Dish Network delays MPEG-4 and additional HDTV channels

January 11, 2005

dishnetworkEchoStar’s transition from MPEG-2 encoding to MPEG-4 will be delayed another year or so according to Charles Ergen, CEO of EchoStar (Dish Network’s parent company). The new roll out for MPEG-4 transmission will now likely fall sometime in 2006. I’m sure this news isn’t going to please many DISH owners, especially with Voom and DirecTV already significantly ahead of DISH in HDTV programming, and likely to pull even farther ahead in the coming months.

This is actually somewhat surprising considering DISH’s early commitment to HDTV, but since those days they seem to have stagnated somewhat, seemingly feeling comfortable with ‘good enough’. I don’t want to paint an overly negative picture of DISH as they still have one offering even Voom can’t claim, a HD-DVR, but even that will change come March (fingers crossed) as Voom plans to launch their DSR-580 HDTV DVR.

DISH’s transition to MPEG-4 will require replacement of existing set top boxes in subscriber’s homes, with the switch-out expected to take four years to complete.
Ergen stated the process will be handled in phases, with DISH Network HDTV customers expected to be first in line for equipment upgrades. During the transition period, DISH Network programming will be transmitted in both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Dish Network News