Recognizing the much of the rest of the planet receives their regular programming via satellite is something that many American's obviously can't get their heads around.
Perhaps the uniqueness of the American broadcast market is something that some pundits choose to ignore.
Name one other satellite broadcaster other than DISH or DirecTV that has to deal with over 1700 full power licensed stations plus nearly 500 lower power Class A stations. Just because those stations are not all on ConUS beams does not mean they do not need an encoder for each transponder - plus encoders at each point of presence to backhaul the signal to the DBS uplinks.
There are surely much more than a handful as James suggests. Some of them may be cooperating to share the equipment but there's doubtless hundreds of channels that are being multiplexed every day.
Try reading. I said "and one can count on one hand the number of companies trying to multiplex multiple HD streams on dozens of transponders. At the level DBS providers are doing it, you could probably count it on two thumbs".
As previously stated, no company needing a multiplexer is dealing with the number of transponders DISH and DirecTV individually deal with. I was thinking US ... perhaps you'll need the second hand to count other providers worldwide that do "dozens" of transponders ... of HD. I doubt you'll find any system with the HD transponder count of DISH or DirecTV.
I have no doubt that there are hundreds of companies multiplexing a handful of their channels for distribution. No one is doing it on the scale of DISH and DirecTV. Add the "hundreds" of small companies to the hundreds of encoders DISH and DirecTV need and it still is not a huge marketplace.
As I said before:
We are practically talking about individually built devices ... not cheap mass production runs of 10s of thousands or millions. And to get it right with industrial quality it is expensive. $100k each isn't out of the ballpark for such a complicated device.