The Satellite Dish: Back in the Saddle3/10/2010 6:04 PM Eastern
Welcome back to another edition of "The Satellite Dish" here at Multichannel.com! Over the past two weeks I have received a number of very nice emails from many of the readers wondering where we have been. Long story short: there have been some site maintenance issues.
In the meantime, major satellite news broke, with the biggest being the ruling from the United States Appeals Court in the TiVo v. EchoStar case.
I have to admit I wasn't surprised by the ruling, but I was disappointed. This case illustrates just how broken the patent system is in the U.S. It also shows me that both companies have some good points in their arguments. But it also disappoints me that Dish Network has not worked with TiVo to settle this case and move on.
Now it's to the point where I don't care who is right or wrong; I just want this done with. The bad press that Dish has received and all the rumor-mongering that its customers will soon lose their DVR service is out of control.
My take on things is that the court's ruling is based on the older Dish DVRs, and the newer generation receivers are not part of the lawsuit. If TiVo wanted to sue Dish over those models, it appears that they would need to file an entire new lawsuit.
I certainly don't see all of Dish DVRs being shut off, or for that matter I don't see the infringing receivers being turned off either. With Dish's new equipment fees, the DBS operator could easily license from TiVo and still make a tidy profit. Sounds like a win-win to me, for everyone (a group comprising Dish, TiVO and, most importantly, Dish Network customers who have grown to love their DVRs)!
Dish CEO Charlie Ergen didn't seem upset by the ruling on his quarterly customer broadcast known as the Charlie Chat.
On the show, Ergen appeared to be in good spirits, looking like there wasn't anything wrong. In fact, during the telecast the entire TiVo situation was never mentioned on the air.
Ergen even seemed jovial when he quickly mentioned that more HD channels would be coming to Dish in April.
Charlie Chat even showcased a fresh face with some fancy (and great looking) new graphics. Additionally, the technical quality of the show was its best ever, with Ergen and his guest looking razor sharp, and the colors from the set virtually popping off the screen.
The chat even stepped into a new era by taking live video calls from customers via Skype.
And while the show looked great, I have to admit it was a little too much fluff and not enough stuff for me. Charlie Chat has turned more into a promotions tool then a real chat with the CEO. I crave for the days when the chat was made up of just wall-to-wall questions for Charlie. That, my friends, was real reality television.
It feels good to be back!