EchoStar Monday announced that they’ve signed a tru2way Host Device License Agreement with CableLabs, which allows them to implement devices using CableCARD and OCAP/tru2way. This may seem odd at first, since EchoStar is often conflated with DISH Network, but remember that EchoStar and DISH split into separate companies, and EchoStar is pursuing non-satellite markets such as OTA with the DTVPal (ironically being marketed by DISH Network) and cable with devices like the SlingModem, from EchoStar subsidiary Sling Media.
This license does open up new possibilities. A CableCARD-enabled Slingbox, perhaps. EchoStar could take their DVR platform, as used by DISH Network, and re-purpose it as a CableCARD DVR for cable MSOs and/or consumers. Something like the recently announced 722s DVR with built-in Slingbox & SlingCatcher features, only for cable, could be quite an interesting product. (Perhaps waiting for the final act in the DVR patent lawsuit with TiVo to remove any uncertainty for customers.) They could produce a whole new cable STB unrelated to any of their current platforms. It will certainly be interesting to see what they do with the license, I’m sure they didn’t sign it just for laughs.
Their press release is below:
For Immediate Release
EchoStar™ Signs tru2way™ Host Device License Agreement with CableLabs®
Company strengthens its commitment to the cable market with tru2way™ agreement, signaling its intent to build set-top boxes for the cable industry.
Englewood, CO., August 11, 2008 â€” EchoStar Technologies L.L.C., an operating entity of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), solidified its commitment to providing innovative products and technologies to the cable industry with its recent signing of the tru2way™ Host Device License Agreement with CableLabs®. This agreement grants EchoStar the rights required to implement OpenCable™ Application Platform (OCAP™) middleware and the CableCARD™ interface on devices using tru2way technology, allowing users to take full advantage of two-way, interactive cable services.
Tru2way technology is an innovative national software platform that enables cableâ€™s interactive services to be delivered to two-way plug and play TVs, set-top boxes, and other devices. Tru2way also creates a national footprint for the creators of interactive services to develop products that work on cable systems in nearly every U.S. market. Major cable operators have committed to support the tru2way platform on systems covering more than 90 million U.S. homes by the end of 2008.
The agreement consolidates, clarifies, and provides an alternative to the existing CableCARD-Host Interface License Agreement (CHILA), and the OpenCable™ Application Platform Implementer Agreement. The tru2way License Agreement is available to any consumer electronics manufacturer on a nondiscriminatory basis.
â€œWe are firmly committed to becoming a vendor of choice in the cable industry, leveraging decades of systems and manufacturing excellence and todayâ€™s announcement asserts our commitment,â€ said EchoStar President, Mark Jackson.
The new tru2way Host Device License Agreement provides manufacturers of retail consumer electronics devices streamlined access to technology required to interface with two-way interactive cable networks, and aligns with the â€œopennessâ€ focus announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Among other terms, the license provides for self-certification and paper certification of retail devices, formal rights of participation by consumer electronics manufacturers in CableLabs processes, approval of new digital outputs via a four-studio approach, and a tru2way trademark license.
EchoStar enters the cable industry with a strong consumer electronics background in innovative and intuitive products, including state-of-the-art, award-winning set-top boxes and value-added features such as Sling Mediaâ€™s innovative and award-winning placeshifting technology.
EchoStarâ€™s set-top box veterans have over 35 years experience in engineering, manufacturing, product development, and end-to-end systems.
EchoStarâ€™s introduction to the cable industry began at The Cable Show, May 18-20, 2008, where the company displayed the SlingModem™ â€” a CableLabs Certified® DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem combined with the placeshifting technology of a Slingbox™.
About EchoStar Technologies L.L.C.
As an operating entity of the publicly traded EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), EchoStar Technologies L.L.C. spans 25 years of delivering innovations in TV entertainment, products, and end-to-end systems. EchoStar services satellite, IPTV, cable, terrestrial, and consumer electronics markets worldwide by combining engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, and service into one company. With over 1,600 professional employees worldwide, EchoStar is focused, dedicated, and ready to service our customers in creative and cooperative development efforts. Through extensive experience with set-top boxes and end-to-end systems, EchoStar is able to provide more competitive business strategies, practices, and reduced product and operational costs.
EchoStar is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, with operations in Foster City, California; Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; Steeton, UK; Almelo, Holland; and Kharkov, Ukraine. Visit www.echostar.com for additional information.
CableLabs, OpenCable, OCAP and tru2way are trademarks of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.
For inquiries and additional information, please contact Brian Jaquet, at Office: (650) 293-8022, Mobile: (415) 235-4844, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: For the record I’m employed by Sling Media, which is owned by EchoStar.