Dish Fined $200 Million For Sheer Stupidity

TiVo logo.You may have seen ads for the Dish Network claiming its DVR service is actually “better than TiVo.” What you may not know is that they’ve been ordered to stop selling their DVR service after losing a patent struggle with the very company they claim to be better than. As a result, a judge has ordered Dish to pay TiVo a sum of $200 million as punishment.

About $110 million of that punishment actually accounts for profits Dish reaped as a result of patent infringement. The other $90 million is the slap on the wrist. Dish has already paid out nearly $193 million for previous infringement, bringing the grand total of damages to nearly $400 million. Dish says it plans to appeal this most recent ruling.

As you probably know, TiVo really needs the money. A few years ago it had been essentially left for dead. TiVo reported its first profitable year in some time early this year, but that was largely due to a few new contracts and some big lawsuit money from EchoStar. This win for Dish would keep the company healthily in the black, but as more viewers take advantage of web content, we’ll likely see TiVo struggling in the near future.

Source: Bloomberg


Say it isn’t so: Apple to deny the SlingPlayer App?

Just when my gadget life was all coming together.

SlingPlayer AppFirst, I got my Dish HD Absolute package installed about 1 month before they discontinued selling it. So I now get all the HD channels including locals and DVR for $40 a month. Hell yeah! Then I jumped on my wife’s iPhone plan, which is mostly company paid, and converted it to a family plan. Hello shiny new iPhone 3G, goodbye old crappy phone from 2006. Then Dish shows up at CES with a Sling-Loaded DVR. Sling-Loaded meaning that not only can you record, pause, and rewind live TV but now you can also stream that TV to pretty much any internet connected device in the world. How sweet is that? The reason I said pretty much any device is because there is not a SlingPlayer app for the iPhone… at least not yet.

Well, all that changed late last month when Sling submitted their SlingPlayer Mobile app to Apple. You see? You see? Everything is coming together! Or it was until I read this:

Electronista cites “a source close to Apple’s approval processes,” who claims Apple is giving SlingPlayer the red light because AT&T fears it will strain bandwidth on its network.

Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! Damn you AT&T. Damn you Apple for submitting to AT&T. Damn you Sling for being so cool that I would get this upset over an app.

Thankfully, there is a silver lining:

However, thinks SlingPlayer will appear in the App Store for a few reasons. First, Sling is a very high-profile, popular service whose plans for an iPhone app have been well-documented; a flat rejection would cause an uproar. Second, Sling tells it has a good, communicative relationship with Apple, and we trust Apple will not break that relationship. Third, Apple already announced it’s optimizing live streaming in the upcoming iPhone 3.0 OS — a Major League Baseball app using this improved streaming support is already in the works, although it remains unconfirmed whether this will only work with Wi-Fi.

Well now I don’t know what to think. Will it happen? Won’t it happen? Who knows. I just hope the gadget gods give Sling the push they need to get the SlingPlayer Mobile app approved.