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First of all, do we know the timeframe of how long it is estimated to be before current DirecTV equipment will no longer work?


I have heard that DirecTV equipment will be converted to DishNetwork equipment. I assume it is too early to know how "fair" the conversion program will be (ie: will everyone get the same cheapo DishNetwork receivers or will the conversion be based on what box you currently have?)


It sure sounds like a DirectTiVo with lifetime service a dumb thing to buy right now, right?


Any other comments on what is a bad thing to buy right now based on the announced proposed merger?
 

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It will be interesting how Dish will deal with the Tivo affiliation of Directv. Since they already have the dishplayer models, IMHO Dish may send Tivo walking.


Matt
 

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I was on the verge of buying new receivers once they were all WINK enabled. Forget that, it's all irrelevant now.


I was going to buy 2 new model DirecTiVo's, when they finally came out. No point on that. E* plays hard and fast with their own versions. Goodbye UTV and DirecTiVo.


It's been discussed before, that E* may give you $50 on a trade-in per receiver to switch to their system. That's all they can afford.


Why buy anything new. All the companies that make D* equipment will die away. I suspect some new models will be immediately canceled.


The only benefit will be that they can use their shared Sat for all LiL.


One thought. Will D* now cancel all their upcoming Sat launches ?

Why waste their money for something now obsolete ? Along with that, why would they bother to add new channels anymore.


DBS will now fully compete with Digital Cable with Bad Service, steadily rising Prices, and PQ that may slip to Cable quality.


I'm really depressed about this.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RScogland
First of all, do we know the timeframe of how long it is estimated to be before current DirecTV equipment will no longer work?


I have heard that DirecTV equipment will be converted to DishNetwork equipment. I assume it is too early to know how "fair" the conversion program will be (ie: will everyone get the same cheapo DishNetwork receivers or will the conversion be based on what box you currently have?)


It sure sounds like a DirectTiVo with lifetime service a dumb thing to buy right now, right?


Any other comments on what is a bad thing to buy right now based on the announced proposed merger?
No. I suspect even Charlie doesn't have a clue about the time line yet since he was probably as surprised by G.M.'s indecisiveness Saturday as we were. In any event I can't imagine he would start swapping boxes out prior to regulators having a look at the deal and weighing in. But, who knows - I predicted yesterday that today would be a good day for Murdoch. We also don't know whether the DirecTV subscribers will get a free swap to Dish Network equipment or will have to pay some or all of the equipment cost. Remember, as of today, CharlieTV is now more than 14 Billion dollars in debt (He was over 10 billion dollars in debt prior to the deal). Footing the bill for ~14+ million IRDs (approximately 40% of DBS subs have multiple receivers) - even entry level ones - would be a significant burden on the combined company. Figuring Charlie's production cost at ~$50.00 per unit yields a swapout cost of ~7 hundred million dollars - not exactly chump change. I'll make another fearless prediction - subject to be blown out of the water again within 24 hours :D - there ultimately will be a swap out of DirectTV equipment, NOT Dish Network equipment. Charlie has publically complained within the past three months about losing potential subscribership because of DirecTV's piracy problem. I can't conceive he'll allow those hacked cards and the IRDs they service to stay in the data stream any longer than absolutely necessary.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dmon4u
One thought. Will D* now cancel all their upcoming Sat launches ?
I think those satellites, the launch costs, and the associated insurance have already been bought and paid for. I doubt that any of it is refundable. They're also probably part of the deal, now.
 

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Folks,


They hope to close the 2nd half of next year. Likely a year from now at best. That is assuming that the deal can close.


Our present hardware has a year left at least. I'm not panicking.


I myself doubt that the deal will close w/o some lengthy discussion.



grandpa_tivo
 

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Folks , it is way too early to speculate. Check that, it is certainly time to speculate. But it is way to early to know with any degree of certainty what the outcome of the potential merger will be. It's no certainty that the sale will be approved, and that process is expected to take 9-12 months. If it doesn't go through, Hughes picks up $600 million for its trouble, and Newscorp is probably back at the front door.


If the deal does get approved, a single platform would be the objective. So set-top boxes would change over time. But getting to that point will be accomplished over a period of 1-3 years. The first priority in those transitions will be to take advantage of opportunities for new revenues, e.g. 60 new local channel markets. The decision on what the go forward platform will be has not been made. There was discussion of dual platform boxes being developed, but again, those decisions have not been made.
 

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As a DirectTV customer, I'm not particularly worried about the use of my equipment for the next two years. If the deal does go through, I do think there will be offers to switch over to the new equipment, much like the offer DISH has now for its current owners to switch to new equipment (DISH 500 boxes with PVRs). I think those offers will be compelling enough in both price and programming (if only the new equipment can get 500 channels or so and there is 500 channels of programming available) that it will encourage enough DirectTV and DISH owners to switch. He may even look at the various numbers for each type of DirectTV dish and just about force the owners to switch over to new equipment, by dropping all support, raising prices for the programming package that goes with that old dish, or not upgrading it. We may end up with a multi-tiered equipment and programming - similar to cable companies that have analog and digital packages.


I think if he can pull off additional programming for better prices, most of the grumbling about phasing out of equipment will fade.

I am more worried about not getting new channels and programming than about old equipment. Of course, customer service is important. If I wasn't, I would go back to cable or just have a simple antenna.
 

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As a recent purchaser of over $600.00 in new Directv equipment including an UltimateTV receiver, I am truly hoping for a slow phase-in time. The main reason I went with Directv instead of Dish was the quality and variety of receiving equipment. I can't see Dish hurting their relationship with over 10 million (or the majority of their) subscribers. Whatever happens, DBS is still miles ahead of cable (digital or otherwise). I hope pricing doesn't suffer.


Karl
 

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Whatever the future of the combined company holds, this is probably NOT a good time to go on a buying binge of DirecTV bells-&-whistles equipment.
 

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I will absolutely under no condition switch to DISHs junk boxes. He better think long and hard on letting companies like RCA, Sony, etc on continuing on making their boxes that work with his system. So people won't even realize that they are switching.

Why does he think he is #2, it's because his products suck! Not one of his products can come close to DirecTV's. I guarantee he looses half of DirecTV's customers if he switches them to Dish boxes as they are today.


But I also do not believe this deal will go thru.
 

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It seems to me the only big losers would be the purchasers of integrated High Definition DirecTV receiver/monitors. If I owned such (because of the convenience of not having to have a second box and numerous interconnecting cables) I would be seriously annoyed now - the best case would be at no cost you get a new HD receiver to supplement the one you already own - which is inside the monitor!


The HD stuff is all I care about - the picture quality of all standard definition DSS is really poor when displayed on a big RPTV or projector - I get better SD off analog cable. I've tried both Dish and DirecTV SD and found them both seriously lacking in picture quality on a big screen. Compression artifacts galore!


I for one hope that the "new technology" they are talking about post-merger is high definition - sure it will obsolete existing Dish and DirecTV receivers (and all standard def VCRs and TiVo's and Replay TV's), but that stuff was already on the way out. If this change accelerates high definition, it can't happen soon enough.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ray H
Whatever the future of the combined company holds, this is probably NOT a good time to go on a buying binge of DirecTV bells-&-whistles equipment.
Actually, It's probably not a good time to go off and buy lots of bells and whistles equipment from E* either. If the merger does go through, I would expect a changeout of both E* and D* equipment - no IRD made today can accomodate 3 or 4 slots and get all the guide information.


Personally - I plan on staying put with the equipment I have (only exception would be if one breaks beyond repair) in regards to my IRD's. When the time comes for change out for me, I will look at what's available and make my decision then.
 

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I think TiVo will continue to make combo PVR/IRDs for the combined company. Although this might be the death of MS UTV and Echostar PVRs. Hopefully Sony, Philips and more will make IRDs and PVRs.


Steve
 

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People fail to realize this will be a merger with Dish only recieving 40% of the stock with G.M. holding over 50%. I don't see any Direct TV equipment being phased out anytime soon. They'd lose too many customers.
 

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I don't see this as an immediate death of UTV. I can't see Dish deliberately leaving people in the cold. Not a good way to do business, no matter who your enemies are, and your history with them. I know Tivo owners would love to see UTV disappear for some reason - as if they are personally benefitting from people buying Tivo instead of UTV. Hopefully we (Tivo and UTV owners) won't be stuck with Dish PVR systems when all is said and done!


Karl
 

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I agree with the, "It's not time to go out and buy any equipment with bells and whistles," statement. With the announcement, though, it would seem that there is suddenly a huge amount of stock sitting on store shelves that has become less valuable. I'd think that potential new subscribers would be wary of buying into any of this (DirecTV or Echostar) until the dust settles and a definite plan emerges. Likewise, those of us who are subscribers would be less likely to upgrade or buy 2nd receivers.


Two examples: I was thinking of purchasing another DirecTiVo. Now it's not a consideration as who knows how long the life of the box would be. A friend at work who really likes her standalone TiVo and was building a house and planning to get 2 DirecTiVos had been asking my opinion on it. I had told her how much I liked DirecTV and TiVo. Since the announcement, though, she has come back to me to see what I think. My advice: "I still like DirecTV and TiVo, but I'd hold off purchasing until all the dust settles."


I'd expect that this announcement will nearly stop subscriber growth for both companies until they clearly define what they intend to do with the eqipment. Simply stating that, "We'll be replacing the equipment free of charge to all subscribers," doesn't do it. They could replace all my equipment with something equivalent to the low-end DishNetwork boxes and make an offer that I have to pay $X to get something near the eqivalent of what I have now in terms of features/functionality.


I'd think that Sony/RCA/Philips/etc. would be none-to-pleased about this in that it'll make the current shelf-stock harder to sell.


Enjoy!


Brad
 

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Well I don't know the exact number of subscribers for each system, but I would have to assume that in addition to the physical assets (i.e. satellites), that the real asset of DirecTV is the customer base. So the obvious smart/logical thing for Echostar to do is to not piss off the DirecTV customers. However, we all know that people (as well as large corporations) don’t always do the ‘smart’ thing. Time will tell.


I have three receivers. One is a combined NTSC/DTV/DirecTV that I use 50% for HDTV and 50% for DirecTV. If they switch stuff out, it better be 100% free and for equivalent equipment. My purchase of the equipment (in my own mind) includes an implied contract with DirecTV. I buy the receiver, you provide the programming and you also don’t screw things up by making my receiver obsolete. I am in effect going to treat Echostar the same way. Since they bought DirecTV, they also bought my implied contract.


If they piss me off, I am going to switch to cable and trash the receivers. I am sure I am not alone in this way of thinking.


Also, I am getting ready to move to a new house in about 30 days. Am I looking forward to setting up my DirecTV dish? Not really. Probably will just do a temporary install (somehow), then wait and see what happens. They can expect sales of new receivers (both DirecTV and Echostar) to slump once the word gets out.


Eventually (probably sooner rather than later) they are going to have to announce what they plan to do. I expect they already know what the plan is. Once again, the ‘smart’ thing to do would to actually have some idea what you plan to do before you actually buy a competitor that has so much legacy equipment in the field.


If it was my decisions, I would let things ride awhile (wait for all governmental approval, etc.), consolidate the ground uplinks, and other standard merger type of stuff. Regarding equipment in the hands of subscribers? I would phase in a next generation of equipment that is not directly compatible with either existing Echostar or DirecTV receivers. It would either be free, or the new features would have to be enticing enough to make me want to pay any fee to help offset the replacement/upgrade cost. The question is how long will they keep broadcasting to the old receivers and how much content will they devote to them over the long haul (as they phase in new stuff).


Now is the time for them to build the next generation. Features that will leapfrog what cable (or even Echostar and DirecTV) can offer today.


Richard
 
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