ESPN Joins New Dish HD Tier

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EchoStar Communications Corp. is playing up its HDTV offerings, signing a deal with ESPN to bring the sports net's new HD channel to its Dish Network programming lineup as part of a new high-definition pay tier.

The ESPN deal will bring ESPN HD to Dish Network's HD tier lineup beginning Sept. 16. It will be part of a new pay HD tier EchoStar will roll out, also including Discovery HD Theater, HDNet and HDNet Movies for $9.99 per month, or $109.89 each year.

Dish also offers HD fare from CBS, Home Box Office and Showtime Networks Inc., and in pay-per-view.

This fall, EchoStar plans to add a new entry-level HD box, the Dish811 that will retail for about $399. In also plans to unveil a new HD DVR box later this year.

ESPN HD debuted in March as the first round-the-clock national sports channel presented in HD, featuring games from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Basketball Championship.

ESPN's previous HD affiliate deals include ones with Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Insight Communications and DirecTV.

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