While Sunday was the official Press Day at CES, Monday (and beyond) still offered a few press conferences. I decided to go to both the EchoStar (DISH Network) and DirecTV ones, which were conveniently back-to-back and in neighboring rooms. It was quite interesting to see the complete contrast in styles between both presentations.
Echostar’s conference started with some corporate background and statistics (more than 13 million subscribers!), then moved on to discuss the focus for 2007. The motto was “it’s about time” and some of the key points included: a focus on DVR, no change to consumer pricing, and their HDTV leadership position.
Mark Jackson (president, Echostar technologies corporation – not the NBA player) took the podium to go into some details about new products, services, and technologies. New receivers are coming for 2007, many of which have the 2-room functionality. Mark stressed the importance of this both to consumers as well as to the installation costs.
The flagship new unit is the VIP622 HD receiver, coming to market in Q2, 2007. The unit sports:
- 500GB hard drive (roughly 500 hours of standard def recording, and somewhere between 40-65 hours of HDTV recording)
- Support for VC-1 (Windows Media Video HD)
- External USB HDD support! This was my favorite thing to hear, as it shows the embracement of empowering the consumer to make some of their own decisions. They’ve tested the system with most major USB drives, and it is their stated goal to support as many as possible. The sole limitation of the system is that content recorded on a given receiver can only be played back on the same receiver, so if you have another room or a vacation home, you can’t move the hard drive around.
Mark also mentioned a few strategic relationships, including AT&T Homezone (which they’d apparently like to replace), Sling Media (they are an investor), and Archos (whom they basically own). Afterwards, Charlie Ergen joined to answer Q&A.
Overall it was a fairly dry conference, without too much novelty or technology. Perfect for the financial community, but a little on the dull side for the rest of us. All their slides are
belong to us below:
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