10.13.2005 02:42 PM
EchoStar intros portable media player

The operator of the Dish Network satellite cable TV service introduced a portable media player last week that can display TV programs or movies, play music, and store digital photographs.

EchoStar Communications’ PocketDish works not only with Dish Network equipment but also with most televisions, PCs or Macintosh computers, digital cameras, digital video recorders and VCRs. It is not compatible with Apple’s iTunes video service.

The device, which is not equipped to receive programming broadcast directly from Dish’s satellites, is one of a growing number of portable multi-use electronic devices on the market or expected to be introduced that display video content.

Rival products include devices from Dell, Samsung Electronics and Creative Labs. The new Dish player is based on an operating system from Archos, which introduced one of the first portable media players.

The player comes in three sizes, featuring screens from 2.2in to 7in and weighing 6oz to 20oz for the top-of-the-line unit. Prices range from $329 to $599.

The player can download or record from TV in real time, similar to a DVR or VCR, through standard television connections. It also can transfer files from certain Dish Network recorders via a USB 2.0 connection at a rate of about an hour of programming transferred in five minutes.

The USB connection also links the player to PCs, Macs and other digital equipment. The player can handle MP3, WAV and WMA music files.

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