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Dish Adds MSNBC HD

ENGLEWOOD, COLO.: Dish Network rolled out MSNBC in hi-def today. The satellite TV provider said it was the first pay platform to carry the network’s HD feed. Dish has been converting to MPEG-4 compression since 2006, enabling it to carry more HD channels. The system now offers more than 140 national channels in high definition.

A Dish executive quoted in the MSNBC release plugged the company’s recording technology, which has been embroiled in a drawn-out legal dispute with TiVo until recently. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said Dish could go on using its digital video recording technology despite the ruling of a lower court ordering Dish to disable it.

The MSNBC announcement is Dish’s first programming notice since the ruling. TiVo responded with a strategic alliance with Best Buy, which agreed to push Best Buy-sponsored TiVo DVRs.

“Nowhere else will consumers find the variety of HD programming and award-winning DVR technology at the low everyday prices that DISH Network offers,” said Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for Dish Network.

Dish has around 13.6 million subscribers, about 4 million of which have the DVR capability in their receivers.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

Other TVB Dish coverage:
July 2, 2009: “Dish Gets a Break in TiVo Ruling”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit initially granted a temporary stay of the ruling on June 3, and extended it pending the outcome of Dish’s appeal. Opening briefs are due July 17; TiVo’s is due Aug. 25; Dish’s reply is due Sept. 4, with oral arguments anticipated in November.

June 4, 2009: “Court Puts TiVo’s Dish Defeat on Hold”
A federal appeals court issued a temporary stay yesterday on a lower-court decision issued Tuesday in favor of TiVo.

January 14, 2009: “DBS Operator Continues Patent Spat with TiVo”
The folks at the Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) have managed to get the patent police to take another look at TiVo’s time-shifting patent. TiVo and Dish have fought for years over the technology, which TiVo pioneered in its eponymous boxes in the 1990s. Dish eventually incorporated the function into its own set-top boxes, setting off a patent dispute between the two companies.