EchoStar Buys Sling Media

By Richard Menta 9/25/07

In a deal worth $380 million satellite Dish Network Satellite TV parent EchoStar agreed to buy Sling Media Inc. The deal, expected to close in Q4 2007, gives EchoStar control of that maker's popular Sling Box device. With Sling Box, Sling Media invented place shifting, which allows road warriors to tap into their home cable connection from their PC or mobile device.

Said EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen in a statement "EchoStar's acquisition of Sling Media will allow us 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 is one of Sling Media's investors so there was already an extended relationship between the two companies. Sling Media CEO Blake Kerkorian said that while the two services are complementary Sling's products will not become a Dish Network-only product.

The Slingbox generated significant controversy among the major television networks and content suppliers like Major League Baseball. There were predictions that Hollywood and would sue Sling over the place shifting concept, a practice they feel should become a pay-per-use service resulting in additional payment for the privilege. Despite the sabre rattling no suit was ever filed.



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