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Not sure what will happen but I do know the DTV leadership sent an all employee notice today stating none of this article was true and no discussion was going on about a merger with Dish.
 

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I have said it before and I'll say it again ... DISH does not need to merge with DIRECTV. They just need to wait and buy the assets. Mr Ergen can set his own terms on this. TPG cannot force DISH to take a bad deal.

As for interoperability etc I have covered that in previous threads. It is silly to look at which receivers are "software upgradable" to work on each other's satellites. The dish outside is not software upgradable and no new firmware is going to magically replace MILLIONS of satellite dishes.

It is interesting to see TPG wanting to bail so quickly on their investment. Perhaps more proof that DIRECTV is not healthy.
 

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It would be moronic to phase out Directv instead of Dish when Directv has twice the installed base,
DISH is reporting 8.4 million satellite customers. At last report (July 2021) DIRECTV had 15.4 million TOTAL customers (including former UVERSE and streaming). Would you like to reconsider your claim of "twice" the installed base?

Considering UVERSE was 3.6 million when last reported (Dec 2018) and not losing subscribers at that time and AT&T has lost over 3 million subscribers for the past couple years, DIRECTV satellite could be below the 10 million mark. (And if you are going to include UVERSE and Stream with DIRECTV in their "installed base" you must include SlingTV. Twice 11 million subscribers is more than AT&T has had since 2019.
 

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I have said it before and I'll say it again ... DISH does not need to merge with DIRECTV. They just need to wait and buy the assets. Mr Ergen can set his own terms on this. TPG cannot force DISH to take a bad deal.

As for interoperability etc I have covered that in previous threads. It is silly to look at which receivers are "software upgradable" to work on each other's satellites. The dish outside is not software upgradable and no new firmware is going to magically replace MILLIONS of satellite dishes.

It is interesting to see TPG wanting to bail so quickly on their investment. Perhaps more proof that DIRECTV is not healthy.
Did anyone actually need more proof that DirecTV is not healthy? That’s been very obvious for quite some time
 

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It would be moronic to phase out Directv instead of Dish when Directv has twice the installed base, and Dish is split between two arcs with duplicate satellite fleets.
Two satellite constellations don't cost a whole lot more than one (mostly electricity) and there are significant advantages to where the DISH satellites are located. It has always been DISH's plan to have two constellations (though the Western Arc was supposed to be considerably further west). MPEG2 is nobody's friend and there's still no deadline from DIRECTV other than losing or upgrading those MPEG2 customers "naturally" while DISH has already eliminated MPEG4 from the Eastern Arc (though some in EA regions are still using the WA constellation).

In four years, I'd imagine things will be pretty grim for satellite TV in general as more and more of the traffic moves to broadband and, hopefully, broadband access also improves. I have a nagging feeling if someone doesn't take control soon, the denser weaving of the LEO blanket may create some situations for all Ku traffic (perhaps worse for Ka).
 

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Did anyone actually need more proof that DirecTV is not healthy? That’s been very obvious for quite some time.
DIRECTV is still profitable. DISH is reporting much higher profits, but DIRECTV is still making money.

The big question is the future. The decline in subscribers (when reported) was staggering. While there is a lot of cost per customer (the cost of the programming DIRECTV is reselling is most of the customer's bill) each of those lost subscribers accounts for a monthly loss of profit.
 

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Did anyone actually need more proof that DirecTV is not healthy? That’s been very obvious for quite some time
Yea and when the service actually dies, DirecTV will probably still send recovery kits to me to get their old/leased equipment back. 😒
 

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Not sure what will happen but I do know the DTV leadership sent an all employee notice today stating none of this article was true and no discussion was going on about a merger with Dish.
It is pretty easy to see that this speculation was driven almost entirely by what an analyst saw as an effort to split DISH into two entities (remember the Echostar/DISH split?).

That said, it would be difficult to reason that there's a better place for TPG to unload DIRECTV.
 

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DIRECTV is still profitable. DISH is reporting much higher profits, but DIRECTV is still making money.
DIRECTV was also saddled with $6 billion in debt as part of the jettison and the service on that isn't cheap.
 

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DISH's Eastern Arc gives a clue as what could happen on the Western Arc. DISH now has two orbital locations in the east (61.5 owned by DISH and 72.7 leased from a Canadian company). They control all 64 transponders and have spot beams on 61.5. DISH's use of Mexican licensed 77 in the US has ended. No dish change was needed to remove an orbital location.

On the Western Arc DISH has 21 transponders on 119, 29 transponders on 110 and 32 transponders on 129. 129 is leased from a Canadian company. DIRECTV no longer needs their 14 transponders at 110 and 119, so with some consolidations DISH could leave 129 (no longer paying the Canadians). DISH's current satellites could cover those transponders and with the Canadians not needing a satellite aimed at the US DISH could move the satellite at 129 over.

This move would not require the merger of the companies ... only for DIRECTV to transfer the licenses with the permission of the FCC.

DIRECTV seems to be moving in the direction of being a Ka only service (even though there have been years of discussion over replacing the channels on 101 with MPEG4 HD). That location doesn't help DISH unless millions of dishes swing slightly to the east. Changes that would cost money that doesn't need to be spent.
 

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As for interoperability etc I have covered that in previous threads. It is silly to look at which receivers are "software upgradable" to work on each other's satellites. The dish outside is not software upgradable and no new firmware is going to magically replace MILLIONS of satellite dishes.
This is a nonsensical statement. It's exactly because rooftop dishes are not "software upgradable" and because those millions of dishes aren't going to be replaced that it's so important that DISH receivers can easily be made to work with all those millions of installed DTV dishes. If/when the two merge, they'll standardize on one set of receivers going forward and want to use them with both DISH dishes and DTV dishes. It's easy to imagine that the surviving line of receivers will be DISH's, because they're far more advanced than the aging DTV lineup. So post-merger, if a DTV customer wants to upgrade his receiver (or needs it replaced because it has failed), he'll probably be pushed toward a current-gen Hopper (although it's possible that, on request, they'll continue to recirculate old Genie boxes for a few years, as long as they still have working units in stock).
 

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It is pretty easy to see that this speculation was driven almost entirely by what an analyst saw as an effort to split DISH into two entities (remember the Echostar/DISH split?).

That said, it would be difficult to reason that there's a better place for TPG to unload DIRECTV.
It will be very difficult for TPG to unload anything that they only own 30% of.
 

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No dish change was needed to remove an orbital location.
The DISH MPEG2 -> AVC transition would need to be completed before that happened, right?
 

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It will be very difficult for TPG to unload anything that they only own 30% of.
Yet that would seem to be their responsibility as the controlling partner of the joint venture. It seems even less reasonable that AT&T will take DIRECTV back.
 

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If/when the two merge, they'll standardize on one set of receivers going forward and want to use them with both DISH dishes and DTV dishes.
Eventually ... but what is the driver to spend millions of dollars to replace working DIRECTV receivers with DISH receivers?

As long as DISH's receivers can control DIRECTV's switches they should be able to tune the current Ka transponders. But I don't see the need to make the change.

I also don't see a reason for DISH and DIRECTV to merge.
 

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This is a nonsensical statement. It's exactly because rooftop dishes are not "software upgradable" and because those millions of dishes aren't going to be replaced that it's so important that DISH receivers can easily be made to work with all those millions of installed DTV dishes.
It isn't nonsensical at all from the satellite reception perspective. If you can program a DISH receiver to handle SWiM, you're almost done. MoCA differences may be a show stopper.
 

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Eventually ... but what is the driver to spend millions of dollars to replace working DIRECTV receivers with DISH receivers?

As long as DISH's receivers can control DIRECTV's switches they should be able to tune the current Ka transponders. But I don't see the need to make the change.

I also don't see a reason for DISH and DIRECTV to merge.
Ah, OK, thank you. To clarify, I'm not suggesting that a hypothetical merged company would want to replace millions of working DTV receivers. They wouldn't. They'll want to cut costs, not increase them, versus the current (pre-merger) scenario of DTV and DISH continuing to operate as two separate businesses.

Following is how I see this all working -- my educated guesses -- based on what's been reported, what we know about these companies, and simple logic.

Should the two merge, it seems most likely that DISH will spin off its satellite and streaming TV business. A new privately held joint venture company will be formed that is owned by AT&T and the publicly traded company currently named DISH. AT&T may have majority ownership (e.g. 60% to 40%) but DISH (and specifically, Charlie Ergen) would have a greater voice in shaping strategy for the joint venture. (Sound familiar? This is following the same template as the DTV spin-out from AT&T and the formation of their current joint venture with TPG.) TPG will not own any part of the new joint venture. They want to liquidate their holding in DTV.

When this happens, it's possible that the parent DISH corporation, which would at that point be pretty much solely focused on their new 5G business, would rename itself to something that isn't synonymous with satellite TV and more reflective of their wireless future.

The new joint venture will own the current DISH, Sling, DTV, DTV Stream and Uverse TV services. They'll settle on some unified set of products for new subscribers going forward. Where possible, they'll cut costs by combining operations. Analysts think there's as much as $1 billion in potential cost savings by combining these two businesses. Plus, the two satellite TV services will benefit from eliminating their only existing direct competitor, which will reduce churn and the need for as much up-front promotional discounting to lure new customers (which increasingly are just coming from the other satellite TV service in rural areas where other pay TV options do not yet exist).

I think that the combined/surviving satellite TV service will use the existing DISH brand as well as its line of Hopper and Joey receivers. It may have a somewhat restructured/renamed set of channel packages and pricing. It will continue to use the existing DISH channel numbers. Why do I think all this? Well, unlike DTV, DISH has stabilized their subscriber losses; their numbers over the past couple years haven't been too bad. Meanwhile, DTV continues to hemorrhage subs. (Well, at least that was the case through 2Q21.) And they'll be in for another big blow next year after they lose their NFL Sunday Ticket exclusive (which at this point is arguably DTV's main marketing claim to fame). Even though DTV probably has 35-50% more satellite TV subs than DISH, the gap keeps narrowing.

Time was when DTV was the most premium pay TV service in the country but the AT&T years weren't kind to it. The DTV brand reputation has been tarnished with poor customer service and outdated receivers. DISH's latest Hopper and Joey DVRs are head-and-shoulders above DTV's Genie line, so they'll clearly want to standardize on DISH's receivers going forward and stop manufacturing the DTV line, which will be slowly phased out among the installed DTV user base over time through attrition. Standardizing on one set of equipment reduces overall costs.

Another reason why I see the combined satellite TV service using the DISH name is because I suspect Charlie Ergen would want that. DISH is his baby and I think he'd love to see his brand "take over" his old rival DTV and carry on his legacy for several more years. Meanwhile, I don't think there's anyone with anywhere near Ergen's level of power within DTV or AT&T who is similarly emotionally attached to the DIRECTV brand name. Those folks left the building years ago after AT&T bought it.

For existing DISH customers, nothing really changes. Perhaps they'll see one or two channels get added or yanked from their line-up, but then that kind of thing can happen in any given year anyhow. For existing DTV customers, almost nothing changes. They'll be "welcomed into the DISH family" while being grandfathered in on their existing equipment and channel packages with the same ol' channel numbers. No reason to anger millions of longstanding customers and risk losing some of them because you're forcing changes on them that they didn't ask for. At most, they'll likely see their account billing transition from AT&T over to the new DISH-branded joint venture company, while the DTV on-screen logo on their TVs is replaced with a DISH logo (or maybe a "DIRECTV by DISH" logo). But if they want to change their channel package, they'll have to choose from the current DISH offering being sold to new customers. If they want to upgrade their equipment (or perhaps if their existing equipment dies), they'll be issued current Hopper/Joey hardware, which will be compatible with their existing rooftop dish and wiring.

I would expect that all, or nearly all, of the satellites currently in use by DTV and DISH would continue to be operated by the new joint venture. I can't see how it would make sense financially to shut down any of those three constellations (the DTV fleet, the DISH main arc, or the DISH eastern arc) because that would require expensive re-installation procedures for millions of current customers just to retain them. As for new installation, I would think they would want to concentrate as many of them as possible on one of those three constellations. Logic tells me that would be the DTV fleet since it should remain operationally viable for the longest amount of time (and also because it would already serve well over half the new company's installed user base).

Harder to say what will happen with the non-satellite TV businesses. This would seem like an obvious time for the new joint venture to finally announce the pending shut-down of Uverse TV, with offers to lure as many as possible over to a streaming cable TV service. (I expect AT&T will continue to handle billing for Uverse TV up until it ceases to exist.) Don't know whether they'd continue to operate DTV Stream and Sling separately or perhaps just begin offering most/all of the cheaper Sling packages as lower-cost options on DTV Stream and then phase out Sling. Perhaps DTV Stream would once again be rebranded, perhaps simply to just "DIRECTV". But just as DTV Stream's channel packages now pretty much mirror those offered by DTV satellite, I'd expect that going forward (should it survive), its main set of packages would be the same as those sold by the unified satellite service. But just as with DTV satellite, existing DTV Stream customers would be grandfathered into their existing channel packages and feature set.
 
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