We learned back in February that things were not going well for Aria, EchoStar’s effort to produce a CableCARD DVR for the US market. CableOne, who have been trialing the system, was reported to have given up on it and had turned their attention toward TiVo instead. Well, that may have been the last straw as Multichannel News reports that EchoStar has terminated Aria completely:
With the change, the company said in a statement provided to Multichannel News, it will shift resources to support “EchoStar’s unique intellectual property and advanced content-delivery technologies.” The company owns Sling Media, developer of the Slingbox device, and acquired the adaptive bit-rate technology of Move Technologies last year for $45 million.
However, EchoStar said it “remains firmly committed to supplying advanced hardware, software, and system solutions to its global cable, satellite, and telecom customers outside of the U.S. cable set top box market.”
“EchoStar recognizes that the highly demanding and competitive nature of the U.S. set-top market is very cost-competitive,” the company said. “After considerable review of the market and EchoStar’s sales/product development efforts, EchoStar has concluded the U.S. cable market offers insufficient revenue return opportunities to the company and our investors.”
That’s good news for TiVo, as Aria had the potential to be a serious competitor, especially with small-to-medium MSOs, if EchoStar was able to execute. EchoStar certainly knows how to make DVRs; something like a CableCARD version of DISH Network’s Hopper could’ve been quite a strong whole-home product. The death of Aria removes a potential competitor from the field, and really effectively leaves only ARRIS’s Moxi lineup to compete with TiVo for the small-to-medium market. The larger MSO market is dominated by traditional players like Motorola and Cisco, though TiVo has made inroads there with the likes of Charter.