I'm not sure that Mr White is hoping for a merger or even wants one to happen. I'm just seeing his comments as stating that such a merger may not be a bad idea ... instead of a complete rejection of the concept.
Just because this is what Mr. White is hoping for does not mean it will happen.
You are right about the complexity of the deal and the differences between the two companies.
DirecTV has remained a satellite TV company with limited movements into other markets. Over the years DirecTV have been owned by companies with other interests.
DISH started as Echostar until that part of the business was separated, but the ownership of the two companies remains primarily the same and the primary ownership of the companies has remained the same since before DISH was born. Over the years DISH has purchased other companies and brought them under the DISH/Echostar umbrellas.
Both companies have purchased other DBS properties ... both "live" companies (eg: DirecTV purchase of USSB) and unbuilt licenses. Both have used such purchases to grow their DBS offerings. The merger of DirecTV and DISH would be the biggest of those deals ever.
One thing to keep in mind ... DirecTV's best quarter so far has been the addition of 1.28 million (gross) customers 3Q 2011. If DirecTV abruptly ended DISH service they would be unable to handle the influx of "new" customers. In addition, with subscriber acquisition costs over $800 per customer it would be cost prohibitive to replace all the equipment. Both company's systems would need to remain in business for several years for a smooth transition.