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Dish Network Corporation is a direct broadcast satellite service provider that offers satellite television, audio programming, and interactive television services to households and businesses in the United Statesmarker and Méxicomarker. Dish Network services were launched in March 1996. Today, the company competes primarily with satellite rival DirecTV and with cable television providers. The corporate office is based at Meridianmarker, Coloradomarker, though the postal designation of nearby Englewoodmarker is commonly listed as the company's location in corporate filings and news accounts. The company was spun off from Echostar in 2008. Dish Network serves approximately 13.68 million subscribers.


Dish Network began operations in March 1996 as a service of EchoStar. EchoStar was formed in 1980 by its chairman and chief executive officer, Charles Ergen, as a distributor of C band satellite television systems. In 1987, EchoStar applied for a direct broadcast satellite license with the Federal Communications Commission and was granted access to orbital slot 119° west longitude in 1992.

On December 28, 1995, EchoStar successfully launched its first satellite, EchoStar I. That same year, EchoStar established the Dish Network brand name to market its home satellite TV system.

In 1998, EchoStar purchased the broadcasting assets of a satellite broadcasting joint venture of News Corporation's ASkyB and MCI Worldcom. With this purchase EchoStar obtained 28 of the 32 transponder licenses in the 110° West orbital slot, more than doubling existing continental United States broadcasting capacity at a value of $682.5 million. The acquisition inspired the company to introduce a multisatellite system called DISH 500, theoretically capable of receiving more than 500 channels on one dish. In the same year, Echostar, partnering with Bell Canada, launched Dish Network Canada.

In January 2005, EchoStar bought the broadcasting assets of the troubled HDTV satellite provider Voom, including its Rainbow 1 satellite colocated with EchoStar 3 at 61.5° West. On April 29, EchoStar announced that it would expand its HDTV programming by adding the first 10 of 21 original Voom channels and mirror the channels on a CONUS slot.

On January 1, 2008, EchoStar split into two separate businesses, Dish Network Corporation and EchoStar Broadcasting Corporation. DISH Network Corporation, the larger of the two resulting companies, focuses on US-based marketing of satellite television, while EchoStar Corporation runs a majority of the satellite fleet and other signal infrastructure.

On December 1, 2008, Dish begun to operate in Mexico, due to an agreement between Dish Network and the mexican media conglomerate MVS. Dish is present in more than a dozen states and several cities, including Guadalajara, León, Monterrey, Irapuato and Mexico City.

On June 2, 2009, Dish Network began airing free monthly concerts on channel 101. An exclusive deal was reached between Dish Network and CMT to offer "CMT Front Row", programming featuring country music stars and concerts. The monthly concerts are available in HD.

Technical information

Satellite dishes

DISH Network offers different types of satellite receiving equipment for obtaining signals from its diverse satellite fleet. Most of their consumer boxes are manufactured by Sanmina-SCI Corporation to EchoStar specifications. Prior to the December, 2001 merger of SCI Systems and Sanmina, DISH Network receivers were produced at factories in Huntsvillemarker, Alabamamarker and Fountain, Coloradomarker. Currently, receiver assembly takes place in Guadalajaramarker, Mexicomarker.

DISH 300 in its original box

Earlier satellite dishes

DISH Network's first satellite antenna was simply called the "DISH Network" dish. It was retroactively named the "DISH 300" when legal and satellite problems forced delays of the forthcoming DISH 500 systems. It uses one LNB to obtain signals from the 119°W orbital location, and was commonly used as a second dish to receive additional high-definition or ethnic programming from either the 148°W or 61.5°W orbital locations. The 119°W slot is one of two primary orbital locations, the other being 110°W, that provide core services.

After EchoStar obtained the broadcasting assets of a failed joint venture between ASkyB and MCI WorldCom, it had more than doubled its capacity by adding 28 transponders at the 110°W orbital location. Since EchoStar also owned the adjacent 119°W orbital location it developed the DISH 500 to receive the signals of both orbital locations using one dish and an innovative dual-LNB assembly. Although the new 20-inch DISH 500 was slightly larger than the then-current 18-inch DISH 300 and DirecTV dishes it had the distinct advantage of obtaining signals from EchoStar's two adjacent satellite locations for a theoretical 500-channel capacity. The DISH 500, as a result, provided very large capacity for local-into-local service, nationwide programming, and business services. In order to migrate existing customers to DISH 500, DISH Network provides value-added channels in addition to local channels that can only be received with the DISH 500 and newer systems. Some of these channels exclusive to these newer systems are History Channel International, Boomerang, The Science Channel, Planet Green, and Comedy Central. With the launch of EchoStar X in 2006 at 110°W thousands of local channels will only be available with a DISH 500 system.

Higher capacity satellite dishes

Dish 1000.2 (with TurboHD branding) mounted on a residential apartment railing.
In spite of all this capacity, EchoStar still needed to fulfill the dream of nationwide high-definition television and conceived the DISH 1000 system to receive signals from 110°W, 119°W, and 129°W orbital locations. Originally, DISH Network high-definition subscribers required two separate satellite dishes. Today, DISH Network subscribers can receive nationwide HDTV channels using the 129°W orbital location or 61.5°W orbital location. Because of issues with low signal strength, the older model DISH 1000 has been replaced with the DISH 1000.2. The 1000.2 has a 10% larger reflector for better signal strength and an integrated LNB for easier installation. The DISH 1000.2 is in diameter.

SuperDISH 121 mounted on a roof
During DISH Network's quest for capacity, they had accumulated an array of satellite broadcasting technologies, orbital locations, and surplus capacity using non-mainstream technologies requiring larger dish sizes. To capitalize on these broadcasting assets, DISH Network started providing extensive ethnic programming from lower-powered satellites broadcasting in the non-DBS portion of the FSS band. DISH Network offers specialized equipment for these customers including larger dish antennas.

The SuperDISH, DISH 500+, and DISH 1000+ systems receive DBS signals from both of the primary 110°W and 119°W locations (129°W for DISH 1000+) as well as lower-powered FSS signals from either 121°W, 105°W, or 118.75°W. The DISH 500+ and 1000+ systems receive circularly-polarized signals in the non-DBS portion of the FSS band—the only American satellite television service to do so.

Broadcast technology

While for years DISH Network has used standard MPEG-2 for broadcasting, the addition of bandwidth-intensive HDTV in a limited-bandwidth world has called for a change to an H.264/MPEG4 AVC system. DISH Network announced as of February 1, 2006, that all new HDTV channels would be available in H.264 format only, while maintaining the current lineup as MPEG-2. DISH Network intends to eventually convert the entire platform to H.264 in order to provide more channels to subscribers.

Both a standard receiver and a receiver with built-in digital video recorder (DVR) are available to subscribers. The DISH Network ViP722 HD DVR (Record up to 350 hours of standard-definition (SD), up to 55 hours of high-definition (HD)) replacement to the ViP622 has received generally positive reviews from CNET and others.

Both a standard receiver and a DVR (digital video recorder) are available to subscribers for an upgrade fee. Currently, DISH Network charges $5.98 per DVR as a DVR service fee, which covers cost of licensing EPG (extended program guide) from TV Guide.

Satellite fleet

Most of the satellites used by DISH Network are owned and operated by Echostar Corporation. Since EchoStar frequently moves satellites among its many orbiting slots this list may not be immediately accurate. Refer to and Dish Channel Chart for detailed satellite information.

Dish Network Satellites
Satellite Location (Degrees West) Launched Type Notes
EchoStar III 61.5 Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space A2100AX Some transponders on this older satellite do not work. Some space on EchoStar III was formerly used by Sky Angel during its use of Dish technologies.
Echostar XII/ Rainbow 1 61.5 Lockheed-Martin AS-2100 Rainbow 1 was launched by Cablevision/Rainbow DBS and used for the Voom DBS service at 61.5° W until the satellite and transponder licenses were sold to EchoStar in 2005. March 2006 saw DISH Network rename it to EchoStar 12. It is co-located with EchoStar III at 61.5° W.
EchoStar VI 72.7 Space Systems/Loral FS-1300 Currently only a part of Eastern Arc.
Nimiq 5 72.7 Space Systems/Loral LS-1300 A Canadian satellite operated by Telesat Canada. Echostar leases the satellite's capacity.
EchoStar IV 77 Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space A2100AX EchoStar IV is used for DISH Network Mexico and is not licensed to serve customers in the United States. This satellite had a launch issue and is largely a placeholder for EchoStar slots.
EchoStar I 77 Lockheed Martin Astro Space Series 7000 (AS-7000) Can carry a limited amount of services on odd numbered transponders.
77 Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) FS-1300 Formerly at 110.
EchoStar X 110 Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space A2100AX
EchoStar XI 110 SS/L 1300
EchoStar VII 119 Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space A2100AX
Anik F3 118.75 Astrium Eurostar 3000 Customers use the 36 inch DISH 500+ or DISH 1000+ to receive this non-DBS, medium-powered signal. Anik F3 is leased by EchoStar from Telesat Canada to serve CONUS customers. It broadcasts on non-DBS FSS frequencies using circular polarity (the only satellite serving the United States in this mode). It permanently replaces AMC-16 which was temporarily placed at 118.75° W due to delays in Anik F3 production. AMC-16 moved back to 85° W when Anik F3 was fully operational. A primarily international satellite with international channels once on 61.5, 121, or 148.
EchoStar IX/ Galaxy 23 121 Space Systems/Loral FS-1300 Customers use SuperDISH 121 to receive this non-DBS, medium-powered signal. Satellite is jointly owned by EchoStar and Intelsatmarker. The Ku band is owned by EchoStar. Ka band payload owned by EchoStar and not currently in use. C band payload owned by Intelsat and is known as Galaxy 23.


Programming has now been removed from EchoStar IX and is being provided from 118.7
Ciel-2 129 Thales Alenia Space Spacebus-4000C4 Replaced Echostar-V at the 129°W orbital location. Owned by Canadian Ciel Satellite Group, EchoStar leases the entire bandwidth of the Ciel-2 satellite. Provides national HD programming and HD spotbeam locals.
EchoStar V Deorbited from 148 Space Systems/Loral FS-1300 EchoStar V was moved from 110 to 129 and finally to 148. International programming at 148 has moved to Anik F3/118.75°. Locals have moved to spotbeams at other locations. The satellite was to serve as a placeholder for EchoStar at the 148 slot. The satellite was experiencing stability issues which made signal levels unstable for the short time it was located at 148. On 07/31/2009 all remaining programming at 148 ceased. Factors now indicate discontinuation of the 148 slot, at least for the short term, 3–4 years.

Criticisms and controversies

Telemarketing violations

Dish Network independent dealers have repeatedly been charged and fined for employing illegal telemarketing tactics, such as violating do not call lists and making calls in which a live telemarketer does not connect promptly after the call is answered. Most recently, Dish Network has moved proactively with legal action against independent dealers committing such violations. Furthermore, beginning in late 2008 and continuing as late as January 8, 2009, Dish Network has launched a campaign to terminate agreements with independent dealers regarding business practices that defraud either the customer or Dish Network itself. Press releases have been issued just about monthly with a new list of dealers who have been terminated from their association with Dish Network. Despite this, in March 2009 the Federal Trade Commission charged Dish Network and two of its dealers with multiple violations of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. Most recently DirecTV has been charged by the FTC for violation of the do not call list.

Fee disclosures

In 2004, thirteen states charged that Echostar, parent company of DISH Network, had not disclosed termination fees to potential customers and had debited customers' bank accounts for hidden fees. The company settled the lawsuit, paid $5 million, and promised to disclose all terms prior to signing contracts with potential customers.

Programming disagreements

Dish Network began negotiations with GTN (Gay Television Network) to carry the channel. GTN sent out a press release on February 2, 2001, announcing its launch and that its channel would be carried by Dish Network. Dish Network responded by denying that any contract had been signed and that the press release was premature. The president of GTN responded by calling Dish Network "homophobic". In April 2002, Dish Network signed a contract to carry GTN, renamed to Triangle Television Network, then Q Television Network. Dish Network now offers the Logo channel (HD only) in an add-on package (Platinum HD) along with 10 other HD channels for an additional fee. Dish Network has recently been in several disputes in some markets to carry their local channels.

ESPN Lawsuit

On August 4, 2009 Dish Network sued ESPN for $1 million in a federal lawsuit, alleging that it had breached its contract by not extending the same carriage terms the programmer provided to Comcast and DirecTV for ESPNU and ESPN Classic. The lawsuit claims ESPN violated the "Most Favored Nations" clause.

The next day, ESPN announced they will fight the lawsuit and said in a press release: "We have repeatedly advised Dish that we are in full compliance with our agreement and have offered them a distribution opportunity with respect to ESPNU and ESPN Classic consistent with the rest of the industry. We will not renegotiate settled contracts and will vigorously defend this legal action, the apparent sole purpose of which is to get a better deal."

Dish Network moved ESPNU from its "Classic Gold 250" package to its "Classic Bronze 100" package on September 30, 2009. However they claim it has nothing to do with the lawsuit.


  • Charles Ergen, Founder, Chairman, President and CEO
  • Carl Vogel, Vice Chairman
  • R. Stanton Dodge, Executive Vice President of Legal
  • Bernard L. Han, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Mark W. Jackson, President, EchoStar Technologies
  • Dean Olmstead, President of Fixed Satellite Services
  • Steven B. Schaver, President of EchoStar International
  • Stephen W. Wood, Executive Vice President of Human Resources

See also


External links

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