DISH Networks has made much noise with HD recently, culminating with their launch of an all HD package, branded TurboHD. Now comes word that they are the “first” pay-TV provider to go all MPEG-4 with standard and high definition programming. “New customers in 21 designated markets in the eastern half of the U.S. who sign up for any DISH Network HD package will be the first in the nation to receive the industry’s most advanced delivery system on all televisions connected to DISH Network service,” said DISH in a company statement. The moves come on the heels of a couple dismal quarters for DISH, including 2Q08, where they lost subscribers for the first time in history.
So will these moves be enough? Maybe. You have to give DISH credit. They faced a major setback in HD earlier this year when they lost a satellite shortly after launch. They’ve managed to get past that hurdle. The MPEG-4 announcement makes for a great press release, but I’m not sure how much of an impact it will have on everyday consumers and their choice in pay-TV service. The TurboHD offering has a better chance of moving the needle for them. In addition, they announced new value programming options of $10/month and $20/month, tied to the DTV transition, echoing similar DTV exploitation strategies being pursued by cable competitors. DISH is feeling competitive heat from all angles, including telcoTV providers. It appears as if they are making some real efforts to meet those competitors head on, and reverse the trend of the past two quarters. Will it work?