ViP-TV To Compete With IP Prime

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ATLANTA --  EchoStar Communications detailed its new ViP-TV product Wednesday. The programming transport service, which it unveiled earlier this week, will see EchoStar compete with SES Americom, which provides a similar service called IP Prime

Ironically, EchoStar is itself an SES Americom customer and is using  one of its AMC satellites to beam the programming to Earth.

Of course, from the EchoStar perspective, it is now SES that is competing with it, by the account of Dan Daines, general manager of the ViP-TV business unit of EchoStar Fixed Satellite Services.

The EchoStar service uses a high-powered Ku band satellite from SES Americom that will give it the ability to transport 300 or more channels of TV programming to multichannel service providers.

EchoStar also transports local broadcast network programming, in 165 markets.

 “We do a lot of work with EchoStar,’’ said Bill Squadron, president of IP Prime. “I think it’s interesting. In some ways, it’s a validation of our having built the service, that they think this is potentially a good market for them too.’’

But Squadron said that IP Prime is “the strongest service out there.” Among its differentiators: It broadcasts programming from a C-band satellite, which is a “much more sound technology.”

“It’s one thing when you’ve got rain-fade issues to a home,” Squadron said. “It’s another thing when you’ve got rain-fade issues to an entire system.“

Ku band transmissions are high powered, in order to be received by smaller dishes. But they are subject to degradation, from heavy rain.

C-band systems are so-called “big dish” systems, with programming only sent to large antennas that are managed by commercial operators who can make sure the quality of signals are maintained before being sent to out to consumers or business customers.

In the style of thrifty CEO Charlie Ergen, EchoStar did not spend big bucks or an excess of time coming up with its moniker for its IP programming transport service.

Daines said the company only came up with the name ViP-TV last Thursday, Oct. 18; and its lawyers pushed through the trademark clearances by Tuesday, Oct. 23, when the company was ready to announce the service.

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