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Learn more about Dish Network

Dish Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) is the second largest United States satellite broadcaster (behind DirecTV), providing direct broadcast satellite service - including satellite television, audio programming, and interactive television services - to 14.337 million commercial and residential customers in the United States. Dish Network has approximately 24,500 employees, most of which are located within the U.S. The corporate office is based in Meridian, Colorado, though the postal designation of Englewood is used in the company's mailing address.

Echostar Satellite L.L.C. was founded by Charlie Ergen, his wife Candy and their friend Jim DeFranco as a satellite television equipment distributor in 1980. Echostar was officially re-branded as Dish Network in March 1996. This branding came after the successful launch of its first satellite, Echostar I in December 1995 and marked the beginning of the company offering subscription television services. The company has since launched numerous satellites, with 14 owned and leased satellites currently in its fleet.

As of January 2008, Dish Network split from Echostar, with each entity becoming a separate company. Echostar is the key technology partner to Dish Network, which focuses only on marketing and providing satellite television service. Since June 20, 2011, Joseph Clayton has had day-to-day control of the company.

At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Dish Network announced that they would be dropping the "Network" and going solely by Dish (along with a new logo) in their marketing. Dish Network's parent company will remain "Dish Network".


Early growth

Dish Network officially began operations in March 1996 as a service of EchoStar. EchoStar was formed in 1980 by its chairman and chief executive officer, Charles Ergen along with colleagues Candy Ergen and Jim Defranco, as a distributor of C band satellite television systems. In 1987, EchoStar applied for a direct broadcast satellite broadcast license with the Federal Communications Commission and was granted access to orbital slot 119° west longitude in 1992.

On December 28, 1995, EchoStar successfully launched its first satellite, EchoStar I. With this and the completion of the construction of the satellite uplink center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, The Dish Network brand name was born to represent the home satellite TV service. In March, 1996, the company made its first broadcast to customers.

In 1998, EchoStar purchased the broadcasting assets of a satellite broadcasting joint venture of News Corporation's ASkyB and MCI Worldcom. With this purchase EchoStar obtained 28 of the 32 transponder licenses in the 110° West orbital slot, more than doubling existing continental United States broadcasting capacity at a value of $682.5 million. The acquisition inspired the company to introduce a multisatellite system called Dish 500, theoretically capable of receiving more than 500 channels on one Dish. In the same year, Echostar, partnering with Bell Canada, launched Dish Network Canada.

HD expansion

In January 1999, the company released the industry's first High-definition television (HDTV) tuner. In August 2003, the company launched Echostar IX, the first satellite equipped with commercial Ka band payload for broadband service over the United States. This led the company in 2004 to be the first satellite TV service to offer local channels to all 50 states. In that year, the company also introduced the nation's first interactive TV multiple picture-in picture application for the Olympic Games, offering coverage from multiple channels at once. This year the company also acquired its 10 millionth customer.

In January 2005, EchoStar bought the broadcasting assets of the troubled HDTV satellite provider Voom, including its Rainbow 1 satellite co-located with EchoStar 3 at 61.5° West. On April 29, EchoStar announced that it would expand its HDTV programming by adding the first 10 of 21 original Voom channels and mirror the channels on a CONUS slot. Dish Network added CNN HD in Spanish along with other packages in its Latino HD lineup.

On January 1, 2008, the company completed its spinoff of its technology and set top box business into a separate publicly traded company, Echostar Corporation ("Echostar"), effectively splitting the original Echostar into two separate businesses. Dish Network Corporation, the larger of the two resulting companies, focuses on programming, service and marketing of satellite television, while EchoStar Corporation runs a majority of the satellite fleet and other signal infrastructure. While neither company has any ownership in the other, the majority of the voting power of the shares in both companies is owned by Charlie Ergen.


DishOnline is Dish Network's subscriber-only streaming video service which includes HBO and Cinemax programming.

Acquisitions and diversification

In 2011, Dish Network spent over $3 billion dollars in acquisitions of companies in bankruptcy. This includes the April 6, 2011 purchase of Blockbuster Inc. in a bankruptcy auction in New York, agreeing to pay $322 million in cash and assume $87 million in liabilities and other obligations for the nationwide video-rental company. Dish Network also acquired the defunct companies DBSD and Terrestar. Dish Network also made a bid to purchase Hulu on October 2011, but Hulu's owners chose not to sell the company. There is also speculation that Dish Network might purchase Sprint or Clearwire CEO Charles Ergen plans on adding wireless internet and mobile video services that can compete with Netflix and cable companies. About the new markets, Ergen said, "Given the assets we've been accumulating, I don't think it's hard to see we're moving in a different direction from simply pay-TV, which is a market that's becoming increasingly saturated."

Dish Network put its Blockbuster acquisition to work by announcing Blockbuster movie pass, which allows on-demand movies, game and DVD rentals, and online streaming services for a flat monthly fee. Dish Network plans a similar services for non-Dish Network customers. As Blockbuster had agreements that allow it to receive DVDs 28 days earlier than Netflix, the new service could be major competition.

Dish Network also plans on offering high-speed internet. The company plans a hybrid satellite/terrestrial mobile broadband service. In 2011, it petitioned the FCC to combine the S-Band spectrum it acquired from DBSD and Terrestar, and combine this spectrum with LTE. Unlike Lightsquared, Dish's spectrum has minimal risk of disrupting Global Positioning Systems.



Authorized Dish Network retailers

Authorized Dish Network retailers are subdivided into regions they service: local and national. Local authorized direct broadcast satellite retailers are numerous, but only service a limited geographic range. National authorized Dish Network retailers service consumers in multiple localities across the U.S.

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