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Dish: It's Still All Good

Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) confirmed Thursday that its high-definition television expansion plans remain on track six days after SES Americom declared the AMC-14 satellite "a total loss" when engineers were unable to come up with "viable options" that would allow the bird to be inserted into its proper orbit. (See SES Calls Satellite 'A Total Loss'.)

In an 8-K document filed Thursday, Dish confirmed that it had intended to lease the entire capacity of AMC-14 to "among other things, increase the number of high definition channels that Dish Network offers."

The DBS giant reiterated that the loss of the satellite won't impair Dish's HD expansion effort this spring, adding that it has two more satellites scheduled for launch later this year and remains on track to reach its year-end goal of offering 100 local HD markets and 100 "national" hi-def nets.

That echoes what Dish said soon after news spread that the AMC-14 suffered a "launch anomaly" that occurred during the second burn of the fourth stage of the rocket, which was sent up on March 15 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (See Dish: It's All Good.) At the time, it was believed that the satellite was operational, but there were concerns about how much time would be trimmed from its expected 15-year lifespan.

Dish also noted in Thursday's filing that it won't incur any financial liability as a result of the loss of AMC-14.

While Dish appears to be alright for now, it's still mulling its options. "We are continuing to assess alternatives sources of satellite capacity that will mitigate any affect [sic] that this development [with AMC-14] may have on our longer term plans to roll out additional local HD markets and national HD channels," the company said.

It also means Dish gets to finish the week on a relative high note. Soon after AMC-14 was declared a total loss las week, Dish was dealt another blow when an appeals court denied the company's request for a rehearing in the long-running TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) digital video recording (DVR) patent case. Dish said it intends to take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court. (See The Final Chapter?)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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