Canby Telecom will be using EchoStar Satellite Services'
ViP-TV transport service to deliver high-definition channels to the small telco's
The Canby, Ore.-based provider, which serves about 8,000
customers in suburban Portland, had
been using SES Americom's IP-Prime service,
which the company said it would shut down at the end of July.
The shutdown of IP-Prime, coupled with growing demand from
telcos to beef up their HD content, has created growing interest in ViP-TV
(Video Internet Protocol Television), said Steve Skalski, president of EchoStar
Corp. unit EchoStar Satellite Services.
ViP-TV is currently capable of transmitting via satellite up
to 250 IP-formatted channels of TV and audio programming, including 42 HD
channels in the MPEG-4 H.264 format.
Standard-definition content is encoded at 2.8 Megabytes per
second and HD sent at 7.2 megabytes per second, with the audio on top of that.
"It is very similar to IP-Prime and a pretty simple
transition for them to make," said EchoStar Satellite sales engineer Don Green.
While the closure of IP-Prime has opened up the market for
ViP-TV, Skalski said, "I'm sorry to see IP-Prime go. I like the fact that it
gives us a shot at getting new customers, but it probably doesn't do any of us
any good in this space because we are constantly explaining to people why we
feel that there is a business here when IP Prime pulled out."
SES Americom had cited sluggish
demand as a factor in shuttering the service, but Skalski believes the business
now has potential for growth. That's because more telcos are launching IPTV
services and existing providers are expanding their HD lineups.
"They [SES Americom] had
a great idea of becoming a content aggregator for transport, but because they
were early to the market, it took them a while to gain some momentum," he said.
"I don't think the business model is flawed; I just believe they ran out of
The company's aggressive push to expand ViP-TV's effort
indicates that EchoStar is willing to help local telcos launch services that
would compete for video subscribers with CEO Charlie Ergen's separately traded satellite-TV
provider, Dish Network.
"We aren't competing with ourselves because we [EchoStar]
are a separately traded public company from Dish," said Skalski. "We have our
own management team and own goals and plans to make EchoStar successful as a
technology provider and enabler.
"You will see EchoStar take the expertise it developed over
the years with Dish Network and provide services using that expertise on a
global basis," Skalski said.
Looking forward, Skalski noted that EchoStar has the
capacity to further expand its HD-channel offering. It plans to launch an end-to-end
solution by the end of the year, he said. This product would provide telcos
with all the equipment, including middleware, condition access and set-top
boxes, as well as the transport services needed for the launch of an IPTV