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EchoStar Sets Sights on a Network DVR

Tech company will follow Cablevision's lead with an nDVR that will be delivered to its first service provider customer by year's end

Jeff Baumgartner

October 25, 2011

2 Min Read
EchoStar Sets Sights on a Network DVR

NEW ORLEANS -- Cloud Services Summit -- EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS) is developing a network-based DVR that will be delivered to its first customer by the end of the year, an exec said Tuesday here at an event that's collocated with the TelcoTV show.

EchoStar is working on an nDVR that closely mimics the type of product Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has deployed (and has the legal clearance to deploy) in parts of New York and Connecticut, EchoStar Chief Product Officer John Paul said on a panel dedicated to delivering video via the cloud.

That means EchoStar's system will be built to store the individual programs a given customer sets to record, and won't back up that data. So if a hard drive fails, all of the recorded content on that drive goes poof. "We have to replicate the [Cablevision] model because of the ruling," Paul said, in reference to DVR Plus, the name of Cablevision's new court-approved remote-storage DVR (and 2011 Leading Lights finalist). (See Cablevision's Network DVR Debuts in the Bronx , DoJ: Butt Out of Cablevision RS-DVR Case and Leading Lights Finalists: Best New Service or Application (Cable) .)

Paul told Light Reading Cable in a follow-up conversation that EchoStar doesn't intend to create one massive, centralize storage facility, but will instead look to put storage on the network "as close to the end user as you can ... probably in the city in which the customer lives." That content delivery network (CDN) approach, plus the adoption of adaptive bit rate techniques, will offer significant bandwidth cost savings, he stressed. [Ed. note: EchoStar bought adaptive bit rate pioneer Move Networks Inc. in early 2011.] (See EchoStar Buys Move Networks.)

To create even more favorable economics, EchoStar will employ inexpensive storage drives and has looked at single appliances that can support as many as 5,000 customers.

Although engineers "just hate" the idea of having to create a system that stores individual copies because it's less efficient than delivering multiple streams from one piece of content, Dish thinks its idea will scale and be economical.

"If you run the numbers [on a network DVR] versus putting [storage] in the home, it works. But most people don't run those numbers," Paul said.

Paul says EchoStar is on target to deliver its nDVR product to its first customer by the end of 2011. He isn't revealing that customer, but, historically speaking, corporate cousin Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) has gotten first dibs on new products that have come out of the technology spinoff, which has also developed a line of set-tops that bake in Sling Media Inc. 's place-shifting technology. EchoStar also sells its wares to telcos and cable operators. (See EchoStar Arms Tier 2 MSOs for War .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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