Dish Demos Google TV to FCC Staff


Last week Dish Network visited the Federal Communications Commission to show off a Google TV set-top working with the satellite operator’s ViP 922 SlingLoaded DVR, according to a Dish ex parte filing with the commission (see Google Sinks Teeth Into TV With Dish And Others).

The idea was to “showcase innovations in video navigation devices already occurring in the market.” At the July 8 meeting were Dish and EchoStar Technologies execs, Paul de Sa, chief of the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, and Media Bureau chief Bill Lake. No word on which YouTube clips the FCC guys were treated to (hopefully not the “Mother’s Day MILF” entry that inadvertently appeared during Google’s original demo).

Dish also said it discussed “technological and customer support challenges” it says would be posed by the commission’s proposed AllVid regulation, without elaborating (see FCC AllVid Rule Would ‘Ban The Set-Top As We Know It’: Analyst).

Here’s the irony of AllVid as proposed: While the FCC imagines it would spur developments like Google TV, in practice such a rule would force Google and Dish back to the drawing board to rejigger their set-tops to work together (see Death Row For the Integrated Set-Top).

Dish, for example, would need to deliver either a gateway or “set-back” device to all of its subscribers by the end of 2012 that provided IP-based video streams, program information and other features, delivered over Ethernet and/or MoCA. Today, Google TV set-tops receive an HDMI input and use a proprietary protocol to control Dish’s ViP 922 receiver.

For Google, having the FCC mandate an “open” standard that would work across all cable, satellite and telco TV providers probably would be worth the short-term pain.

“The FCC’s actions should reflect the goals of Section 629 — to encourage and promote a climate in which consumers can easily and efficiently exercise their rights to select the device on which they can access the content of their choosing,” Google said in comments filed with the FCC in December 2009. “A policy of openness should be primary, so that open device interfaces can be developed and deployed free from MVPD constraints, which may limit functionality, deter improvements, and constrain enhancements in user devices and interfaces.”