EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) and its DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service announced today from the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show the rollout of its new high-definition television package, DishHD. By offering the most HD channels in the pay-TV industry and with the introduction of a new line of advanced satellite receivers, DishHD gives its customers more than 1,700 hours a week of HD content from the nation's top programmers.
DISH Network is expanding its HD channel lineup in 2006 by adding five new original VOOM channels -- bringing the total to 15 -- as well as other new HD networks including ESPN2 HD and Universal HD. In addition, DISH Network will launch high-definition local channels through its satellite service in up to 50 markets in 2006, starting with Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York in February, and reaching more than 50 percent of U.S. TV households with local HD channels. The remainder of the country's local HD channels will be offered to DISH Network customers via an off-air antenna solution.
DishHD offers 25 national HD channels plus local broadcast channels where available, providing more than 200 hours of HD programming every day. Cable companies, with a national average of just 10 HD channels, cannot come close to the robust lineup of DishHD.
With up to four different programming packages to choose from, DishHD customers can find an option that best fits their viewing needs. For as little as $54.99 a month, customers can access the entire 25-channel DishHD lineup, and get more than 70 all-digital standard definition channels plus their local channels in standard and high definition.
Current DishHD channels include:
VOOM Networks Discovery HD ----------------- ESPN HD Animania HD Monsters HD HBO HD Equator HD Rave HD HD Net Film Fest HD Rush HD HD Net Movies Gallery HD Ultra HD HD Pay-Per-View HD News Kung Fu HD Showtime HD TNT HD
On Feb. 1, DISH Network will begin transmitting newly added HD channels in MPEG4, a signal compression standard developed by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group). MPEG4 allows DISH Network to maximize the bandwidth available on its satellites and offer the most robust lineup of HD channels in the nation.
New DishHD channels available only in MPEG4 include:
VOOM Networks ESPN2 HD ------------------ Universal HD Family Room HD HD Locals Gameplay HD Treasure HD World Cinema HD WorldSport HD
DISH Network is also introducing at CES a new series of satellite receivers that combine MPEG4 and MPEG2 signal capability. The cutting-edge ViP Series combines state-of-the-art imaging technology with life-like Dolby(R) Digital 5.1 surround sound for the best picture and sound quality available. Existing customers with MPEG2 equipment, such as the DISH Player DVR 942, will continue to receive all their current content and will need to upgrade to a ViP Series receiver to receive the new HD channels. DISH Network will offer a convenient upgrade package for existing customers who want to expand their HD lineup to include the new channels.
The ViP211(TM) HD satellite receiver, the first model in the ViP series that supports both MPEG4 and MPEG2, is available through DISH Network for only $49.99 for new lease customers.
Also included in the ViP series is the ViP622(TM) DVR, the world's first MPEG4 multi-room high definition and digital video recorder satellite TV receiver with the ability to view independent programs -- one in high definition and one in standard definition programming -- on two televisions at once. No other pay-TV company offers this innovative combination. It features a massive hard drive with a recording capacity of up to 25 hours of high-definition and up to 180 hours of standard-definition content.
The cutting-edge ViP622 DVR also features reverse, fast-forward, and pause as well as a picture-in-picture feature on any TV and the ability to record Dolby Digital(R) when available. The ViP622 DVR will be available in the first quarter of 2006 for a one-time upgrade price of $299 for new lease customers, which includes a dish antenna and free standard professional installation (monthly DVR fee applies).
The ViP622 DVR also features:
-- Digital/analog off-air tuner
-- Up to 9-day, Picture-In-Guide, Widescreen Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
-- High-Definition Resolutions: 480p, 720p, 1080i (480i is up-converted)
-- Records two programs simultaneously in high definition, but programs can be viewed in standard definition on other TVs in the home.
The ViP622 DVR offers DISH Network's convenience and features that customers have grown to depend on, including parental controls, electronic program guide, picture in guide and name-based recording.
Consumers can call 1-800-333-DISH (3474) or visit www.DISHNetwork.com for more information.
EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) serves more than 12 million satellite TV customers through its DISH Network(TM), the fastest growing U.S. provider of advanced digital television services in the last five years. DISH Network offers hundreds of video and audio channels, Interactive TV, HDTV, sports and international programming, together with professional installation and 24-hour customer service. Visit EchoStar's DISH Network at www.dishnetwork.com or call 1-800-333-DISH (3474).
EchoStar Communications Corporation
Heather Black, 720-514-5351