EchoStar Corporation is an American company, a worldwide provider of satellite communication solutions through its Hughes Network Systems and EchoStar Satellite Services business segments. It is the owner and operator of the satellite fleet for closely affiliated DISH.
Prior to the complete of a transaction with DISH on March 1, 2017, the company also designed and manufactured set-top boxes for DISH, Bell TV in Canada, and to receive the Freeview broadcasts in the United Kingdom. It also owned Sling Media, which designs and builds the Slingbox TV streaming device. Prior to 2008, it operated the Dish Network service brand, which was spun off as DISH on January 1, 2008.
EchoStar is the second-largest satellite-TV service provider in the US, with more than 12.7 million customers.
EchoStar was originally formed in 1980 by its chairman Charles Ergen as a distributor of C band TV systems. In 1987, it applied for a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) license with the Federal Communications Commission and was granted access to orbital slot 119° west longitude in 1992.
On December 28, 1995, the firm successfully launched its first satellite, EchoStar I. On March 4, 1996, it 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 the firm obtained 28 of the 32 transponder licenses in the 110° W orbital slot, more than doubling existing CONUS broadcasting capacity at a value of $682.5 million. The acquisition inspired the company to introduce a multi-satellite system called DISH 500, theoretically capable of receiving more than 500 channels on one dish.
"Legacy" represent the 950 to 1450 MHz frequencies used to deliver the signal throughout the home; the signal is broadcast to the home on the Ku band from satellite (12.2-12.7 GHz). Ku frequencies will not work on home wiring, the signal is downconverted to the intermediate frequency (IF) of 950-1450 MHz at the dish antenna. Newer technology (DishPro) also uses 1650-2150 MHz in addition to 950-1450.
Also in 1998, the firm, in association with Bell Canada, launched Bell TV. On September 25, 2007, the firm announced it had agreed to acquire Sling Media, Inc.
On January 2, 2008, the Dish Network business was demerged from the technology and infrastructure side of the business. A split in the shares created two companies, DISH Network Corporation which consists mainly of the DISH Network business, and EchoStar Corporation which retains ownership of the technology side including the satellites, Sling Media, and the set-top box development arm. DISH Network completed its distribution to Echostar of its digital set-top box business, certain infrastructure, and other assets and related liabilities, including certain of their satellites, uplink and satellite transmission assets, and real estate (the "Spin-off"). Since the Spin-off, EchoStar and DISH Network have operated as separate publicly-traded companies. However, as a result of the Satellite and Tracking Stock Transaction, DISH Network owns shares of EchoStar and their subsidiary's preferred tracking stock representing an aggregate 80.0% economic interest in the residential retail satellite broadband business of their Hughes segment. In addition, a substantial majority of the voting power of the shares of DISH Network and EchoStar is owned beneficially by Charles W. Ergen, Chairman, and by certain trusts established by Mr. Ergen for the benefit of his family.
On February 14, 2011, EchoStar announced that it would acquire Hughes Communications in a deal valued at US$1.3 billion.
In March 2017, after two delays caused by weather worries, SpaceX delivered EchoStar XXIII into orbit. The satellite was launched on a Falcon 9 Rocket, it is in high orbit – approx. 22,000 miles above earth’s surface - and provides broadcast services for Brazil. Because EchoStar XXIII is a particularly heavy satellite, this mission did not include a rocket landing post-takeoff, as it would require too much fuel. This was the first time a purely commercial satellite was launched from a pad that once served as the base for Apollo moon trips and space shuttle flights.
In December 2001 EchoStar threatened to stop broadcasting ABC Family and not long after dropped the ESPN Classic channel. Disney, which had recently acquired ABC Family, then sued to block EchoStar from dropping the channel. EchoStar argued that since the channel had changed owners it had the right to stop carrying it. The dispute was settled five months later when EchoStar agreed to restore ESPN Classic and continue broadcasting ABC Family.
In January 2004, EchoStar sued Viacom Inc, for illegally forcing them to carry certain cable networks in exchange for the right to retransmit CBS television stations in 16 local markets. The dispute was settled two months later.
In 2007 HBO sued Echostar for $90 million for failing to pay licensing fees on time. The dispute was settled behind closed doors and the lawsuit was dropped.
On June 3, 2009, satellite service provider EchoStar was found by Marshall, Texas, federal district court judge David Folsom to be in contempt of a permanent injunction against using some of TiVo's technology and was required to pay the DVR pioneer $103.1 million plus interest.
On May 3, 2011, Dish Network Corporation and EchoStar Corporation agreed to pay TiVo Inc. $500 million to settle a dispute over the use of some of TiVo’s technology.
Since EchoStar frequently moves satellites among its many orbiting slots this list is not immediately accurate. Refer to Lyngsat.com for detailed satellite information.