Keep an eye on: EchoStar

September 25, 2007

SlingPlayer MobileEchoStar may be working to make it easier to take home TV shows on the road.

The No. 2 satellite TV provider made two announcements within 24 hours. The first, and perhaps most compelling, is its $380 million deal to buy Sling Media, a privately held company known for its Slingbox device that relays home television programs to laptops and cell phones.

Then EchoStar said it might spin off its technology and infrastructure assets — including Sling — into a publicly traded company separate from its pay-TV business. At least one analyst, Bernstein’s Craig Moffett, called the pair of moves “”incrementally positive.”

“The acquisition hints at a differentiation strategy for DISH, wherein EchoStar subscribers will be able to take their Pay TV subscription with them when away from home.”

Technology writer Om Malik says on his blog that history proves that building a gadget in Silicon Valley “is a tough task” and that Sling is smart to sell.

“Sling has established a nice brand, but in order to grow further the company needs deep pockets of a corporate master.”

Several questions are raised: Will EchoStar eventually sell one of the two split companies? If EchoStar’s CEO heads Sling, what of its partnership with DirecTV and the cable providers? What about content providers like Major League Baseball who aren’t so keen on Sling’s place-shifting technology?

Check out Reuters interview with Sling Media’s CEO Blake Krikorian from January here.

(PaidContent )

Keep an eye on:

  • launched an early version of “Amazon MP3,” the highly anticipated digital music download store that is seen as a potential rival to Apple’s iTunes. (Reuters)
  • Microsoft began selling “Halo 3,” hoping the acclaimed alien shooter game will widen its lead over Sony in the battle for industry dominance. (Reuters)
  • Microsoft Corp is in talks to buy up to 5 percent of Facebook in a deal that could value the fast-growing online social network company at $10 billion or more. (WSJ )
  • Apple said programs available on the Internet allowing the iPhone to be used with other service providers besides AT&T can irreparably damage the device. Once an Apple-supplied software update is installed on the iPhone, it “will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable.” (Reuters )

(Photo: Sling Media)

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