011.
[Space News – 01/13/2010]

Data Technology Solutions launches low-cost, integrated satellite broadband offering for the maritime market built on iDirect’s Evolution DVB-S2 platform using 24 inch Ku-band antenna.
[SatNews – 01/13/2010]

U.S. defense official questions China’s space intentions.
[Space Daily – 01/13/2010]

Russia activates 1 of 3 new Glonass navigation satellites.
[GPS Daily – 01/13/2010]

India’s first manned space flight planned for 2013, with two Indian astronauts riding into space aboard a Russian spaceship.
[Space Travel – 01/13/2010]


Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) reserves site in Amur Province for 7 years for construction of Vostochny spaceport to begin in 2011.
[Space Travel – 01/13/2010]

Southwest Airlines bringing WiFi hot spots to its 737 aircraft powered by Hughes Communications satellite broadband and Row 44 equipment.
[Barron’s – 01/13/2010]

Unusual space object resembling something man-made, perhaps a rocket booster, will fly by earth at distance of at least 80,000 miles.
[Space Daily – 01/13/2010]

Landsat 5, 26 years old, cheats death once again as a radio declared dead 23 years ago is revived to take over for a radio lost last December; a replacement satellite is at least 3 years away.
[Spaceflight Now – 01/13/2010]

Team predicts TESS satellite could locate hundreds of Earth-size planets.
[Physorg – 01/12/2010]

SIRIUS Canada reaches 1 million subscriber mark.
[SatNews – 01/11/2010]

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. delivers iNetVu Mobile antenna systems to New Zealand for government agency emergency communications.
[Market Wire – 01/12/2010]

Surrey Satellite Technology scientists are awarded part of contract to build new global satellite navigation system.
[get Surrey – 01/12/2010]

ISRO of India plans special third launch pad at its Satish Dhawan Space Center capable of accommodating the proposed Re-useable Launch Vehicle an all future programs of ISRO including manned space flight.
[Space Travel – 01/11/2010]

Russia explores nuclear-propelled spacecraft to maintain a competitive edge in the global space race.
[Space Travel – 01/11/2010]

India is developing anti-satellite spacecraft employing laser guidance system for kill vehicle.
[ – 01/11/2010]

China to build and launch a communications satellite for Bolivia.
[Space Daily – 01/11/2009]


KVH names Harris Electric of Seattle its 2009 Commercial Fishing Dealer of the Year. for exceptional performance in bringing mini-VSAT satellite service to commercial fishing vessels in the Northwest.
[PR Newswire – 01/11/2010]

Spacenet selected to provide managed network services by satellite to over 7,000 Regis Corporations locations.
[Business Wire – 01/11/2010]

Dish Network, EchoStar, and NagraStar secure another anti-piracy victory as Florida federal court issues a $51M dollar judgment against Robert Ward for posting software on the internet allowing individuals to illegally receive Dish programming.
[CED Magazine – 01/11/2010]

DirecTV, Samsung, DreamWorks, and Technicolor teaming to deliver 3D HD movies by satellite to DirecTV customers.
[SatNews – 01/11/2010]

V2GO, an international satellite transmission and video production company, unveils its 31-foot uplink mobile truck featuring the FOR-A HVS-300HS compact HD/SD switcher and the MV-410HS HD/SD hiigh-resolution quad multi-viewer.
[SatNews – 01/11/2010]

ISRO reviews sophisticated cryogenic engine planned for use in test launch of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-D3 later this year.
[Space Travel – 01/08/2010]

NSR Industry Briefing – Is Growing Government Capacity Demand Driving Down Commercial Leases?
[NSR Report – Government and Military Satellite Communications, 6th Edition]

While HDTV no enjoys wide acceptance among watchers, with 24 million DTH subscribers moving to premium packages to get HD, the coming move to 3D is unlikely to materialize soon for several reasons.
[NSR Report – Global Direct to Home (DTH) Markets, 2nd Edition]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services

Helping Haiti

Thursday, January 14th, 2010



What can you do to help if you’re too busy? Text "Haiti" to 90999, and you’ll be billed $10 as a donation to the Red Cross.

GeoEye-1 spacecraft captured this image:


This half-meter resolution satellite image shows Port-au-Prince, Haiti after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the area on Jan. 12, 2010. The image clearly shows extensive damage, roads covered with debris from collapsed structures, and people crowded in the streets and public places such as sports fields and stadiums. The white-colored National Palace shows damage along the roof line. The image was taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite from 423 miles in space at 10:27 a.m. EST on Jan. 13, 2010 as it moved from north to south over the Caribbean at a speed of four miles per second.


Here’s a little "Bible-thumping" effort in Haiti worth watching, if only to see how people live…


Real Hope For Haiti from Corrigan Clay on Vimeo.



Smokin’ Radio

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010


 Pioneer came out with a smokin’ car radio — actually a super device — at CES last week. The AVIC-X920BT can do everything you can think of in a car.

Engadget picked up on one feature: streaming Pandora via your iPhone:

 Your car’s dash just got a tad bit more interesting with the introduction of Pandora music streaming in Pioneer’s latest navigation unit. The double-DIN in-dash device exploits your iPhone’s cellular connection to glean tunes from the ether and comes with a 6.1-inch display, Bluetooth, 3D video accelerator, and 4GB of built-in memory expandable by MicroSD.

Interesting. I do that with my iPhone, too. Slacker, and many other apps let your stream audio. Do I lose signal? Sure I do. Not as much as with satellite radio under tree cover, however. Pandora is essentially free. Sirius XM is not.

The folks at see more than just a neat product. They see the beginning of the end for Sirius XM:

 A long-feared, potential threat to Sirius XM Radio has become real for many tech-sector observers, prompting them to wonder whether the satellite radio company has reached the beginning of its end.

At last week’s kick-off of the 2010 annual Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s largest tech-trade shows, Pioneer unveiled a new car stereo that can detect Pandora Internet radio settings from iPhones or iPods — which could then be translated into convenient access for the users to their favorite Pandora channels while driving.

Pandora’s potential has been tantalizing from the moment it was launched in 2000, much of it owing to its Music Genome Project — an ongoing compilation of painstakingly-detailed musical data analysis that Pandora has been using to create customized music stations for individual users.

Through the project, the company has steadily added listeners every year, doubling to more than 40 million in 2009, compared to Sirius’ roughly 18 million subscribers as of December.

Through Pandora, users can access tunes via their Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm Pre and Windows Mobile phones.

Ted Cardenas, a Pioneer director of marketing, told the Wall Street Journal that he sees the creation as an opportunity to reach out to an entirely new group of consumers. This has led some observers to conclude that the new Pioneer AVIC-X920BT will threaten the very survival of Sirius, once it becomes available to the market in March.

The choice for the marketplace will therefore be one between a selection of free, Internet radio programming automatically customized to one’s personal tastes versus the subscription-based services of a commercial-free satellite radio company.

Sirius currently offers various subscription packages ranging from about $13 to $20 a month.

Drivers and car owners have represented a large portion of Sirius’ subscriber base, given that vehicles come with the radio installed. Therefore, much of Sirius’ profits have been tied to the success of the auto-industry, which has yet to make a full recovery.

 The poll agrees with what I think: Sirius XM will hold on to their subscribers.

Audio streaming to mobile devices is a good alternative, but it’s not a substitute for satellite radio. No cell service, no audio stream. With satellite radio, you get it everywhere.

2 Minutes for Interference?

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Canadian upstart Ciel Satellite Group is in a battle with DirecTV over the 103° West orbital slot, via the Ottawa Citizen:

In a war of words at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the two companies are accusing each other of threatening effective operation of broadcast satellites and undermining global industry rules. But behind the rhetoric is the deadly serious business of building investor confidence to finance satellites that cost $300 million each to construct, insure and launch.

Ciel is working with an undisclosed manufacturer on the Ciel 6 satellite, scheduled for launch in 2012.

DirecTV got FCC approval in July to launch the RB-2A satellite. Now called DirecTV-12, it was shipped earlier this month to Kazakhstan for launch in the near future.

Combined with two other DirecTV satellites, it will deliver 200 high-definition channels. The FCC said the new satellite "will stimulate competition in the United States and provide consumers more alternatives in choosing communication services." The FCC must consider major issues in the dispute.

In theory, the two satellites can co-exist in the same orbit path. But that would involve technology compromises to avoid signal interference. The changes could limit the markets each seeks to tap.

With consumers and business demanding more bandwidth-hungry high-definition television, video and Internet services, the battle for spectrum and satellites to support the market is growing.

DirecTV is the biggest U.S. satellite direct-to-home service company with 18 million subscribers, plus another six million in Latin America.

It said recently that two-thirds of new subscribers signed up for high-definition TV and related hardware services in the September quarter, the highest level in company history.

DirecTV generated $5.47 billion U.S. in revenues in the September quarter, 10 per cent more than a year earlier.

Ciel has only one satellite in service but it has some powerful allies. Its investors include Borealis, an arm of the giant Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), and SES Americom, one of the world’s biggest satellite operators.

It won its first Canadian licence in 2004 and launched its first satellite last year to serve an orbital slot off the coast of B.C. It is developing business plans for six more slots awarded by the federal government last year.

It also has a big customer in DISH Network, which is a direct competitor to Direct TV. Calian Technologies manages the Ciel satellite under a long-term contract.

I’m relatively certain Telesat is in this fight, too. EchoStar is on the bench, ready to jump over the boards if required.

As they say in hockey, it’s part of the game.



Hummus Loves Satellite

Monday, January 11th, 2010


The food fight between Scripps and Cablevision is being watched closely by many. With 3 million subscribers, mostly in New York Metro, I feel Cablevision stands to lose more than it can gain. Don’t forget about the customer here, Jimmy.

Verizon’s FiOS TV, DirecTV and DISH Network are all hoping to gain customers who love watching Food Network and HGTV — two of the most popular cable channels in the U.S. They should think about leasing DTV sub channels from some of the local broadcasters. Now THAT would make it a real fight.

Meanwhile, in Israel, it’s all about peace and cooperation. We’re talking food and satellite — specifically hummus and a reflector. In fact, they’ve set a new world record: the largest plate of hummus ever.


 A partnership between SatLink Communications Ltd. and Israeli restaurateur and businessman Jawdat Ibrahim, created the world’s largest plate of Hummus, the Middle Eastern delicacy, weighing in at 4090 kilograms. Loaded onto a six-meter satellite dish provided by SatLink, the event brought together food aficionados and an official adjudicator from the Guinness World Records organization to Abu Gosh, a village located outside of Jerusalem.

The world’s largest hummus platter was unveiled and revealed three tons of chickpeas blended with one ton of tehina paste, and more than 5,000 pita breads with which to scoop up the delicacy. Acknowledged world-wide as the epicenter for the preparation and enjoyment of hummus, Abu Gosh is a focal spot for this celebration. Chefs from around Israel arrived early to prepare the overflowing satellite dish. Following local Arab-Israeli singers and a festive blessing by Ibrahim, the Guinness adjudicator acknowledged the new world record.

Here’s the video report..


Years ago, I made hummus using an Armenian recipe, adding homegrown hot peppers to give it some kick. Need to find that recipe.

Drop Test

Monday, January 11th, 2010


The X-37 — or Space Shuttle Jr. according to AIR&SPACE — will have a unique re-entry:

With a wingspan of 15 feet and a length of 27.5 feet, the X-37 looks like a tiny space shuttle. It has a blunt (though windowless) nose, and one rocket engine bell instead of the shuttle’s three. Two cargo doors open just as the shuttle’s do, revealing a four- by seven-foot bay. Like the shuttle, the X-37 was designed for low Earth orbits—in the latter’s case, altitudes of 125 to 575 miles. And the craft will fly like a shuttle, reentering the atmosphere with the orbiter’s 40-degree nose-high attitude. After reentry, it will change to a 20-degree nose-down glide and, flying at up to 220 mph, land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with Edwards Air Force Base as an alternate.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits for January 8, 2010

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Spot LLC, a Globalstar Inc. subsidiary, and DeLorme unveil first handheld GPS with satellite communicator for custom messaging and emergency notification.
[CNN Money – 01/07/2010]


Loral and Barrett Xplore to deliver high thoughput satellite Ka-bans capacity for broadband services in Canada.
[SatNews – 01/07/2010]


Australia set to launch new satellite to help deliver digital TV to remote blackspots.
[Computer World – 01/07/2010]

SSTL has been selected by ESA to supply 14 navigation payloads for the deployment phase of the Galileo satellite navigation system.
[SpaceRef – 01/07/2010]

DIRECTV and Panasonic partner to bring 3D TV to the largest audience nationwide for the first time.
[SatNews – 01/07/2010]


Newtec set to supply Ka-band ready Sat3Play terminals and hub equipment.
[SatNews – 01/07/2010]

Landsat 5 unable to send image data to the ground since December 18; anomaly under investigation by U.S. Geological Survey Landsat Operations Team.
[SatNews – 01/07/2010]

DISH network and NewLion partner to distribute certain DISH Network international channels using NewLion’s IPTV service.
[SatNews – 01/07/2010]


Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite captures image of Snow covering most of England.
[SatNews – 01/07/2010]

ESPN plans launch of 3D channel on June 11; channel to broadcast minimum of 85 live sporting events, the first to be the 2010 FIFA World Cup match in South Africa.
[KWTX – 01/07/2010]

OmniGlobe Networks intends to procure, launch, and operate a Ka-band Fixed Satellite Service satellite (CANUK-1) over Canada in 2013.
[SatNews – 01/06/2010]

Tob Cuban official says U.S. contractor detained last month in Cuba for distributing satellite communications equipment to dissidents worked for American "secret services."
[Reuters – 01/06/2010]

Indian test flight of a geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle with a cryogenic engine rocket engine is put on hold to undergo final evaluation,
[Space Travel – 01/06/2010]

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer captures first look at starry sky that it will sonn begin surveying in infrared light.
[SatNews – 01/06/2010]

Dish Network unveils TV Everywhere suite, which gives customers access to all of their live and recorded programming on a laptop, mobile device, or anywhere in the home wirelessly, at CES.
[CED Magazine – 01/06/2010]


SpaceX completes successful full duration orbit insertion test firing of the Falcon 9 second stage at Texas test site.
[SatNews – 01/05/2010]

While EchoStar and affiliate Sling Media are serving as the backbone of Dish Network’s TV Everywhere suite of services, they’re also offering four products for use by other video service providers.
[CED Magazine – 01/06/2010]

MTN Satellite Communications expands its maritime VSAT business, opening sales and engineering support offices in Hamburg, Germany.
[SatNews – 01/06/2010]

SatMAX, a leading global provider of wireless, non-line-of-sight equipment to extend satellite links, restructures debt in anticipation of expanding globally.
[CNN Money – 01/05/2010]

Globecomm Systems receives $9m contract extension from NATO for communications services and on-site support for the previously deployed BPS-based Blue Force Tracking System.
[Defense Industry Daily – 01/05/2010]

The United Launch Alliance receives a contract modification from U.S. Air Force for launch services for the WGS-4 satellite expected to launch between December 2011 and February 2012..
[UPI – 01/05/2010]

Discover, Sony, and IMAX to partner to create a 24-hour 3D television network in the U.S.
[Broadcasting Cable – 01/05/2010]


GulfMark Offshore selects CapRock’s always-on VSAT communications with 24/7 global support to deploy its broadband maritime service in the North Sea.
[Business Wire – 01/05/2010]

20 people on board sinking vessel 1200 nautical miles west of Chilean coast rescued with help of Falmouth, UK Coastguard, Chilean Coastguard, and U.S. Coastguard using satellite to relay distress signal.
[Falmouth Packet – 01/05/2009]

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Viet Nam okays second communications satellite for the country.
[Vietnam News – 01/05/2010]

DigitalGlobe announces full operational status of WorldView-2 satellite, with imagery now available to global resellers, partners, and customers.
[SatNews – 01/04/2010]

U.S. Air Force will pay to place its Space Based Space Surveillance satellite built by Orbital Sciences in storage because of continued technical difficulties with the Monotaur 5 rocket that was to have launched the satellite in October 2009,
[Space News – 01/04/2010]

Sri Lanka invites two top Malaysian telco operators, Maxis Communications Berhad, and Telekom Malaysia, to invest in Sri Lanka’s first satellite project.
[The Star – 01/04/2010]

iDirect acquires UK-based Parallel Limited, the developer of award-winning SatManage network management software suite.
[SatNews – 01/04/2010]

AsiaSat signes a capacity deal with Vietnam Multimedia Corp. (VTC) for multiple Ku-band transponders on AsiaSat 5.
[Satellite Today – 01/04/2010]

India initiates development of lasers and exoatmospheric kill vehicle that could be combined to produce weapon capable of destroying enemy satellites in orbit.
[SatNews – 01/04/2010]

O3b has a good year in spite of the economy7, with SES investing a total of $75m in the company, but the road ahead is not smooth.
[NSR report – January 2010]

More and more, developing countries turn to Earth Observation satellites to solve problems, meet new missions, and reach goals (example: success of NigeriaSat-1 and plans for NigeriaSat-2) though not all developing nations have the desire or political will to do it.
[NSR Report – January 2010]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services

“Spots On The Wall” by Hu Flung Sat

Thursday, January 7th, 2010


Now we’re getting somewhere with this "TV everywhere" concept.

With it’s ubiquitous coverage, satellite TV is already "everywhere." Now DISH Network, and it’s Sling Media technology, is truly flinging its signals around. The critical summary, via Light Reading’s Cable Digital News:

Dish, which bought Sling Media in 2007 for $380 million and later folded it into its EchoStar Technologies LLC set-top and technology division spinoff, is basing its TV Everywhere strategy on a combination of new hardware and software products that enable customers to "sling" video from the set-top to PCs, mobile handsets, and other video displays with broadband connections. (See EchoStar to Buy Sling Media and Sling Media Slings at CES.)

That all starts with the ViP 922, an HD-DVR that features a 1-terabyte hard drive with Sling’s technology built in. Dish, which was expected to launch that box last year, is matching that with the "TV Everywhere Adapter," a sleeker version of the old Slingbox that gives place-shifting capabilities to a number of Dish HD-DVR receivers using a USB connection. According to Dish’s Website, six existing receivers are compatible with the new place-shifting adapter: the 522, 625, ViP 612, ViP 622, ViP 722, and ViP 722k.

Dish’s new hardware also includes a free-standing, 16×9 WiFi Monitor, also developed by Sling, that is capable of wirelessly transmitting an HD video signal from a set-top to another device on the home’s wireless network. The display itself renders video in 720p and can be used to access the functions of the connected Dish receiver, including the ability to manage DVR recordings.

Dish has also developed a Web-based "Remote Access Mobile App" so customers can manage their DVR recordings on multiple receivers. It also has the ability to transform an iPhone or iPod Touch device into a remote control for TVs connected to compatible Dish boxes. Although Dish’s TV Everywhere hardware components won’t be out until the second quarter, it’s already offering the Remote Access Mobile App for free download.

Dish hasn’t announced any pricing on its TV Everywhere offerings, including the fancy WiFi monitor, but intends to reveal those details closer to the official launch, a company spokeswoman said.

With Sling at the core of this strategy, Dish should find itself ahead of its cable competitors when it comes to TV Everywhere, a term that the satellite-TV giant has since trademarked (it reportedly filed for the trademark last fall), at least in terms of the types of screens it will support at the get-go.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) launched its initial TV Everywhere product, Fancast Xfinity TV, last month, providing authenticated PCs access to a walled garden of on-demand content. Comcast plans to add support for mobile devices later this year. Dish’s version already supports mobile devices, as well as access to the subscriber’s lineup of linear programming. (See Comcast’s ‘Xfinity’ Goes Live and Comcast’s ‘Xfinity’ to Go Mobile in 2010 .)

However, cable MSOs will have an opportunity to offer much of what Dish is introducing in the second quarter. EchoStar, Dish’s tech spinoff, is also marketing a lineup of Sling-loaded boxes for U.S. and European MSOs, but has yet to announce any cable deals. EchoStar officials have also expressed interest in selling Slingboxes directly to MSOs, and it would appear that Sling’s latest standalone box, the 700U, would fit the bill.


Great idea and excellent use of in-house technology. Who knows, maybe I’ll go back to DISH for this?

Having a mobile app for your DVR has some practical use, as we’ve noted before.

Meanwhile, DirecTV is all about 3-D TV at CES. I don’t know, man. Didn’t we just accept HDTV as the "OK, I got it now" technology? Now 3-D? Seems a little early for that, but the "Avatar" movie is out to change that.



Afghan Satcom Links

Thursday, January 7th, 2010


 When we first wrote about the DishPointer AR Pro app a few months ago, this is one of the instances where it can become an indispensible tool for field technicians: quickie site surveys.

Here’s a real example from Afghanistan:

I found out about this thing while doing research to find out the directions to a bird while here in Afghanistan. I stumbles across DishPointer’s website, which was a lifesaver, and saw mention of this app. As soon as I got back to where I could access the market I made sure to get this app. I can’t begin to say how wonderful it is. Being over here, we don’t have any birds that are actually for us. We use Hotbird 6&7, which are for Europe. This App still helps me see if I have line of sight and it helped to align a dish in no time. (I know you see the difference in time in the pics, We had a bad LNB that was making it more difficult to get a good signal.)

The fact that the app stores all the birds for offline use is a truly wonderful thing out here. If I had this before, I could’ve been able to tell within 5 minutes that one of the sites we were at was simply not able to see the bird. We could’ve been in a dangerous location for a mere 15 minutes instead of the 3 days we were there trying to no avail. From now on anytime I go out for an install I’ll make sure my phone is part of my toolbag, and of course this app will be installed.



Getting a site survey done quickly in a combat zone using a $20 app? That’s the type of cost-benefit analysis we like to see.

The DishPointer AR Pro is available via iTunes App Store.