Satellite News at CES



DirecTV (press conference) announced an all-in-one portable satellite receiver, the Sat-Go at CES, reports Engadget.

The Sat-Go packs a 17-inch LCD monitor into its flip-and-fold design, along with an integrated flat antenna that DirecTV says will let you find line-of-sight with DirecTV satellites “within minutes.” Also included is a rechargeable “laptop-style” battery. While DirecTV hasn’t officially announced pricing details, The New York Times is reporting that that the Sat-Go will come in between $1,000 and $1,300 when it launches this spring. Current DirecTV customers will also be able to mirror their service to the Sat-Go for an additional $4.99 per month.

The Times also got word from Sat-Go inventor Rick Rosner (who just happens to also be the creator of CHiPs) that DirecTV already has some additional models in the works, including the Sat-Go Pro, with a ruggedized design for use in emergency situations, and the Sat-Go Light, which will weigh in at less than half the Sat-Go’s 25 pounds.

DirecTV also flogged the TracVision A7 satellite TV system for vehicles ($2,995) which seems to pop up every year. It’s not a two-way internet access system but a one-way television receiver (with a nifty, low-profile phased array antenna).

KVH’s TracVision A7 is designed for passenger vehicles and brings more than 185 channels of live, DIRECTV programming and commercial-free XM Radio music into automobiles.

DirecTV will add 100 additional high definition channels during 2007. Also in 2007, DirecTV customers with HD DVRs should be able to create personalized channels to tailor what they see on certain channels. DirecTV’s Web site will find what is available on-demand. You can click on the link and have the movies stored directly on a DVR.

DIRECTV announced it has carriage agreements with 60 channels for HD that will be available in the third quarter of 2007 including many popular channels currently only available in standard definition. But EchoStar’s Dish Network, which advertises itself as the national HD leader, offering an eclectic HD lineup of 30 channels, introduced new products, but not in HD.

Echostar (press conference), which just passed 13 million subs, mentioned the RaySat Antenna Systems for in-motion 2-way internet access. RaySat is divesting its two-way business to further focus on its in-motion satellite television antennas for the consumer market.

EchoStar’s Dish Network announced today that it’s offering customers a free High-Definition DVR (model: ViP622) without any upfront costs (or rebates) to new subscribers. The free offer is part of EchoStar’s “Digital Home Advantage Program.”

EchoStar Communications chairman Charlie Ergen on Monday dismissed the notion of merging the two satellite tv platforms, reports Multichannel news. But he has not ruled out merger talks with larger rival DirecTV, reports Reuters. He is waiting for Liberty Media to gain control of DirecTV.

Two-way satellite internet access was not a hot topic from DirecTV or Echostar. Maybe that’s because WildBlue now owns that space with its successfull launch of WildBlue -1 and its current $50/month service. WildBlue will continue serving customers on Anik F2, adding new customers to WildBlue-1 once the satellite is fully operational (expected by March 2007).

In other news, DIRECTV customers who have a DIRECTV Plus HD DVR can now access their pictures and music on their TVs directly from Intel Viiv PCs. It marries Intel’s Viiv PC with DIRECTV’s high-definition content in a way that has never been done before,” said Kevin Corbett, vice president, Intel’s Digital Home Group and general manager of its Content Services Group.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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