EchoStar to acquire Sling Media

EchoStar Communications will acquire Sling Media, a maker of set-top box technology that transmits home-based TV programming to mobile and broadband devices.

In a press statement, Charlie Ergen, CEO and co-founder of EchoStar, said that the acquisition would allow his company “to offer innovative and convenient ways for our customers to enjoy their programming on more displays and locations, including TVs, computers and mobile phones, both inside and outside of the home.” EchoStar owns the DISH Network direct-to-home satellite service, which serves approximately 13.585 million customers.

Sling Media manufactures the Slingbox and SlingPlayer device and software families, which plug into users’ home TV sets and Internet connections to allow for remote viewing of programming on any Internet-connected device, such as a mobile phone. The Slingbox uses an algorithm to automatically adjust compression level, video bit rate, frame rate and other settings for a consistent viewing experience. Last year, the company introduced a mobile version of the SlingPlayer, allowing users to stream video to portable devices.

Acquiring Sling Media would allow EchoStar to capitalize on the widespread brand recognition of the Sling Media name and technology to push its programming out to more displays and locations. At the same time, Sling Media will have access to the DVR technology created by EchoStar.

The transaction, valued at approximately $380 million, is expected to close by the end of this year.

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